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Diversity on and off screen

In 2018-19, SBS deepened its commitment to exploring the diversity of Australia on and off screen and increased its focus on developing the next generation of diverse creative voices for SBS On Demand.

Diversity Talent Escalator

Now in its third year, SBS’s Diversity Talent Escalator initiative continued to increase representation of Australia’s diverse communities within the production sector.

The initiative seeks to create career development opportunities for emerging and mid-level screen practitioners from backgrounds currently under-represented within the Australian screen industry. SBS collaborates with content producers to secure flexible, on-the-job, paid learning and immersion opportunities across its commissioned content slate.

In 2018-19, the Diversity Talent Escalator created eight placements for filmmakers, including roles within local dramas The Hunting, Robbie Hood and Hungry Ghosts, as well as SBS’s flagship documentary series Go Back To Where You Came From - Live.

Since launch, 23 places have been established across documentary, entertainment and drama productions in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. SBS has supported 13 female and 10 male filmmakers in roles, including: First Assistant Editor, Director’s Assistant, Production Coordinator and Extras Casting Assistant, with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

The Diversity Talent Escalator is a co-funded program in partnership with Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen Queensland, Screen Territory, ScreenWest, South Australian Film Corporation and the Tasmanian Government through Screen Tasmania. The initiative aims to work within existing production structures to support and align with the strategic objectives of each screen agency.

Short Form Content Initiative for SBS On Demand

In 2018-19 SBS’s Short Form Content Initiative built on the Diversity Talent Escalator, providing increased opportunities for Australian creatives from diverse backgrounds through the commissioning and production of scripted and non-scripted content for SBS On Demand.

In partnership with six of Australia’s peak screen bodies, including Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen Queensland, ScreenWest, South Australian Film Corporation and Screen Tasmania, the initiative marks the first commissioned original programming for SBS On Demand. The program aims to provide a platform for under-represented voices from multicultural, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, LGBTIQ+ communities, and people living with disability. Each project must include at least two creatives (writer, director, producer) from a diverse background.

The initiative further strengthened SBS’s commitment to growing diversity in the screen sector, encouraging greater collaboration with screen agencies to support the local creative industry and, ultimately, influenced how we tell stories on screen.

In its first year, the Short Form Content Initiative commissioned 14 original programs from teams of diverse filmmakers across the country. The programs will premiere on SBS On Demand in September 2019 as the SBS Short Film Festival.