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Twelve teams of emerging creatives from under-represented backgrounds will have the chance to pitch their drama projects to SBS, NITV and Screen Australia as the Digital Originals initiative gets underway for 2022, with a week-long workshop for the first round of selected teams kicking off today.

A partnership between SBS, NITV and Screen Australia, Digital Originals aims to develop exciting, innovative and risk-taking short-form drama projects to premiere on SBS On Demand and NITV, from emerging screen creatives who are currently under-represented in the sector. This includes people who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse, First Nations Australians, people with disability, female and gender diverse, LGBTQIA+; and those who are located in regional and remote areas.

Following a call out for applications in January, 12 creative teams from across Australia have been chosen to take part in an exclusive workshop run by Screen Australia, SBS and NITV this week. The workshop features sessions focusing on a range of short form content creation skills and will also include case studies of past Digital Originals and other dramas.

Facilitated by filmmaker Rosie Lourde (Starting From Now), over the course of the workshop, teams will also have access to a host of guest presenters and industry figures including Sierra Teller Ornelas (Rutherford Falls), Leah Purcell (The Drovers Wife), Michael McMahon (Nowhere Boys), Kodie Bedford (Firebite) and Corrie Chen (New Gold Mountain).

The workshop will culminate in teams pitching their projects to Screen Australia, SBS and NITV on 14 June, with a selection of teams chosen to take their projects into further development. From those, up to three will be chosen for production funding and commissioning with SBS, NITV and Screen Australia.

They'll follow previous successful Digital Originals including Tasmanian murder mystery The Tailings and Western Australian comedy Iggy & Ace which both premiered on SBS On Demand last year, as well as Robbie Hoodand Homecoming Queens produced under SBS's Short-Form Content Initiative which evolved into Digital Originals. The next Digital Originals set to premiere is South Australian drama A Beginner's Guide to Grief, dropping on SBS On Demand later this year.

Director and Screenwriter Corrie Chen, one of the presenters across the week, said that Digital Originals is an important platform for the next generation of Australian creatives.

Having gotten my start in short form filmmaking, it is extremely important to me that the industry continue to support initiatives like Digital Originals. An opportunity like this not only provides a space for exciting voices to share their unique stories, it's a chance to learn and access valuable support along the way.

Commissioning Editor, SBS Scripted, Loani Arman, said: We were so impressed by the quality of applications for Digital Originals this year that we decided to add two additional places in the workshop. In preparation for pitching to SBS, NITV, and Screen Australia, the workshop will support the teams to interrogate their stories and further develop their projects. Not only will they have the chance to gain insight from incredible industry practitioners, but also learn from each other, building connections with some of the most exciting new talent in the country.

NITV Commissioning Editor, Marissa McDowell, added: Digital Originals is set to continue its impressive legacy with this year's cohort - there is a diverse range of projects in the mix from across Australia, with a large First Nations contingent of creatives showcasing unique perspectives on classic genres. I look forward to sseeing how the teams further develop their projects throughout the workshop.

Screen Australia's Head of Online, Lee Naimo, said: In this third year of Digital Originals, we're again seeing how valued this initiative is, with over 170 applications from across Australia. I couldn't be more excited for these 12 projects to develop their work and take this next step in their careers, and to continue this strong partnership with SBS and NITV to take distinctive and exciting stories to Australian audiences.

The creative teams taking part in the 2022 Digital Originals workshop this week, and their projects, are:

Borroloola (NSW)

Description: After her grandmother passes away, a bush girl goes through Sorry Business with her extended family and discovers her grandmother had a secret life.

Genre: Drama

Team: Julia Moriarty (writer), Judi McCrossin (producer)

Confinement (QLD)

Description: A new migrant mother must battle postpartum depression and a tyrannical confinement nanny with seemingly nefarious intentions.

Genre: Thriller

Team: Jacqueline Lim (writer), Lark Lee (producer)

Dark Matter Don't Matter (NT)

Description: After the mass evacuation of Earth, a small Aboriginal community is left behind and decide to take matters into their own hands... by launching themselves to the stars.

Genre: Comedy, science fiction

Team: Tamara Whyte (writer), Isaac Lindsay (writer), Warren Milera (writer), Philip Tarl Denson (producer)

Earshot (NSW/VIC)

Description: When a seemingly happy Indian-Australian actress is asked to record the last messages of a missing immigrant woman for a true crime podcast, embodying one of the justice system's forgotten victims causes her to obsess over the case - and finally acknowledge the invisible violence in her own life.

Genre: Drama, thriller, crime

Team: Vidya Rajan (writer), Alistair Baldwin (writer), Rene e Marie Petropoulos (writer/director)

Fully Receivable (VIC)

Description: When a corporate leadership trip in a national park starts off horrifically with the white facilitator dead, it's up to Sheila Phounpadith, the Accounts Receivable Manager, to prove she isn't the murderer.

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