Information and Cultural Exchange partners with Film Independent to mentor diverse Australian creatives

ICE-mentoring-programInformation and Cultural Exchange (I.C.E.) has selected 16 emerging Australian filmmakers from diverse communities to take part in an immersive six-day Creative Producing & Pitching Virtual Workshop lead by experienced U.S. industry mentors this September.

From expert coaching on crafting the perfect pitch to understanding the elements of storytelling and independent film development strategies, the workshop aims to empower young Australian filmmakers with the industry skills required to take their projects to the next stage of development.

To date, 10 projects, involving 16 creatives have been selected by I.C.E. to take part in the initiative. All key creatives are people of colour and their projects include comedy, drama, horror and fantasy genres, in formats including short form web series, TV series and feature films.

Participants include Mumbi Hinga (NSW), Safia Amadou (NSW), Gabriel Faatau’uu-Satiu (NSW), Eliorah Malifa (ACT), Taofia Pelesasa (NSW), Andrew Lee (NSW), Ashlea Ritchie (VIC), Alana Hicks (NSW), Josh Sambono (NSW), Laura Sambono (NSW), Rachael Belle Myers (NSW), Joanna Beveridge (NSW), Anthony Khoury (NSW), Claudia Chidiac (NSW), Ra Chapman (VIC) and Jessica Magro (QLD).

“We’re thrilled to facilitate this unique opportunity for diverse Australian filmmakers to work with some of the U.S. industry’s most eminent figures,” said I.C.E.’s Screen Cultures Producer Barry Gamba. “This initiative reflects our ongoing commitment to amplifying the voices of creatives from underrepresented communities and redefining the faces and stories depicted on Australian screens.”

The Creative Producing & Pitching Virtual Workshops are presented in partnership with Film Independent as part of the Diversity On Screen Enterprise funded by Screen Australia’s Enterprise Business & Ideas funding program, developed with Diversity Arts Australia and consulting producer Rosie Lourde. I.C.E.’s Screen Cultures Program is supported by Screen NSW.

Where I.C.E.’s Screen Cultures Program nurtures emerging screen creatives of diverse backgrounds in Australia, Film Independent supports independent films and filmmakers in the US to produce their projects and build their audiences.

Avril Z Speaks and Amman Abbasi, two rising stars based in the U.S. will lead the workshops. Avril Z Speaks is a producer, director and film educator. Her critically acclaimed feature film Jinn won the Special Jury Prize for Writing at SXSW, and was acquired by MGM/Orion Classics for theatrical and VOD release. 

Amman Abbasi is a Pakistani-American writer-director, editor, and composer. His Netflix feature Dayveon premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, was an Official Selection of the 2017 Berlin Film Festival, and went on to get 2 Film Independent Spirit Award nominations in 2018, including in the coveted “Someone to Watch” category.

“We’re excited to be working with ICE in Australia, as we find our missions totally align in the pursuit of providing access and a more equitable playing field for filmmakers from underrepresented communities and their unique stories,” said Senior Director of International Initiatives at Film Independent, Maria Raquel Bozzi.

“I can’t wait to see our Mentors and Film Independent Fellows connecting with the very talented filmmakers selected for this great initiative.”

The I.C.E. Creative Producing & Pitching Workshop will take place 15 – 24 September 2020. For more informatuion, visit: for details.

Image: Participants at an Information and Cultural Exchange Mentoring Program (supplied)