Netflix And AFTRS Launch $515K Scholarship To Support Indigenous Voices In Film And TV

Netflix And AFTRS Launch $515K Scholarship To Support Indigenous Voices In Film And TV
Dr Romaine Moreton, Tanya Hosch. Image: AFTRS

Netflix has announced its ‘Netflix Indigenous Scholarship Fund’ in collaboration with the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) to support and encourage First Nations storytelling.

Netflix is providing $515,000 to fund the project over a two-year period, with a selection panel from AFTRS allocating the funding as they see fit.

The funding is undoubtedly a huge win for diversity in the Australian media landscape. Considering it was just last year that the Media Diversity Report revealed that just 2.1 per cent of on-screen media talent in Australia identifies as Indigenous, this is an important and long overdue step in the right direction.

The streaming giant took to Twitter to announce the news on Tuesday morning.

The programme aims to elevate and develop First Nations talent in the screen and broadcast industries in Australia with ongoing training and mentorship opportunities funded by the streaming giant.

The selection panel will be chaired by AFTRS Council member and SA Australian of the Year Tanya Hosch, with Netflix representatives and Indigenous leaders from various educational organisations from across the country taking part to ensure the funds are allocated in the best possible way.

“AFTRS is passionate about providing the highest quality learning experiences to people across the country and couldn’t be more excited to partner with Netflix on this initiative,” Hosch said.

“Guided by the expertise of AFTRS First Nations leaders, this very generous scholarship fund from Netflix has the potential to transform both individual careers and improve the inclusion and cultural capacity of our industry. The offering of scholarships, fellowships and training will also give First Nations peoples the option of learning on Country and create opportunities for AFTRS to respond to the challenges of designing new and innovative ways of teaching, learning, and training with and within First Nations communities.”

A similar sentiment was echoed by AFTRS’ Director of First Nations & Outreach Dr Romaine Moreton.

“The Netflix Indigenous Scholarship Fund is a great opportunity for AFTRS and Netflix to work with First Nations communities to support and develop their media-making capacities,” Moreton added.

“It will create pathways into industry, driven by First Nations values that are self-determining, advance Indigenous cultural revitalisation practices and promote storytelling autonomy.”

The value and number of scholarships awarded is yet to be determined, with the selection panel aiming to offer long and short-term opportunities to suit the individual needs of participants over the two-year period.

This is far from a silver bullet when it comes to ensuring our screen and media industry is an accurate representation of the extremely diverse population we have in Australia, but it’s definitely a massive step in the right direction.

For more information on when the scholarships will be available and how to apply, you can visit the AFTRS website.