Investment & Support

Untapped 2024

February 21, 2024
Untapped speakers (L-R) Sabir Pirzada, Alice Bell, Noora Niasari and Danny Philippou, courtesy of Australians in Film.

Applications closed Friday 15 March

Untapped, run by Australians in Film and Screen Australia, is an artist development program for undiscovered and historically excluded Australian screenwriters and directors to create career pathways into the LA market.

The program is comprised of two parts. a series of masterclasses with speakers Danny Philippou (Talk to Me), Alice Bell (Expats), Noora Niasari (Shayda) and Sabir Pirzada (Star Was: The Bad Batch) for all eligible applicants. Up to six participants from the masterclasses will then take part in an online Development Lab providing individualised mentorship, story consultation, creative feedback and professional development support to the participants.

First Nations Australians, people who are culturally and linguistically diverse, living with disability, LGBTQIA+ and/or who are living in regional and remote locations are encouraged to apply.

Untapped is proudly supported by Screen Queensland alongside other state screen agencies and national organisations.

See the past participants.


Born in London and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pirzada is of Pakistani descent and earned his B.A. in Psychology at U.C. Berkeley. There, he conducted psychological experiments in the basement of a sleep lab as well as tutored prisoners at San Quentin State Prison before transitioning to writing.  

Pirzada has written on such shows as Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, Star Wars: The Bad Batch and Person of Interest. He has also written Misery and Ms. Marvel for Marvel Comics. 


Alice Bell’s first screenplay was the multi-award-winning feature film Surburban Mayhem, which was invited to screen at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. She went on to write and produce television dramas such as The Slap, Rush, Offspring, Spirited and Puberty Blues before creating The Beautiful Lie, the critically acclaimed contemporary adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, starring Sarah Snook.  

Bell’s latest production, Expats, in collaboration with director Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Blossom Films and Amazon, was released globally on Prime Video in January 2024. Shot in Hong Kong, Expats is a thoughtful and provocative portrait of privilege, identity and belonging, starring Nicole Kidman, Sarayu Blue and Ji-young Yoo.   


Noora Niasari is a Tehran-born, Australia-raised writer, director, producer and co-founder of Parandeh Pictures. Her debut feature film Shayda, starring Zar Amir Ebrahimi and executive produced by Cate Blanchett, premiered in the World Dramatic Competition of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award and was sold to Sony Pictures Classics.  

Shayda was in the Official Selection of the Toronto International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, AFI Fest, Melbourne International Film Festival and winner of CinefestOZ. Niasari won Best Direction in a Feature Film at the 2023 Australian Directors’ Guild Awards and was recently nominated for the Michael Apted Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in First-Time Theatrical Feature Film at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards.  


Danny Philippou and twin brother Michael built a massive global online following from their hometown of Adelaide, South Australia with their YouTube channel RackaRacka, which established them as purveyors of comic horror and action.  

In 2021, their debut feature Talk to Me had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival followed by its European premiere at Berlinale, then SXSW, and was immediately snapped up by powerhouse indie A24, and the brothers were praised by the likes of Jordan Peele, Steven Spielberg, Ari Aster and Stephen King. The film has since gone on to earn a staggering US$93.3 million worldwide.  

Talk to Me is A24’s highest grossing horror film and second highest grossing feature in the company’s history. The movie has been nominated for 20 Critics Choice Awards and 11 AACTAs.