AIDC is now calling for applications from early career, Indigenous and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) non-fiction practitioners to apply for the Leading Lights program, which provides AIDC first-timers with complimentary entry to the event, plus professional development and mentoring opportunities.
As part of the Leading Lights program, the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and Edith Cowan University (ECU) will present a private pitching workshop introducing Leading Lights recipients to this essential industry skill. Five Leading Lights recipients with projects in development will also be selected for the inaugural Leading Lights pitch, conducted in front of a closed room of industry experts including Leading Lights donors. Additionally all recipients will gain access to the Leading Lights Meet and Greet, where they’ll have the opportunity to network with fellow Leading Lights recipients and Leading Lights donors.
Donations are made to the Leading Lights fund, a philanthropic initiative which sees Australian screen organisations pledge money towards AIDC conference places, which are then awarded to early career, Indigenous and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) non-fiction practitioners.
This year, in recognition of the hardship facing the sector, AIDC is ensuring that Leading Lights donors have more impact than ever before. For every donation enabling a newcomer to attend the conference, AIDC will match the donation to enable not one – but two – new practitioners to experience the 2021 event.
The following donors have already contributed to the 2021 Leading Lights fund: ABC, SBS, CJZ, Paul Wiegard, Wildbear Entertainment, Artemis Media, Closer Productions, December Media, Media Stockade, Mint Pictures, Projector Films, Virgo Productions and Wilding TV.
Alice Burgin, AIDC CEO, said: “Our Leading Lights program is so important in creating a more inclusive screen and digital media sector. We want practitioners from a range of backgrounds to establish themselves as part of Australia’s screen community – and giving them an opportunity to attend AIDC for the first time is a really valuable starting point. We thank all the companies and individuals who have supported the program so far.”
Richard Welch, Head of Documentary, AFTRS, said: “AFTRS is thrilled to be partnering with ECU and AIDC, for the 2021 Leading Lights program, which is dedicated to fostering greater inclusion and diversity within the Australian documentary landscape. Such initiatives are crucial in providing pathways and connections into the industry, offering unique opportunities for professional development, and crucially, helping to build a richer, diverse screen industry reflective of modern-day Australia.”
Cathy Henkel, Director, WA Screen Academy, Edith Cowan University, said: “Leading Lights is a highly successful and important AIDC program. ECU is proud to be partnering with AFTRS and AIDC on this exciting initiative and to further expand the professional development opportunities for Leading Lights participants by introducing mentoring, pitch training and an inaugural Leading Lights pitch session”.
Since launching the Leading Lights program in 2018, 102 industry newcomers have attended AIDC – all thanks to generous contributions from 62 donors.
Applications to become a Leading Lights recipient close 23:59 (AEDT) Sunday 17 January 2021. For information about the streamlined application process – or to donate – please visit the Leading Lights web page.