Canberra filmmaker Sebastian Chan is one of six screenwriting creatives from around Australia selected for the inaugural Emerging Writers' Incubator.
"I'm thrilled to be part of the first cohort," Chan said.
Beginning in January Chan, 31, will spend a year with Sydney TV and film company Bunya Productions (High Ground, Mystery Road) as part of this initiative.
The Emerging Writers' Cubator is intended to advance the development of underrepresented writing talent telling Australian fiction stories for the screen.
"Screen Canberra will provide a living stipend and I'll live in Sydney and work with the production company as a paid employee," Chan said.
Born in Colombia, Chan was adopted when he was three months old by a Canberra couple and has lived here since.
He attended St Francis Xavier College where his classes included drama and media studies.
"I didn't really like being in front of the camera so I went behind the camera," he said.
He studied media arts and production at the University of Canberra and earned an Advanced Diploma in Producing (Story, Audience, Finance) from the Australian Film Television and Radio School.
"I was always keen to write and direct," he said.
But much of his work was producing other people's projects.
While that might not be glamorous, it helped him learn the logistical and business aspects of filmmaking.
Chan has his own production company, Vorfreude Pictures.
His own projects have included Bus Trip, which won the Judges' Choice award at the Focus on Ability Festival in 2018 and the ACT's first IGTV series, The Red Thread.
In 2020 he won the ABC iView Best Pitch award for his project, The Family at the Melbourne Webfest.
Chan said the filmmakers he most admired included Christopher Nolan - he liked Tenet more than many - and especially Stanley Kubrick, particularly the latter's final film, Eyes Wide Shut.
"He's one of the all-time greats ... there's always more you can learn from that film," Chan said.
Chan, a genre buff, said he also enjoyed low-budget Australian horror such as Chris Sun's Boar and Kiah Roache-Turner's Wyrmwood zombie films.
While Canberra has a flourishing community of filmmakers, it's not a movie-making hub like Melbourne or Sydney.
But Chan said this might be changing.
The Liam Neeson movie Blacklight had a sequence shot here in January, other TV and film productions have also filmed in and around the ACT and there are facilities like the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.
He said the rise of Zoom meetings during COVID highlighted the fact a lot of creative activity - such as writers' rooms for TV series - could be undertaken no matter where the participants were living.
"It's an exciting prospect - you can write from anywhere."
And that, of course, included Canberra.
"I'd love to come back," Chan said.
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