Information and Cultural Exchange (I.C.E) unveils exciting initiative for emerging filmmakers

Information and Cultural Exchange

Information and Cultural Exchange (I.C.E) unveils exciting initiative for emerging filmmakers

An exciting new initiative for emerging filmmakers from culturally-diverse backgrounds has just been unveiled. Information and Cultural Exchange (I.C.E) have partnered with L.A-based organisation Film Independent to deliver a Creative Producing & Pitching Workshop for 16 selected creatives, predominantly from Western Sydney.

The virtual workshops – which will cover how to pitch creative projects, storytelling techniques and film development strategies – commenced on the 15th of September and will run until the 24th.

The program will empower young Australian filmmakers with the industry skills required to take their projects to the next stage of development, and create networks and connections with professional filmmakers in the US.

Pakistani-American writer, director and composer Amman Abbasi has joined the program as a mentor. He brings a wealth of experience in both feature film and documentary, whose works have screened at Sundance Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival. He is joined by Avril Z. Speaks, an African-American producer who has worked on various critically-acclaimed feature films and TV series.

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I.C.E. Creative Producing & Pitching Workshop

While I.C.E has been running screen diversity programs for over five years, this is their first partnership with US organisation Film Independent. The initiative has been organised and produced by Barry Ganda, who is deeply passionate about showcasing culturally and linguistically diverse voices on Australian screens.

“We are a richly diverse nation, which you wouldn’t know by looking at what’s on our screens currently.  Representations on screen don’t equate with what we’re seeing when we walk down the street, what we see in our families and our neighbourhoods,” Barry shared.

“We’re hoping to change the nature of what we see on our screens to better reflect the reality of a culturally-diverse Australia.”

When Barry learned about the great work Film Independent were doing in finding equitable opportunities for filmmakers from diverse communities and helping them find audiences for their projects, he immediately reached out to them. What followed was a series of conversations between the two organisations, which led to the development of the virtual workshops.

I.C.E. Creative Producing & Pitching WorkshopI.C.E. Creative Producing & Pitching Workshop

Sixteen Australian filmmakers and creatives from diverse or underrepresented backgrounds have been selected for the program this year.

Among them is Gabriel Faatau’uu-Satiu, a multidisciplinary creative of Samoan heritage who has worked in film, TV and scriptwriting. He also teaches creative writing and is soon to publish a children’s book.

Ra Chapman – another participant in the program – is a Korean-Australian writer and actor. She has won awards for her performance, and also writes for theatre and TV.

Barry hopes that the workshops will help the participants to develop their skills in pitching and promoting their projects, and that they are able to find collaborators beyond their immediate networks.

“We’re hoping to take projects to the next stage of development.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the programs organised by I.C.E, you can visit their website HERE.


Isabel Zakharova

Isabel Zakharova is a final-year student at UTS, studying Communications and International Studies. She loves reading, writing and exploring other cultures - through travel, film and cuisine. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: [email protected]