Screenability Filmmakers Fund , funding, images

Screenability Filmmakers Fund

The Screenability Film Fund is part of a suite of initiatives under Screenability NSW, an open-ended policy commitment by Screen NSW to work with industry to create opportunities for Australian filmmakers with disability in the screen sector.

The Fund is open to short film proposals of a 12 minute maximum duration. Teams must have at least one key creative (writer, director, producer) identifying as a person with disability.

Screenability opens for applications Friday 3rd of Sept 2021 and closes Tuesday  5th October 2021 at 5.00pm​.

FAQs can be found in boxes below. 

Guidelines can be downloaded from the documents box on the right-hand-side of the screen.

All applications must be received through the Screen NSW online grants administration system, Smarty Grants here.

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For more information about the Screenability Film Fund or to discuss your expression of interest, contact Sofya Gollan

Image: Still from We Have Me. Actor and Co-writer: Emily Skerri-Rikkert. Photo by Max Melamed

What is it?

The Screenability Film Fund is part of a suite of initiatives under Screenability NSW, an open- ended policy commitment by Screen NSW to work with industry to create opportunities for Australian filmmakers with disability in the screen sector.

The Fund is open to short film proposals of a 12-minute maximum duration to teams who must have at least one key creative (writer, director, producer) identifying as having a disability.

What funding is available?

Screen NSW will fund up to three teams to realise their ambition of producing a short film to be considered for premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in 2022.

On approval, the successful teams will receive $30,000 each in production funding.

An Executive Producer will be appointed by Screen NSW who will oversee the successful teams and liaise with the Producer and other key creatives.

Producers are permitted to raise additional finance to produce their films. We encourage applicants to approach industry facilities and negotiate deals, as well as crowd funding, distribution, and other sources of funds to finance their project. Please seek approval before committing to crediting requirements.

Who is eligible?

At least one of the three key creatives (writer, director, producer) of the project must identify as having a disability and be a NSW resident.

By disability, we refer to the Social Model of Disability, using the term ‘disability’ to refer to barriers,rather than medical conditions or impairments. These barriers are seen as being the disabling factors, which prevent or limit opportunities.

Eligibility in this case covers people with sensory or physical impairments (including deaf people), hidden impairments, intellectual impairments, learning difficulties or mental health conditions, who face barriers accessing opportunities in the screen industry.

  • This fund is designed to support filmmakers intent on a career in the screen industry. All key creatives must demonstrate an intention to develop a career in screen content creation.
  • The Applicant must be the producer and must have a valid ABN and, if required by law, be registered for GST.
  • The Applicant may be an individual or a production company and must be a NSW permanent resident or NSW based company.
  • The Applicant must own or control the rights in the script and all other rights necessary to carry out the project.
  • The project should be production ready at the time of application and be capable of being delivered no later than Monday 21st March 2022.
  • The “key creative team” normally means a writer, director and producer. At leastone of the key creatives must be a permanent resident of NSW.
  • At least one of the key creatives of the project must identify as having a disability.
  • A team must comprise of at least two members, and all teams must include a producer.
  • One person cannot be both the producer and director on the project. However, writer/director orwriter/producer are eligible.
  • The key creative team may include only one person who has substantial previous professional (i.e. paid) film or television experience as a writer, director or producer.
  • A different set of key creatives may apply on non-linear projects, digital media or animation.

Previous Emerging Filmmakers Fund (EFF) and Generator: Emerging Filmmakers Fund (GEFF) recipients are not eligible to apply to Screenability, however any key creative who has previously been a recipient of EFF or GEFF is eligible to apply in a different role (eg a producer can be a writer etc.)

Screen NSW is committed to supporting increased participation in the industry of people from under-represented groups including women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from CaLD backgrounds, people with disability, LGBTIQ people, people from western Sydney and people from regional NSW. Priority will be given to teams including people from under-represented groups.

What project formats are eligible?

We are seeking proposals for short films that are between 5-12 minute duration.

Projects can be drama, factual, animation or experimental.

For general applications, the proposal must be fully developed and ready to shoot on/or close to the application closing date;

For post-production applications, applications must be at the fine-cut or rough-cut stage with the latest footage having been shot within one year of the application closing date and be short format;

The project must be filmed, and post produced entirely in NSW;

Projects must be shot on and mastered on HD and able to be screened via theatrical release, television, online or mobile.

The following project formats are NOT eligible:

  • Infotainment / lifestyle / travel / magazine / sports / education / game shows. Current affairs / newsprograms.
  • Community television programs.
  • Projects that have received production funding from Screen NSW or other government film funding bodies.
  • Existing student films or projects that formed or will form part of any assessment at anyeducational or training institution.

Please note projects which receive funding through Screenability cannot apply for any Screen Australia Short Film initiatives.

Grant money cannot be used for retrospective funding or to purchase equipment.

Third-party investment is allowed under specific conditions and following consultation with ScreenNSW. Third-party investors must sit behind any deferrals in the recoupment structure.

Sponsorship and product placement are allowed in the form of a grant, not an investment (it cannot be recoupable) but must be approved by Screen NSW in advance.

How and when can I apply?

Screenability opens for applications Friday 3rd Sept  2021 and closes Tuesday 5th October 2021 at 5.00 pm.

The application form can be found here.

If you are having trouble accessing this application form you can request a word version by emailing


How will my applications be assessed?

Your application will be competitively assessed against the following criteria: Your eligibility;

The originality and distinctiveness of the idea and/or story;

The quality of the script, the director’s vision, and other creative materials;

Creative potential of the team, thier unity of vision, and their balance of experience, along with a potential for skills development; 

The appropriateness of the budget and schedule, and the team’s ability to realize the project within it;

Evidence that the project / story is fully developed and ready for production;

The cultural and economic benefit the project will provide to NSW, including career development; Description of disability or should you choose not to disclose: support or access needs that confirm you meet eligibility for this initiative.

A member of the Screen NSW Sector Investment team and the external Executive Producer will read all applications and compile a shortlist.

Shortlisted teams will be interviewed by the Screenability Executive Producer, a Screen NSW Investment manager who will make a recommendation on final  selections to be considered by Head of Screen NSW.


What are the terms of funding?

Please read these guidelines alongside the Screen NSW Terms of Trade which outline general eligibility requirements.

Successful teams will have a briefing with the Screenability Executive Producer.

At that point we will discuss Screen NSW requirements, provide feedback, and go over any questions you may have. You may be requested to undertake a final development pass on the script for production readiness.

You will need to finalise and execute the Screen NSW grant agreement within 4 weeks from the date of the briefing, unless otherwise agreed in writing. If this does not occur, the decision to financially support the project may lapse.

Obligations to Screen NSW will include the following:

  • Screen NSW will contract only with the Applicant
  • Projects must be completed in accordance with the terms of the Screen NSW agreement
  • The Applicant will need to enter into a service agreement with each member of the key creative team and enter into any other agreements required in order for the applicant to own or control of the rights in the project.
  • Screen NSW will need to approve these agreements noted above prior to issuing its grant agreement to the Applicant.
  • Grant funds cannot be drawn down until a grant agreement with Screen NSW has been executed and specific conditions met.
  • The Screen NSW EP will receive the following credit: “The Screen NSW: Screenability Executive Producer”.

Principal photography must begin within 8 weeks of approval.

Who should I contact about my application?

Sofya Gollan, Sector Investment Manager Development & Production, Screen NSW




Can I please have help with the various film insurances?

It is a condition precedent to Screen NSW paying the second instalment of the Grant that you havedelivered to us copies of all receipts for the payment of all of the Insurance premiums and copies of all cover notes and policies.

Create NSW has taken out public liability insurance for the insured sum of $20,000,000 for theperiod specified in Item 9 of the Term Sheet.

Please note you will however be liable for a $1,000 excess should any claims be made. This can becovered as an element of your contingency which should be set at 10%.

You will need to take out, within fourteen (14) days of payment of the first instalment, and before commencement of principal photography, the following insurances:

  • Any insurance (in addition to workers compensation insurance required by clause 4.3) ifnecessary, to ensure that all persons involved in the production of the Film, includingvolunteers, are adequately covered for personal accident and injury ("Insurance").
  • You shall take out workers compensation insurance as required by law until the completion of the Film, to the full insurable value of the risk.

Screen NSW requires copies of all insurance documentation as a condition to its second drawdown.


Do I need to supply any safety reports?

Yes. Depending on what and where you are filming, in conjunction with the Executive Producer, Screen NSW could require you to produce a safety report at least two weeks before commencement of principal photography by a licenced safety officer, which has been previously approved byScreenNSW.

MEAA and WHO DARES can supply you with approved contacts.

Screen NSW requires copies of all safety reports as a condition to its second drawdown.


COVID Safety Procedures

You will need to provide a Covid Safety plan for the production as part of contracting, covering pre-production, the shoot and post production.


What items will I need for our press kit?

Apart from delivering the film as a ProRes version, and XDCAM HD422 version on an external drive, you will also need to provide:

(a)  A range of 10 stills via email or Dropbox. These could include some Behind the Scenes stills.

Please make sure that at least one of these photos are suitable as your key art for use in all publicity. This too should be approved by Screen NSW prior to delivery.

  • While it is not a contracted requirement, have a think about any trailers or BTS video clips (interviews with cast & crew) – between 10 secs and 1 min are suitable lengths.
  • With the stills, can you also please name the photos as you want them credited--so who is in the image and who the photographer is.

(b) 1 Media kit and written publicity pack via email or dropbox, please supply a draft to Screen NSW prior to delivery so we can approve and amend the copy if required.

(c)  1 copy of any posters that may be produced, please ensure Screen NSW approve this and ensure the appropriate logos and wording have been included. It will need to include the following “A Screenability Film Fund Project”

(d)  1 soundtrack CD when and if first available

Delivery Materials and Technical Specifications are set out as annexures to the Screen NSWagreement. Please review these carefully for further detail.


When will we be paid?

Please factor into your production schedule the following four drawdowns for Screen NSW, 60% upon execution ($20,000), 10% at start of principal photography ($4,000), 10% at approval of fine cut ($4,000) and the final $2000 for full delivery.


How much do I need to pay my cast and crew?

Screen NSW expects all recipients to act fairly and reasonably in relation to third parties involved in the funded project. Fairness and reasonableness include: paying at least award minimum rates or, where applicable, any minimum agreed between the relevant guilds, for all work performed by third parties on their project, including Key Creatives, cast and crew; respecting the rights of all relevant persons, whether those rights be copyright or other intellectual property rights, moral rights or Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property rights.

*If deferrals of crew and cast award rates or agreed rates (above award) are to be negotiated, the producer is responsible for ensuring this is undertaken in a fair, reasonable and legal manner.

Producers should factor in any additional rights with cast outside of Festival screenings as required.


Is the delivery date moveable?

No. Sydney Film Festival requires the films delivered on time to allow for programming considerationsand publicity. Please be mindful of this tight turnaround as you start preproduction.

The Delivery Date is Monday 21st March 2022. You may complete delivery earlier if it does not compromise the production values.


What about GST?

Generally, GST is payable on top of Screen NSW funding. You will need to have an Australian Business Number (ABN), and to register for GST if required by law. Where GST is payable, Screen NSW will require the applicant to issue a Tax Invoice as a precondition todrawdown of the Screen NSW funds.


I’m looking for a location in NSW for my project. How can Screen NSW help me?

You could access Screen NSW image location database Reel-Scout Or you download the app for free on iTunes

Showcasing locations in Sydney and regional areas of NSW the searchable database highlights adiverse range of geographical locations from tropical jungle, alpine to outback as well as architectural styles, towns, urban environments and buildings.

You can request further information about the locations via the website or if you have any specificquestions about finding a location in NSW you can reach out to our Screen Destination Attraction unit on


Do I need to have set visits?

As managers of the Screen NSW initiative, we would love to come and see how you’re getting on during filming, so please give us sufficient time to schedule it, a half hour would be sufficient. We will remember to turn off our phones.


What if I want to film a scene in Victoria or another state?

It is a condition of your Screen NSW agreement that you film and post 100% of your film in NSW.


How will my film be programmed on Sydney Film Festival?

SFF will be considering the films for programming the films as part of the 2022 Sydney Film FestivalProgramme. Sydney Film Festival will be in touch with programming details once it is confirmed. It is required that it will be the Australian Premiere screening.


When can I promote my film?

Sydney Film Festival and Screen NSW will have a marketing and communications strategy around the release of the films. While we encourage you to promote your film as best you can, we ask that you consult Screen NSW in advance of any marketing or social activity you have planned.



I need help with film permits and contacts, where do I go?


I need help with contracting cast and crew and pro-forma agreements, where do I go?


For further information contact:
Development & Production