Impact Australia announces return to Melbourne – elevating local writers to global stage

Building upon the success of last year’s inaugural program, Impact and Gentle Giant Media Group are launching Impact Australia 2, the follow up to the highly coveted screenwriter accelerator program, which will be held this year in Melbourne, with principal funding from Screen Australia and Film Victoria.

Supported by Learning Partner the University of Melbourne and state and territory screen agencies across Australia, the program aims to discover, cultivate, and empower Australian screenwriters. Applications will be open from 9 – 20 June, with the eight-week mentorship program beginning on 13 September 2021.

“Impact Australia far exceeded our expectations in terms of the number and quality of applications. The attendance at our Pitch Day and interest in the projects from global buyers and producers attest to the level of talent of the writers, and the quality of their projects.” said Impact CEO Tyler Mitchell, “It confirmed what we have long suspected and are excited to continue fostering – that Australia is full of talented screenwriters with stories that resonate with audiences everywhere.”

“I am thrilled that we are once again bringing the groundbreaking Impact program to Australia for its second season” said Gentle Giant Chairman and CEO Greg Basser, “Melbourne and Australia continue to show the great creativity and imagination of Australian filmmakers, bringing a global focus to our home-grown compelling original IP.”

During the program, local Creators will be paired with a world-class screen and television writer, or Shaper, to help craft their project and prepare them for Pitch Day with the goal of selling their project. Impact Australia supports participating Creators with all they need to succeed, including a stipend to allow them to relocate to Melbourne and focus on their projects during the eight-week intensive program.

While the program took place virtually last year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this year the program intends to be in-person on the Victorian College of the Arts’ Southbank campus at the University of Melbourne.

“Following on from the success of last year’s program, we look forward to partnering with Impact again to discover fresh Australian creatives and provide them with a new pathway to global audiences,” said Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason. “Australian creators have exciting stories to tell and by connecting them with world-class shapers and key decision makers in the global marketplace through Impact Australia, we look forward to more Australian voices on the global stage.”

“With so many world-class writers who call Victoria home, Melbourne is the perfect city to host Impact Australia,” said Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson. “The Victorian Government is proud to partner with Impact, Gentle Giant Media and Screen Australia on this initiative that allows local talent to develop fruitful partnerships with established screen professionals, and creates a springboard for their work to receive global attention.”

Named by FastCompany as the world’s second most innovative film and TV company in 2021 – behind only Netflix – Impact is exploding the typical Hollywood development system to elevate fresh voices.

The inaugural Impact Australia program featured fourteen Australian writers who were mentored by Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Collateral), Shaun Grant (True History of the Kelly Gang, Berlin Syndrome), Sarah Heyward (Girls, Modern Love), Jason Smilovic (Condor, My Own Worst Enemy), and Kai Wu (Paper Girls, Carnival Row).

Eight of the 10 projects have been set up with attachments in Australia or the United States and three of the unrepresented writers found American representation. Alumni of the program have since been hired in writing rooms for Netflix and AMC, and hired on assignments by companies such as LuckyChap and Hoodlum.

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