Create NSW announces the filmmakers sharing $90k Screenability Filmmakers Fund

Tip of my Tongue team photo. L-R: Back Row: John Nasser, Samia Halabi, Guido Gonzalez and Ali Mousawi Front Row: Haneen Sabsabi, Tia Halabi, Alexandra Olguin, Miranda Aguilar, Cristobal Olguin.

Emerging filmmakers with disability Samia Halabi, Dieter Knierem and Daniel Monks have today been announced as the recipients chosen to lead three teams in creating short films through this year’s Create NSW Screenability Filmmakers Fund.

A Muslim woman overcoming a childhood speech impediment is the focus of Samia’s Tip Of My Tongue, Dieter’s Intimate Encounters will revisit the subjects of 1998 portraits exploring sexuality and disability, and Daniel’s Broken will tell the personal tale of the impact of disability in a gay sexual relationship.

Each project will receive a $30,000 grant from Create NSW, executive producer assistance and will be considered for screening as part of the 65th Sydney Film Festival in 2018.

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

Eligibility for the fund called for filmmaking teams with at least one key creative (writer, director or producer) identifying as having disability (which included people with sensory or physical impairments – including deaf people – hidden impairments, intellectual impairments, learning difficulties or mental health conditions), with an intention to develop a career in screen content creation.

The three shorts (each up to 15 mins long) will be filmed and post-produced in NSW for delivery by the end of March 2018.

Create NSW CEO Michael Brealey commented, “Dieter and Daniel are creating some stand-out work and are both in the process of completing paid industry placements through our Screenability initiative. It is a pleasure to welcome Samia to the industry and support her as a first-time director with this significant opportunity for development.”

Production company Arcadia are on board as executive producers of the shorts, led by Lisa Shaunessy and Alexandra Burke.

Lisa Shaunessy, Partner and Producer at Arcadia added, “We’re thrilled to be working with these talented filmmakers and their teams on unique stories for the short film circuit. The opportunity to help guide the visions of these filmmakers and contribute to the development of their careers is very exciting.”

The 2017 Create NSW Screenability Filmmakers Fund projects are:

TIP OF MY TONGUE (7 mins)
Genre: Family / History and Identity / Coming of Age
Company: CuriousWorks
Key Creatives:

  • Writer/Director: Samia Halabi
  • Producer: Guido Gonzalez
  • Script Editor: David Field

Shooting Location(s): Western Sydney
Synopsis: A young woman must overcome her speech impediment if she is to communicate with her mother what she really wants for her life.

Key Creative Team Summary:
Samia Halabi and Guido Gonzalez have collaborated on a range of CuriousWorks and Curious Creators projects, both in fiction and community documentary work. For the past two years, Samia has been active in the film community in Western Sydney, working with CuriousWorks, PYT, ICE, Campbelltown Arts Centre and Muslim cultural festivals and city/street festivals within Liverpool, Campbelltown and Camden. Guido is an independent filmmaker from Western Sydney with eight years of feature film experience under the guidance of mentor director Khoa Do.

Recently Guido and Samia collaborated on the ‘Beyond Refuge: Citizens’ exhibition mentored by Claudia Chidiac and Valerie Berry. Samia was also part of the commissioned project for Diversity Arts Australia, Beyond Christmas Island, directed by Ali Mousawi.

Renowned Australian screen and theatre actor David Field (Last Cab to Darwin, The Rover, Mystery Road, City Homicide, No Activity, Down Under) is on board to assist the team as script editor for the short.

INTIMATE ENCOUNTERS (15 mins)
Genre: Contemporary and Social Issues including social history / History and Identity
Key Creatives:

  • Director/Executive Producer: Dieter Knierim
  • Writers: Denise Beckwith, Belinda Mason, Dieter Knierim
  • Director of Photography: Belinda Mason
  • Editors: Liam Knierim, Dieter Knierim, Denise Beckwith

Shooting Location(s): Sydney / Melbourne
Synopsis: A pilot documentary that has its origins in the 1998 Intimate Encounters exhibition, travelling 20 years forward to see if the participants views and experiences of sexuality and disability have changed or remained the same.

Key Creative Team Summary:
The creative team consists of Dieter Knierim, the director and executive producer of the documentary, Belinda Mason, director of photography, Denise Beckwith as writer and disability consultant and Liam Knierim, editor, sound technician and practical assistant. Knierim Brothers is a Sydney-based photographic and film studio running since 2012, working on projects that reveal the complexity of issues facing people living with disability both nationally and internationally. These include projects focusing on the lived-experience of people with disability who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and LGBTIQ+. Each of the Knierim Brothers team members have lived experience of disability or exposure to disability, in both their professional and personal lives. With this they bring integrity and an inclusive and holistic approach to filmmaking.

Dieter Knierim completed a paid internship through the inaugural 2016 Create NSW Screenability NSW Internship Program, working as an editor’s assistant and camera assistant on ABC Entertainment’s You Can’t Ask That and the SBS Eurovision telecast.

BROKEN (7 mins)
Genre: Drama / LGBT
Key Creatives:

  • Director: Stevie Cruz-Martin
  • Writer/Producer/Actor: Daniel Monks

Shooting Location: Sydney
Synopsis: When it becomes clear to a gay man that his disability has ruined his sex life with his boyfriend, he must grapple with how the relationship can continue.

Key Creative Team Summary:
Writer/producer/actor Daniel Monks and director/cinematographer Stevie Cruz-Martin are the award-winning filmmaking team behind the feature film Pulse, which screened at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival and was awarded the Busan Bank Award at its international premiere at the 2017 Busan International Film Festival (October 2017). Their short films have screened at over 40 film festivals worldwide, including three at the Palm Springs International ShortFest. Stevie was nominated for Best Director and Daniel was nominated for Best Actor at the 2016 WA Screen Awards. Daniel won the Young Filmmaker of the Year at the 2014 WA Screen Awards, and was a finalist in the 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship.

In 2016, Daniel Monks was selected as part of the inaugural 2016 Create NSW Screenability NSW Internship Program, and will soon join a writing room at Goalpost Pictures for a paid internship.

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Published: 31 October 2017