Imagine Impact, the US development system created by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Tyler Mitchell, will launch in Melbourne this year in association with Gentle Giant Media Group and Screen Australia. Impact’s unique accelerator program discovers, cultivates and empowers creative storytellers worldwide, and the Australian incarnation is the first time the program will be run outside of the US.
Based in Melbourne, Impact Australia is supported by principal partner Film Victoria and the state and territory screen agencies. Applications will open on 3 March 2020 to Australian writers, with the eight-week mentorship program beginning on 8 June 2020.
Similar to its United States counterpart, Impact Australia will actively seek fresh story perspectives and help writers create their best work while simultaneously leveraging technology for direct access to the global entertainment marketplace. During the program, ‘Creators’ will be paired with a ‘Shaper’ (world-class screen and TV writers) to help craft their story and prepare them for Pitch Day with the goal of selling their project. Impact Australia will give participating Creators everything they need to succeed, including a stipend to allow them to relocate to Melbourne and focus on their projects for the eight-week intensive program.
“The power of Imagine Impact is global and we’ve set our sights on bringing our innovative approach to discovering, cultivating and empowering creators to Australia,” said Tyler Mitchell, Head of Imagine Impact. “The country is recognised for its robust film and television industry made up of a community who passionately support its creators. It was a natural move for expansion, and to have the support of Screen Australia and leading entertainment entities sets Impact Australia up for success.”
Taking a Silicon Valley accelerator approach, combined with Imagine Entertainment’s decades of Hollywood heritage, Imagine Impact was started by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Tyler Mitchell in 2018 to democratize the Hollywood system. To date, three programs have been successfully completed and Impact boasts an alumni class of 72 Creators, some of whose projects have been picked up by Netflix, Legendary, Amblin Entertainment and/or signed by major agencies and management companies, including; WME, CAA, UTA, Verve, Anonymous Content, Management 360, and Lit Entertainment.
Australians have previously participated in Impact’s Los Angeles program, including Victorian creative duo Lynda Heys & Steve Turnbull and Philip Tarl Denson. Based in Darwin Australia, Denson developed his television series Anomaly through Impact and now has a producer and showrunner attached to the project, which is set-up at Legendary TV. He was also recently funded to produce Australian comedy series Fracketty Frack: It’s the Frackpocalypse.
“Impact Australia will bring the focus of the global film and television industry to Australia and our tremendous storytellers, positioning Melbourne and Australia as a premiere destination for original IP and content,” said Greg Basser, Chairman and CEO, Gentle Giant Media Group. “Impact Australia will provide an amazing opportunity for Australian writers to not only learn from some of the best in the world, but also get their Australian stories in front of key decision-makers in the global creative industry.”
“In assisting Imagine Impact to come to Australia, we are seeking to enable Australian creators to get access to an innovative development framework that is outside the standard screen agency funding model,” said Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia. “Imagine Impact has proved to be incredibly successful at empowering talent and connecting great ideas with a pathway to audience, so we encourage Australian creators to take advantage of this chance to work with market leaders.”
“The global screen industry is growing at an unprecedented rate and the demand for content and new ideas has never been higher. The Victorian Government is committed to supporting our screen ecosystem and investing in our screenwriting talent is an important part of that work,” said Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley. “Attracting Imagine Impact to Melbourne is a coup that reinforces Victoria’s position as a screen leader and a creative hub. This program will give our local writers the opportunity to foster international networks and create dynamic screen stories that will go on to be seen by people across the globe.”
Principal finance for Impact Australia courtesy of Screen Australia, along with principal partner, Film Victoria. The program is also being supported by Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Screenwest, South Australian Film Corporation, Screen Territory, Screen Canberra and Screen Tasmania.