Screen Australia

Documentary Development Open 2020

The aim of Screen Australia’s Documentary Development program is to assist documentary makers in achieving planned outcomes for the development of their projects.


The program primarily supports one-off and series documentaries, including online and VR. This could include:

  • Further research
  • Writing the next draft of a script or treatment
  • Strategic shooting and/or editing to attract marketplace finance for the next stage of development or production; or compiling a sizzle reel.


While each of Screen Australia’s Documentary programs, across Development and Production, has its own criteria and eligibility, they all share the following goals:

  • Strong storytelling: bold, engaging and distinctive stories that contribute to, or create, a national conversation; and shape or reflect identity
  • Audience: we fund any platform but are looking for a clear and genuine pathway which connects to audiences in relation to the amount requested
  • Culture and Diversity: to ensurestorytellers and stories reflect gender equity and/or diversity of people and experiences from around Australia all of which are important culturally, creatively and economically.
  • Talent: to identify and support emerging talent as well as create opportunities for experienced practitioners.

Screen Australia anticipates allocating direct funding of approximately $14-16 million across all documentary funding programs in 2019/20. With our limited funds, each program is competitive and we assess each project on how well it delivers on Screen Australia’s aims, assessment criteria, and how it compares to others submitted in the same round.


You may apply at any time using the Application Portal

There is a one-stage process for assessment with, normally, a 6-week turnaround for decisions upon receipt of eligible application. 

Applicants may apply for any amount up to $30,000.


  • Strength of the Idea: How competitively does it meet the aims of excellence, culture and/or innovation
  • Business Case: The appropriateness of the level of funds requested in relation to the proposed development strategy; and use of funds at this stage of development
  • Pathway to Audience: How well you understand your primary target audience and demonstrate the strength of your plan to reach them
  • Creative Team: How appropriate are the skills and experience of the creative team to deliver on the proposal, promised audience and production funding.

Other factors, including availability of Screen Australia funds, diversity of slate and the gender and cultural diversity of the team may also influence Screen Australia’s funding decisions. 

Applications are considered by Screen Australia executives and/or industry specialists as required. Assessments are made solely on the materials submitted through the portal.

Applications close
01 Jan 2021
Amount Upon Application
Film / TV / Digital
Grant Type
New work
Presentation & Promotion
Skills development
Applicant Type
Screen Australia (opens in new window)
Screen Australia