Accomplished screenwriter and director Jon Bell has been named the inaugural First Nations Screen Fellowship recipient.
The new 12-month initiative is designed to propel the careers of mid-career to established First Nations creatives by opening doors and creating pathways in the industry.
With extensive experience as one of Australia's most outstanding screenwriters, Jon Bell has received nominations for both local and international awards, recognising his exceptional storytelling.
The NSW Government is committed to supporting initiatives that promote First Nations representation and generate opportunities within the screen industry for creators.
The Fellowship, developed by Screen NSW, will boost Jon's career by granting him access to international markets. This includes the opportunity to travel to the United States and the United Kingdom, where he can meet with and secure overseas agents, as well as connect with stakeholders for a range of projects.
Through the Fellowship, Jon will receive $25,000 to help cover travel and industry exposure expenses, enabling him to further his global career prospects in the coming year and initiate new projects in international markets.
Minister for the Arts John Graham said:
"Jon Bell is a talented filmmaker who has made a mark as a local writer and director, with several successful short films and an eagerly awaited first feature film in the works.
“I'm looking forward to seeing him step onto the global stage with the support of this fellowship and contribute to the ongoing legacy of storytelling and culture on our screens."
First Nations Screen Fellowship Recipient Jon Bell said:
“I’m honoured to be the inaugural recipient of Screen NSW’s First Nations Fellowship. This is an incredible and timely opportunity which will enable me to travel abroad from my regional town to secure international representation and take my slate of projects to key players in the US and UK. I’d like to thank Screen NSW for recognising and supporting First Nations filmmakers and our stories.”
Head of Screen NSW Kyas Hepworth said:
“We have so many talented First Nations filmmakers here in NSW, and Screen NSW is thrilled to be able to continue to support their career and professional development locally and internationally. I’m delighted to congratulate Jon on being the inaugural recipient of this Fellowship and look forward to seeing him succeed on the global stage.
"Screen NSW is committed to increasing First Nations representation in our industry and initiatives like this will continue to nurture local talent, open doors and raise awareness of the vibrant First Nations filmmakers and businesses in the state.”
Jon Bell’s outstanding career spans across television, including The Warriors (ABC); Cleverman (ABC), which won a Screen Producers Australia Award for Best Drama as well as being nominated for an AACTA for Best Television Series in 2017; Ready For This, which earned an International Emmy Kids award nomination, won a Logie Award for Most Outstanding Comedy Program and won an AACTA for Best Children’s Television Series in 2015.
Jon created and wrote the 2014 drama series The Gods of Wheat Street which won a Screen Producers Award for Mini-Series of the Year, as well as wrote for both seasons of Redfern Now, which earned a Silver Logie Award for Most Outstanding Drama series in 2013. Jon wrote an episode of the 2021 Endemol Shine/Seven series RFDS, nominated for a Logie Award for Most Popular Drama Series, and nominated for a TV Week Silver Logie Award for Most Outstanding Drama Program.
Jon has written and directed several short films including The Moogai. The Moogai won the Midnight Shorts category at SXSW 2021, Best Horror Short at the LA International Shorts Festival 2021 and the Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film at Melbourne International Film Festival in 2020. The Moogai was nominated for an AWGIE award and won Best Director (shorts) at the Brooklyn Horror Festival. It was supported by Screen Australia. The Chuck In screened at the Sydney Film Festival and the ImagiNative Film Festival in Toronto. His other short film credits include Two Big Boys and And Justice for One. Jon wrote short film Jarli in 2021 for Like a Photon.
Jon is currently in development on a number of feature and television projects as both Writer and Director. He’s currently writing Pemulwuy for That’s-A-Wrap Productions with Stan Grant and Phillip Noyce as Executive Producers. Recently Jon made his feature film directing debut from his own script with The Moogai, which received 2020 funding from Screen Australia and is currently in post-production with Causeway Films and No Coincidence Media.
Image: Jon Bell on set. Photo Credit: Elise Lockwood. Courtesy of Causeway Films.
20th Century Studios’ Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will receive $17 million in support from the Australian Government, and funding through Screen NSW’s Made in NSW fund.