To boost the visibility of diverse artists and celebrate emerging talent from underrepresented communities from Western Sydney and beyond, a group of talented CALD storytellers recently participated in a three day film production intensive.
The workshop (Aug 20 – 23) were part of Platform 21, created by For Film’s Sake in partnership with the Parramatta based Information and Cultural Exchange, with support from City of Sydney.
Anne Loxley, Director at the Information and Cultural Exchange, spoke of the urgent need for such screen industry initiatives to better reflect our diverse population.
“While 39% of Australians come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, only 10% of professional artists are from CALD backgrounds,” Anne said.
“Partnering with key organisations like For Film’s Sake offers great skills development opportunities for the emerging screen sector in Western Sydney and addresses this disparity in arts practice.”
Sophie Mathisen, Executive Director of For Film’s Sake (FFS), reflected on the gap programs like Platform 21 fill.
“Very often, Australian content creators create their projects in a creative and commercial vacuum, owing to being so far away from the major production hubs in North America and Europe,” Sophie said.
“FFS is committed to breaking down those borders and barriers so as to ensure the most deserving talent reach the global audiences they no doubt can reach with the right support. Our global Platform 21 facilitators were impressed by the distinct and vital creative voices the program was lucky enough to service and we look forward to developing the program with I.C.E. in years to come.”
For Meret Hassanen, an emerging Egyptian-Australian filmmaker with cerebral palsy, escaping strict community expectations is fundamental to the spirit of her film proposal, Defiance.
“I am inspired to break down stereotypes and increase the screen representation of those from multicultural backgrounds and those living with a disability,” Meret says.
For production partners Melissa Anastasi and Ayeshah Rose, who are of mixed Cypriot and South Asian – European heritage respectively, film can be an exploration of trauma as well as healing. Their film proposal, Deluge, conveys the experience of a young Muslim artist who struggles with her identity as she seeks to escape her childhood trauma through dance.
About Platform 21
Platform 21 is a program designed to fill gaps in market understanding and awareness for emerging Australian film creatives. Created by For Film’s Sake (FFS) in partnership with the Sydney Film Festival and Information + Cultural Exchange (I.C.E), the first inaugural program developed participant skills in creative and commercial producing, framed around their submitted project.
Photo: Melissa Anastasi and Ayeshah Rose