New collaborative initiative ‘Centralised’ links screen story storytellers north to south

A ground-breaking initiative between the South Australian and Northern Territory governments will boost Indigenous filmmakers and screen creatives in Australia’s north, south and centre with a raft of new funding, support and development opportunities.

Centralised developed by the South Australian Film Corporation & Adelaide Studios and Screen Territory together with collaborating partners Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF), AFTRS Indigenous (Australian Film, Television & Radio School), ABC and NITV will deliver a range of opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander screen creatives, creating clear pathways for emerging talent including mentoring, workshops, attachments and internships.

Centralised strengthens and formalises the collaborative relationship between SA and the NT, which has already launched successful projects including this year’s box office hit Top End Wedding, and Warwick Thornton’s acclaimed Sweet Country.

The initiative will remove the state-territory border for the screen industry, linking creative communities and fostering collaborations to develop and uncover the stories, locations and new and existing talent through the very heart of Australia.

Emerging producers, writers and directors will be supported to develop and produce screen content, from short form to long form, fiction, factual, series or standalone works for possible broadcast on the ABC or NITV. Centralised will also work with existing Aboriginal led media organisations in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Centralised Ambassadors Elaine Crombie, the South Australian star of Top End Wedding, Kiki and Kitty and Black Comedy, and Territorian film maker Dylan River (Sweet Country, Robbie Hood) say the initiative is ground-breaking for Indigenous screen creatives.

“As an ambassador for Centralised I’m excited and intrigued for our storytellers from SA and NT to have this opportunity. I would personally love to see our generations both young and old have the chance to share their stories, whatever they may be. My brief is that anything is possible and with this initiative, you will soon see why,” Elaine Crombie said.

“As a proud Territorian filmmaker I welcome this opportunity for screen makers across the NT and SA to develop and produce their work. I started my career directing Buckskin, about South Australian Aboriginal Leader Jack Buckskin, and without that chance to make my first work, I would not be working on series like Mystery Road or features like Sweet Country,” Dylan River said.

The first major Centralised projects to be announced include South Australian made Deadly Family Portraits; the Karla Grant Factual Series Initiative for NITV; a web series development initiative to be delivered by CAAMA (Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association) and co-funded by Screen Australia, a Bunya Productions Talent Incubator funded by Screen Australia and a DAF Fellowship to empower indigenous storytellers. Details on how to apply are below.


The Hon. David Pisoni MP, South Australian Minister for Innovation and Skills: “This is a wonderful initiative which will create significant opportunities for industry expansion, jobs and skills building right across South Australia and the Northern Territory. We look forward to seeing what new, exciting projects emerge as a result of this strengthened collaboration.”

NT Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture The Hon Lauren Moss: “Storytelling has been central to Indigenous culture for thousands of years in this country. The Northern Territory Labor Government is pleased to support initiatives such as Centralised which foster the important creative links between Territorian and South Australian Indigenous screen professionals to continue to bring their unique stories and perspectives to the screen and the world. We have invested a record amount into our film and screen industry over four years to support the NT screen industry’s development, sustainability and to create opportunities and develop the future growth of local productions and Territory film practitioners. Acclaimed projects such as Top End Wedding and Sweet Country are shining examples of how investment in the screen production sector can support world-class projects that create opportunities for Indigenous storytellers.”

South Australian Film Corporation Aboriginal Screen Strategy Executive, Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin: “This ground-breaking initiative builds on the cultural backbone of our two states and supports the incredible work being done by Indigenous screen creatives in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Centralised will shine a new spotlight on the very heart of Australia, bringing Indigenous stories and storytellers to the fore in exciting new ways. Centralised acknowledges and supports a long line of story tellers and engages the next generation in meaningful ways, to develop and grow our resources and talent for many generations to come.”

Screen Territory CEO Jennie Hughes: “The Northern Territory has a long history of developing masterful Indigenous filmmakers and Screen Territory is proud to be a founding member of the Centralised initiative. Centralised will be key in fostering a new generation of Indigenous screen practitioners, contributing and strengthening to the rich history of Indigenous storytelling in Australian screen content.”

Screen Australia Head of Indigenous Penny Smallacombe: “In 2018 we celebrated 25 years of our Indigenous Department at Screen Australia. Last month we released The Next 25 Year strategy, and core to that is working with sister organisations to form a National Framework for Indigenous Professional Development to make funding opportunities more accessible. We’re thrilled that Centralised will become the first step on that journey to connecting resources for Indigenous creators, and express a heartfelt thanks to all the founding partners.”

Documentary Australia Foundation CEO Dr Mitzi Goldman: “We are thrilled to be partnering on this initiative to support Indigenous filmmakers to develop professionally and have their stories told and seen by broad audiences. We look forward to more powerful work coming from the centre and heart of Australia’s first nations people.”

Head of Indigenous, Executive – Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) Kyas Sherriff: “This initiative sees an industry-led focus on the development and growth of unique Indigenous creatives from South Australia through to the Northern Territory. AFTRS is pleased to support the participants in furthering their skills as Australian storytellers.”

Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Head of Indigenous, Kelrick Martin: “The ABC is committed to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to tell and share their own stories, breaking down prejudices and building a greater understanding of and respect for Indigenous Australians, now and into the future. In line with that commitment, the ABC is proud to be part of the collaborative Centralised initiative to give more Indigenous practitioners the opportunity to bring their content and creativity to all Australians.”

National Indigenous Television (NITV) Channel Manager, Tanya Orman: “NITV is proud to be a collaborating partner on the Centralised initiative. We are always looking for ways to support emerging Indigenous filmmakers and recognise the importance of providing pathways into the screen sector. We’re particularly excited to hear stories from different languages and cultures, from Adelaide through to the Northern Territory.”


  • Web Series Development Initiative

    Partnering with Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA), Centralised will call on Indigenous screen practitioners, online content creators and vloggers from the Northern Territory and South Australia to attend the first Centralised Online Series Development Initiative. Held in Alice Springs, this four-day Web Series workshop will offer networking and screening opportunities, as well as a pitch session in front of broadcasters, YouTube, State and Federal film agencies. Applications are open now – click here and scroll to Specific Initiatives.

  • DAF Documentary Indigenous Fellowship

    Under the Centralised banner, Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF)’s new Documentary Indigenous Fellowship will support the careers of Indigenous filmmakers from the Northern Territory and South Australia to develop professionally and kickstart a new project. Details on eligibility and how to apply will soon be published in the DAF newsletter.

  • Bunya Talent Incubator

    With the support of Screen Australia’s Enterprise Business and Ideas program and SAFC, Bunya Productions will run a Creative Incubator Workshop in Adelaide that will provide opportunities for emerging and mid-career Indigenous writers, showrunners, directors and producers to develop television and film concepts. Bunya are the production company behind the multiple award-winning TV series Mystery Road and feature film Sweet Country. Applications will open later this year – follow Bunya Productions on Twitter for updates.


  • Deadly Family Portraits

    This SAFC and ABC digital series brings to the screen three remarkable South Australian Aboriginal families – mother and daughter performers Lillian and Elaine Crombie, artist father and musician son Robert and Zaachariaha Fielding, and dancer sisters Taree and Caleena Sansbury – in three short films produced and directed by teams of emerging Indigenous South Australian filmmakers. The series premiered on ABC iview on Friday August 9, marking the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.

  • Karla Grant Factual Series Initiative

    Indigenous journalist and Living Black host Karla Grant journeys onto Country to meet and interview interesting and inspiring Indigenous Australians in a new series for NITV. Each episode of the four-part series will be directed by a different emerging South Australian and Northern Territory Indigenous director and feature a different high-profile guest. The Karla Grant Factual Series Initiative is a collaboration between NITV and the South Australian Film Corporation. It will start production in 2019 and air in 2020.

  • Tarnanthi 2019 Mentoring Program

    Presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia in partnership with the SAFC, this program will see Adelaide’s award-winning Closer Productions provide attachment opportunities for two emerging Indigenous South Australian based filmmakers to be mentored as they film the Tarnanthi Artist Portraits, a collection of filmic profiles of some of the country’s leading contemporary Indigenous artists. Production will take place at the Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Art Centre in northeast Arnhem Land, NT; Broken Hill, NSW; and Kununurra and Lombadina in Western Australia. Tarnanthi is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia in partnership with BHP and with support from the Government of South Australia. The Tarnanthi Artist Portraits will be screened at AGSA and shared more broadly across social media and other platforms.

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