Drumroll please! The inaugural Big Pineapple film competition is here. Designed to help overcome gender disparity in the Australian film industry, The Big Pineapple will support female-led emerging filmmakers to produce feature length films. With a workforce of just 16% female directors, 23% female screenwriters, 34% female producers and shockingly 7% female cinematographers*, The Big Pineapple will be an active step in changing statistics through the act of content creation.
Building on Screen Australia’s ‘three tick test’, to be eligible a team must pass the ‘Four Tick Test’. Men can be on the production team (and are encouraged to submit) however women must fulfil four of the following five roles; writer, producer, director, cinematographer, lead protagonist. In addition, there must not be more than two feature credits between the four creative leads, making way for emerging filmmakers.
The Big Pineapple is an ideas-led competition. Teams are invited to submit an initial one-page pitch document (synopsis). The best and brightest ideas will be selected for further assessment and development. The winner will be awarded a $50,000 cash prize to write and produce their feature film, and will receive substantial industry support including a distribution safety net through the Festival’s channels. So far the partners include Sydney based ZIGZAG Post, offering a full post-production package valued at $20,000, a further $20,000 in marketing materials from the Solid State, $5,000 in product sponsorship from RODE Microphones, $2,500 in production accounting support from Moneypenny and a $5,000 Distribution & Promotion plan from Fan-Force, making the total prize value in excess of $100,000. The finished film will be featured in the FFS (For Film’s Sake) Festival in April 2018.
WIFT (Women in Film & Television) and FFS (For Film’s Sake) are behind The Big Pineapple competition. Director of both WIFT and FFS, Sophie Mathisen, believes the competition will be a game changer. “We want to nurture more female filmmakers through active and visible initiatives rather than endless mentorships,” Sophie explains. “Right now for every one female film director in Australia, there are 15 male directors. The screen industries are not reflective of our society and we need Festivals to be creating spaces for new female voices.”
The Big Pineapple judges include cinematographer Velinda Wardell ACS, screenwriter Emma Jensen, writer/directors Louise Wadley and Megan Riakos, and filmmaker and diversity advocate Pearl Tan, with more members to be announced. They will be looking for original ideas and concepts in any genre that demonstrate viability to be shot within the designated budget. If you’re a filmmaker with a great idea for a feature, The Big Pineapple could be your big break. Go to https://www.forfilmssake.org/thebigpineapple/ to enter.