Updated: Jul 4, 2019
“Culture is not simply about arts and heritage, it is the community creation of values, meaning and purpose in life. The arts play an important role in shaping and challenging how we think and feel, and who we understand ourselves to be as a nation. Artists Campaign Against Racism 2016
Australia is taking steps to find and empower storytellers who better reflect our diversity, including an identified lack of representation of culturally-diversity stories and characters on our film and television screens. A more inclusive screen culture will contribute toward a more cohesive society through shared understanding and a sense of belonging. Broadening who tells our screen stories also promises greater diversity of thought and more creative possibilities for stories that thrill and engage audiences.
The goal is clear. But how do we as screenwriter’s ‘do diversity’ effectively and authentically?
To respond to this question in 2019, non-profit organisation Cinespace Inc., with the support of the Victorian Government ran a six-month emerging screenwriter's Fellowship program.
Fellows (pictured below, left to right Naz Sevinc, John Kassab, Cem Bilici, (HRAFF moderator Sherry Rose Bih-Watts), Ravi Chand, Kauthar Abdulalim, Chloe Wong, and Mai Nguyen engaged in a series of workshops on screenwriting and social cohesion, undertook research into an individual area of interest, and presented a panel forum at the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival in 2019.
The Fellowship culminated in a series of articles that launched this Screenwriter's Toolkit. Articles are also published on medium.com. The Toolkit aims to help writers make choices that consider the social impacts of their films and television shows, with a specific focus on intercultural societies.
The purpose of this resource is to bridge theory with screenwriting practice. We hope to equip screen writers to use or apply theories and research on representation on-screen to their own writing for the screen.
Broad categorisations include:
Representation - which stories we tell, voice and authenticity
Development - script processes and decision making
Structure - stories, plot and genre
Character - representation, archetypes & intersectionality, and authenticity
Themes - social themes in story including race, identity and post-colonialism
Contribute to the Toolkit
Are you interested in contributing to the toolkit? Submissions are welcome, for consideration please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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