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SPARK is the Darwin International Film Festival’s bold new creative initiative designed to inspire and support the development of short filmmakers in the Darwin region. The SPARK INIATIVE will involve an in-depth workshop series to support emerging

filmmakers in taking their ideas from script to screen. Participating teams will receive mentorship from industry professionals and seed funding to support production costs.

How does it Work?

The SPARK Film Initiative commences with a month of Screenplay mentoring with Phil Denson (submissions due on 2 April). At this stage you are not required to have a crew or any experience, just a good idea and a script template.

During the script development period, a series of free workshops will be held in order to help crews form around developing scripts, and give the necessary tools to prepare for the production of a short film!

Following this development stage, Scripts will become projects, with crews ready to take their idea on to the big screen! Five projects will be selected by a panel of Industry professionals, to go into production under the Spark Banner.

Spark will support those productions in many ways, including a seed fund of $5,000, Industry contacts and special deals, and a Premiere screening at Deckchair Cinema during DIFF2018!

SPARK Entry Requirements


To enter your screenplay in the DIFF SPARK SHORT FILM INITIATIVE – email your short 5-10 page screenplay by the 15th of APRIL 2017. Not sure how to format your screenplay? Use this professional script layout as a guide.


If you are not a writer, but want to get involved in the DIFF SPARK INITIATIVE as a Producer, Director, Camera or other crew member, please register your interest with examples of your work, CV or showreel to You will be invited to an information session and networking opportunity to meet other filmmakers and form crews in the lead up to production.


Entries must be submitted by people who live in the GREATER DARWIN REGION. If your project is selected, you will be be asked to attend a series of masterclasses to support the development and production of your film.

SPARK Script Development Plan

In order to support projects through development, there will be a number of stages to the application process before the final five projects are chosen.


1-3 page synopsis or 5-10 page script for development.


A one-month intensive script development process will be undertaken by local screenwriter and script editor and Phil Denson from Undergrowth Productions. Phil will give detailed script analysis and feedback to all screenplays.


Proposals will focus on SCREENPLAY. Screenwriters will be able to submit their finalised scripts to a Judging Panel of local and national Industry Professionals. Projects will be chosen based solely on the quality of their screenplay.


Filmmakers will be encouraged to form strong teams in the Development phase of the project in order to maximise their competitiveness, and show their ability to go into production.