VCA Film and TV to host the Impact Australia 2 screenwriter accelerator program

Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard, Co-Founder of Impact, discusses this year's Impact Australia 2 screenwriter accelerator program, which will be hosted at the Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne.
Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard, Co-Founder of Impact, discusses this year's Impact Australia 2 screenwriter accelerator program, which will be hosted at the Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne.

Impact Australia 2, the follow-up to the highly coveted screenwriter accelerator program, will be held in-person this year on the Victorian College of the Arts’ (VCA) Southbank campus, with the University of Melbourne as Learning Partner.

Building upon the success of last year’s inaugural program, with principal funding from Screen Australia and Film Victoria and support from state and territory screen agencies across Australia, the program aims to discover, cultivate, and empower Australian screenwriters. Applications are open from 9 to 27 June, with the eight-week mentorship program beginning on 13 September 2021.

VCA Film and Television students will get exclusive behind-the-scenes access to weekly A-list speaker events and Pitch Day, along with opportunities to attend development intensives and workshops and meet one-on-one to discuss their projects and the film industry.

Head of VCA Film and Television Andrew O’Keefe, who’s hosting this year’s program, said he was delighted to be involved. “This is a terrific opportunity for Australian screenwriters as well as our students, and hosting Impact here on our campus in Southbank, Melbourne, speaks to the quality of the work produced at the VCA and the industry readiness of our talented students. We especially encourage our alumni to apply to take part in the program,”

Impact CEO Tyler Mitchell said last year’s program far exceeded 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," he said. “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.”

Gentle Giant Chairman and CEO Greg Basser said he was thrilled to be bringing the groundbreaking Impact program to Australia for its second season. “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 COVID-19, this year the program intends to be in-person on the Fine Arts and Music 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 ten 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.

Impact Australia is financed by Screen Australia, along with principal partner, Film Victoria, and supported by Screen NSW, Screen Queensland and Screen Territory.

Applications are open from 9–27 June 2021. For more information and to apply, visit the Impact Australia website.