SCREEN Australia and ABC TV Arts have launched a new program supporting LGBTQI filmmakers to air on the ABC Arts channel on iview in 2018.

The two organisations will commit $10,000 each to 10 filmmakers with short film projects, which will premiere early next year to celebrate 40 years of Mardi Gras.

The short documentaries which result from the initiative will air under the banner ‘Love Bites’, providing insight into the lives and interests of Australia’s LGBTQI community.

The content, tone and style of the short films are entirely up to the creator, so all interpretations of the medium of documentary are encouraged.

“ABC Arts on iview seeks to reflect the great diversity of stories and storytellers that exist across the country,” said Mandy Chang, Head of ABC TV Arts.

“Love Bites is a great opportunity for us to work with LGBTQI filmmakers in a pan-ABC celebration of the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras.”

CEO of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Terese Casu said, “We can’t wait to see what these diverse filmmakers will produce in support of the LGBTQI community in our big 40th year.”

At least a director and producer need to be involved with application projects, with one person identifying as part of the LGBTQI community and one person with at least one screen credit in their respective roles on a publicly released project.

Senior Manager of Documentary at Screen Australia Liz Stevens said that the idea for the initiative came from last year’s milestone study into diversity on Australian television, Seeing Ourselves.

The study found that only 5% of main characters on Australian TV shows were queer despite an estimated 11% of the population identifying as part of the LGBTQI community.

‘Love Bites’ is now open for submissions until 11pm on Sunday 6 August 2017. The guidelines and application portal can be accessed here.

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