ADG Unveils 2019 Metro Screen Fellowship Recipients


Shideh Faramand
, April Tafe and Julietta Boscolo have been chosen as the recipients of the third instalment of the ADG Metro Screen Open Fellowship. They share in $15,000 to fund three exciting opportunities in film in the US.

With a record 71 projects initially submitted for Round 1 of the ADG Metro Screen Production Fellowship, two short films have been selected from the Final Round of twelve submissions. Adrian Chiarella (Dwarf Planet) and Joshua Levi Sambono (Suspect) will each receive $20,000 in production funding.

This year's Production Fellowship follows on from recent news of the immense success enjoyed by the inaugural 2016 ADG Metro Screen Production Fellowship recipient, Shelly Lauman. Lauman's short film, Birdie, a psychological thriller starring Maeve Dermody and produced by Lizzie Cater, had its world premiere at MIFF in 2017, then screened to glowing reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Fox Searchlight acquired worldwide rights and a US cinema release. Birdie's success continues with screenings on Fox's online platforms, as well as entry into the European festival circuit; whilst director Lauman has recently signed with Paradigm Talent Agency for US representation.

CEO of the Australian Directors’ Guild, Kingston Anderson, said: “Once again, the ADG have had the great pleasure of overseeing the legacy of Metro Screen, in continuing to administer the Metro Screen Open and Production Fellowships for our screen community. Our Open Fellowship recipients have all been afforded the opportunity to explore new pathways to develop their careers overseas; and this year we have undertaken for the first time, a development component with the Production Fellowship. We were inundated with some fantastic submissions and, thanks to our dedicated development team of Brita McVeigh and Kath Shelper, were able to find two exciting projects to award the Production Fellowship to.  We would sincerely like to thank all of the applicants to both Fellowships, and look forward to hearing and seeing further from our successful 2018/19 Fellowship recipients.”

Christina Alvarez, past Metro Screen CEO, said: “Above all else Metro Screen valued and celebrated those who dared to cut through with new stories and new ways of making screen content. It’s wonderful to see the spirit of Metro Screen live on through the Open and Production Fellowships. This year’s recipients, individually and collectively, reflect a depth of talent which promises great things to come. We also applaud the high standard of storytelling and screen practice reflected in the many submissions we were unable to fund. Many thanks again to the ADG for partnering on the Metro Screen Fellowship to make these opportunities available to emerging talent at a time when direct cash support for personal projects is becoming increasingly hard to find.”

The Australian Directors’ Guild, as well as Kath Shelper and Christina Alvarez representing Metro Screen, would like to sincerely thank all of the filmmakers who submitted applications for the Open and Production Fellowships, as well as our dedicated script readers and assessment panels. The Production Fellowship Round 2 development and mentoring phase, was also made possible through additional funding from Screen Australia.



The successful applicants’ activities reflect the aims of the Open Fellowship, which include not only undertaking development as an emerging screen practitioner from any discipline, but to use that experience to contribute to diversity and cultural development in the screen sector. From fourteen applications, three opportunities were awarded funding:

Shideh Faramand will undertake a director’s attachment with acclaimed Australian film & television director, Alethea Jones in the US. "I’m beyond thrilled to have been given this invaluable opportunity through the Metro Screen Fellowship and the ADG; to learn from Alethea's impeccable work ethic, gain onset knowledge, confidence, build upon my skills and be guided with insight, support and advice by such an exciting director," said Shideh.

April Tafe is currently in the US as the event director for the recent Australian Screen Forum. April will use the Fellowship funding to transition to a role with The Writers Lab in NYC, a screenwriting lab and community designed for female screenwriters over 40. "I am utterly delighted to have a legitimate excuse to work with the wonderful women behind The Writers Lab. They are a league of inspirational powerhouses, and this time will allow me to hone my script development skills and gain insight into the US screen landscape. I plan to share my new connections and learnings with the screen community back home, and am incredibly grateful for the generous support of the Australian Directors' Guild and Metro Screen," said April.

Julietta Boscolo will take part in the Hollywood Field Trip, a program in which a select group of established screen practitioners from outside the US, are given the opportunity to pitch to top Hollywood executives, producers, agents and managers in LA over a six-day period. Julietta said, "The ADG Open Fellowship is an incredible opportunity to develop my distinctive slate of film and television projects by pitching them to top-level Hollywood executives and producers. This opportunity will not only strengthen my work as a director on the world stage, but allow me to share my skills back home."



The ADG Metro Screen Production Fellowship has awarded $20,000 production funding each to two NSW-based directors to support the production of their short screen works. In the spirit of Metro Screen, the selection panel sought strong, bold narratives which challenged assumptions, and from filmmakers who exhibited an engaging and creative use of screen media.

From a record 71 Round One applications, 12 scripts and their directors were selected to undertake development and production mentoring along with their creative teams, prior to resubmitting their projects for Round Two assessments. The two final projects awarded the 2018/19 Production Fellowship are:

Short film ‘Dwarf Planet’, from writer/director Adrian Chiarella, and based on the short story Concealer by Andy Boreham. Dwarf Planet is the tale of a young male sex worker who meets his match in an overweight young teen, and discovers love, acceptance, attraction…and the universe, along the way. Of the Fellowship mentoring process in Round 2, Adrian reveals: "Script editor Brita McVeigh literally had me walking in the shoes of the characters to open up the emotional and distinctive turning points in the script. With the assistance of producer Kath Shelper, I was given frank and constructive advice on performance and tone that will be key to bringing this subtle but challenging story to life."

Short film ‘Suspect’, from writer/director Joshua Levi Sambono, tells the story of 15-year-old Aboriginal boy, Jordan, who has missed the bus and finds himself at the mercy of a faceless cop on the streets of Western Sydney. But they are not alone... Joshua says: I'm thrilled to receive this support from the ADG as it is such a prestigious organisation. I look forward to using this grant to make a short film that shows my style and gives me a chance to learn more about the craft of directing." 

The Production Fellowship’s Round Two assessments panel, comprising Brita McVeigh, Rowan Woods and Courtney Botfield, were also keen to award a SPECIAL COMMENDATION to a third submission – short film ‘Home-Brand’ from writer/director Sophie Hattch. Home-Brand follows the days immediately after a 20-year-old girl’s suicide attempt and the effect this has on her and the people surrounding her, after she decides to live. Says Sophie: "The development and production meetings were an invaluable experience for me, especially as a first-time director, as they have given me confidence in my story and abilities, and enabled me to develop my script to a really strong place. I am incredibly grateful to the Australian Directors' Guild for this special commendation, and I am still hoping to make this film as I believe it is a very important story that can be a worthy addition to Australia’s discussion of mental health and suicide."


Click here for 2019 ADG Metro Screen Recipients' biographies & photos.

The ADG Metro Screen Fellowships will continue to be administered annually by the Australian Directors’ Guild with funds left over following the closure of Metro Screen in 2015.

Submissions for the 2019/20 Fellowships open later this year. For further information, please contact the ADG on (02) 9555 7045 or email