Professional development opportunities for Australian filmmakers, focused on building skills and careers in drama production, particularly feature film:

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Talent Development Programs
Hot Shots: Short fiction funding

Screen Australia recognises short films as an important step in the professional development of directors, writers and producers.


They play a crucial role in developing and establishing strong and distinctive creative voices within the industry, and foster long-term relationships with crew and facility providers.

Shorts also provide a platform for showcasing talent at local and international film festivals, as well as act as a ‘calling card’ to promote longer-form opportunities for the creative team.

Hot Shots funds the production and post-production of short fiction films. It aims to:

  • generate short narrative fiction films that will entertain, surprise and emotionally engage audiences;
  • identify and support distinctive authorial voices, among directors, writers and writer/directors;
  • identify and progress the skills and careers of emerging Australian talent;
  • stimulate inventive, creative and professional approaches to storytelling and production that embrace the budget parameters of the fund; and
  • build networks and relationships between experienced professionals and emerging talent.

Proposed films will show a creative, pragmatic and professional approach to production. Innovation and experimentation are encouraged, with an emphasis on strong and distinctive storytelling. 

Applications will need to demonstrate that they can be achieved within the parameters of the submitted budget – without additional finance – while adhering to Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade. Each film must be shot and completed on a digital format.

Available funding

Funds are available for live action or animated films, and for production as well as post-production.

Live action production

  • Supporting the production of live action fiction films (maximum eight minutes including credits) from filmmakers who have some short fiction experience but are still honing their skills before making their debut feature.
  • Up to $70,000 per project, for up to three projects per round. 

Animation production

  • Supporting the production of one-off animated fiction films (maximum eight minutes including credits) as a means of career progression for leading emerging animation talent.
  • Up to $100,000 per project, for up to two projects per round.

Completion

  • Providing post-production to completion funds for one-off live action and animated short fiction films (maximum of 15 minutes including credits).
  • Up to $40,000 per project, for up to three projects per round.

Eligibility

  • The application must come from the producer on behalf of a team including either a writer and director, or a writer/director.
     
  • The producer must hold the rights to the script and all other underlying rights to make the short fiction film (at application, a deal memo or letter from the rights holder will be sufficient).
     
  • The producer must have at least one of the following:
    • an ‘eligible fiction credit’ (see box ‘What is an eligible fiction credit?’ below) as a producer, OR
    • a credit as a producer on a short fiction project which has received production funding through Screen Australia’s Hot Shots, Short Animation, Shorts Completion, Springboard, Multi-platform Drama or Indigenous Department fiction programs.
  • The director must have at least one of the following:
    • an ‘eligible fiction credit’ (see box ‘What is an eligible fiction credit?’ below) as a director, OR
    • a credit as a director on a short fiction project which has received production funding through Screen Australia’s Short Animation, Shorts Completion, Springboard, Multi-platform Drama or Indigenous Department fiction programs, OR
    • a high level of critical acclaim as a director in a related field such as theatre, TV fiction, TV commercials or documentary (awards, critical reviews, broadcasts, box office, international sales).
  • There is no upper limit on the experience of the teams, although applicants should be aware that the intention of the initiative is to develop emerging creative teams.
     
  • Funding is for films shot in a digital format, unless applying for animation or completion funds, or in extraordinary circumstances.
     
  • There is no minimum duration, but the films must be no longer than eight minutes including credits (15 minutes for completion funding) unless there are exceptional circumstances.
     
  • Documentary projects are not eligible.
     
  • Funding cannot be retrospective.
     
  • Applicants may submit projects that have unsuccessfully applied for funding through other Screen Australia programs but they must provide evidence of significant changes since the previous application. Any project that has been unsuccessful twice to any of Screen Australia’s short film programs is not eligible to apply.
     
  • Applicants must also meet the general eligibility requirements set out in Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade.

What is an ‘eligible fiction credit’?

 

An ‘eligible fiction credit’ under this program is a short fiction film that has:

 

  • been selected to screen at one of the following film festivals:
    • Berlin International Film Festival
    • Cannes Film Festival (excluding Shorts Corner)
    • Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival
    • Melbourne International Film Festival
    • South by Southwest  (SxSW) Film Festival
    • Sydney Film Festival
    • Telluride Film Festival
    • Tribeca Film Festival
    • Sundance Film Festival
    • Venice Film Festival
    • BFI London Film Festival
    • Annecy Animation Festival
    • Stuttgart Festival of Animation
    • Ottawa Animation Festival

OR

  • won or been nominated for one of the following awards:
    • Academy Award® for Best Short Film (Live Action or Animated)
    • AACTA/AFI Award for Best Short Fiction Film or Best Animation.

OR

  • won one of the following awards:
    • Flickerfest Best Short Film or Best Animation
    • St Kilda Film Festival Best Short Film or Animation


Application materials

Applications must be made on the relevant application form and include all supporting material listed in the checklist on that form.

Important budget notes

 

For all Hot Shots productions, you must use Screen Australia’s annotated A-Z Hot Shots budget template. Available as a download on the right of this page, this template has been devised specifically for this program, and highlights mandatory areas you will need to budgeted for. Supporting quotes will need to be provided with your application.

 

As per its Terms of Trade, Screen Australia expects all recipients of funding 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.

Producers should be aware that Screen Australia has a special agreement with the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) for short film production whereby cast are contracted on the Actors Feature Film Agreement (AFFA). 

 

Cast must be paid at least the basic negotiated fee (BNF) plus 40% reduced buyout to cover Australian TV rights (20%) and Australian ancillary rights (20%) inclusive of worldwide festival rights.

 

Producers should endeavour to acquire these rights prior to submitting their application. Any additional rights acquired after the delivery of all materials to Screen Australia will not be penalised under this agreement.

 

Note: If you are applying for Completion funds, you must supply industry standard agreements for all cast and crew with your application. Cast and crew payments must be award minimums in accordance with our Terms of Trade. On a case-by-case basis and where appropriate, Screen Australia may allow producers to include cast costs in their budget for completion funds (ie pickups/ADR).

 

Mentors and further development support

 

Screen Australia advises that the director and/or producer can have a mentor attached of which the fee of up to $1000 per mentor should be included in the submitted budget.

 

The assessment panel may suggest that Screen Australia assist and facilitate projects through further script development with a Screen Australia development executive.

 

Funding decisions

Applications will be assessed by a combination of Screen Australia executives and industry specialists as required.  

Applications will be considered against the following criteria:

  • The originality, strength and distinctiveness of the script or rough cut and where applicable, the suitability of the animation style.
  • Evidence of a distinctive directorial voice and compelling storytelling style in the script or rough cut and previous work.
  • The skills, experience and track record of each of the key principals and how this short will extend them.
  • The project’s potential to reach its target audience.
  • The viability of the budget and schedule in relation to the script, and a production approach that embraces the budget parameters of the fund.

Shortlisted teams may be interviewed as part of the assessment process. Applicants will be advised in writing of the outcome of their application.

Terms of funding

Funding is in the form of a grant. Screen Australia will not require a copyright interest.

Funding recipients must deliver all delivery items listed in the PGA (Production Grant Agreement), including three DVD copies of the completed film, plus related paperwork including an expenditure report and production stills.

Successful recipients will be expected to deliver their completed films as per the agreement (usually within 12 months for live action and animation; and within four months for completion funding)

Further funding and marketing information

 

Acceptance into some of the top-tier international film festivals may require additional marketing, travel and screening materials. Applications for funding to cover such materials can only be accepted under Screen Australia’s International Marketing Support program, and only then if the guideline conditions are met.

 

A guide to marketing short films is available in the Marketing guides section of this site.

Application Timing

Funding will be available in two rounds each calendar year.

Next deadline is close of business 3 October 2014.

Decisions will be made and applicants will be notified within 10 weeks of the closing date.

Downloads

Enquiries

Free call: 1800 507 901
Email: Development

Note, this program supersedes the previous Hot Shots, Short Animation and Shorts Completion programs.

HOT SHOPS

Successful recipients of Hot Shots funding will be invited to attend a variety of workshops and seminars led by industry specialists to help directors, writers and producers hone their skills on all aspects the filmmaking process.

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