THE WRITE STUFF: Participants Claire Spargo of Coffs Harbour, Ljudan Michael-Thorpe of Byron Bay, John Bell workshop tutor from Casino, Belinda Chayko tutor from Murwillumbah and Tristan Savage of Townsville.
THE WRITE STUFF: Participants Claire Spargo of Coffs Harbour, Ljudan Michael-Thorpe of Byron Bay, John Bell workshop tutor from Casino, Belinda Chayko tutor from Murwillumbah and Tristan Savage of Townsville. Doug Eaton

Indigenous TV boosted thanks to Foxtel

NORTHERN Rivers television lovers may be set to see more indigenous programs on our screens in the near future.

Emerging indigenous screenwriters took their turn at writing for the box office and the small screen, participating in a three-day screenwriting workshop hosted by Foxtel and Northern Rivers Screenworks.

Out of 35 applicants, 18 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were chosen to participate in the workshop that will teach them all they need to know to get their writing up to scratch and pitch for film and television.

Over the three days students were given opportunities to pitch their ideas to major players in the film and television industry, including Foxtel, NITV and the creator of the yet-to-be-screened drama Gods of Wheat Street, John Bell.

Screenworks general manager Jill Moonie said the workshop was developed after the demand for indigenous content for film and TV had grown.

"The workshop is very timely because there is a demand for indigenous stories to be told and there is great talent pool of writers in the Northern Rivers who can meet that demand," Ms Moonie said.

Over the three days students participated in writing, scripting and character development workshops.

They also networked with industry professionals.

Indigenous program manager at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School Dennis Stokes said the push towards sourcing indigenous television content meant it was important to offer up-and- coming content producers with opportunities to hone their craft.

Mr Bell said the students at the workshop had been hungry to learn more about screen writing.

"It's vitally important we have people who are able to produce content all year round because soon the demand for indigenous content will outweigh what is being created," Mr Bell said.

Screenworks events and membership manager Lisa O'Meara said the role of Northern Rivers Screenworks was to identify and nurture talent in the region.

"It's also really important that we give indigenous people a voice because learning about their stories is an advantage for everyone in the community," Ms O'Meara said.



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