Applications now open for Attagirl film lab #2

July 20, 2021

Entries are now open for the second edition of For Film’s Sake’s feature film development lab, Attagirl, which supports female and non-binary filmmaking teams navigate development of narrative feature films in the digital age.

Applications now open for Attagirl film lab #2

Entries are now open for the second edition of For Film’s Sake’s feature film development lab, Attagirl, which supports female and non-binary filmmaking teams navigate development of narrative feature films in the digital age.

Created by For Film’s Sake’s Executive Director Sophie Mathisen, Attagirl is supported by Screen Australia through the Enterprise Business and Ideas funding program. The initiative is also financed with the support of Telefilm Canada, the British Film Institute and the Swedish Film Institute in conjunction with philanthropic supporters. Initially designed as a travel-based initiative to market-driven festivals, Attagirl pivoted to digital delivery in 2020 subsequent to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its second year Attagirl will also be delivered virtually with some further amendments to content and structure.

The lab will now be formally split into two stages – Stage One focusing on development of creative production skills and Stage Two focusing on selected teams producing market ready feature film packages. Following completion of Stage One, teams will be assessed by Attagirl Mentors with an uncapped number of “market-ready” projects invited to participate in Stage Two. Films not invited to Stage Two will be eligible to apply for Stage Two within any future lab cycles. Stage One and Two will each contain up to two workshop intensives, delivered digitally, as well as digital accreditations being supplied by the lab via its Festival partners. FFS Executive Director, Sophie Mathisen, explains,

“COVID closures and changes – whilst no doubt disruptive – actually created a host of unintended benefits to the program and participants. With travel suspended, Mentors and Experts were more available to dedicate time and support to the selected teams which has resulted in greater depth and distinction in the developing films. The primary goal of Attagirl is to provide globally relevant support and structure to the development pipeline for new, emerging and historically marginalised talent and considering the number and quality of projects that has resulted from this model – even under the stress of lockdowns – FFS and our stakeholders are excited to continue down the digital road for the time being.”

The inaugural program has proved extremely valuable to participants. Australian filmmakers, Emma Freeman* and Leanne Tonkes**, have benefited greatly. “We began Attagirl at a crisis point for us and the world.  Working with the Attagirl team challenged us to think deeply and discover the most brave and distinctive version which we had been wanting to tell for some time.  We were encouraged to work hard, think big, aim high and we look forward to further support as we move towards production. If you have a story you must tell, Attagirl will help you discover the universality and power within it and how best to position and engage with your audience.”

Diana Elbaum***, current Attagirl Mentor, has enjoyed seeing projects and teams flourish via the Attagirl approach, “Attagirl gives its filmmakers 360 support for developing their features – from script consultancy to audience design and marketing.  As a mentor on other international workshops, Attagirl is one of the few schemes supported by private equity and national bodies, giving teams an immediate launch pad for their projects, which is unique.”

L-R Script Consultant: Robin Mukherjee, Producer Leanne Tonkes, Director Emma Freeman, Production Mentor Diana Elbaum

Applications are being accepted via Attagirl’s website and will close on 22nd August. Subsidised places are available for teams from participating territories (listed below). Teams from non-official partner territories (listed below) are warmly invited to apply however it is recommended that teams engage their relevant funding body with their intention to apply. If no funding is available within a territory FFS will seek partial or full funding via philanthropic support where possible for selected projects.

Before entering, FFS urges applicants to review the submission requirements closely, to ensure team and project eligibility. Documentary films, television or web series are not eligible formats. Entry is free.  Head to for full eligibility criteria and submission details and FAQ.


  • Up to 24 teams from global territories will be selected for Stage One which focuses on Story and Audience. Following assessment of submitted materials at culmination of Stage One, an uncapped number of projects will be invited to participate in Stage Two which focuses on Market and Financing.
  • Teams must be made up of producer and director minimum. No single applicants will be selected.
  • Teams must also have at least fifty percent participation of female/non-binary filmmakers in above the line roles. Above the line roles mean writer, producer, director.
  • Applicants are required to submit: (a) Synopsis (one page), (b) Treatment of no more than 10 pages, (c) Director’s Vision (one page), (d) Director’s previous works, (e) Producer’s Intent (one page) (f) Distribution/Marketing Plan (5 pages), (g) Finance Plan (one page), (h) Total Budget, (i) Biographies of the Team (no more than 3 pages), (j) Casting Note (one page), (k) Production Company Profile (one page), (l) Video Pitch (3 mins), (m) Chain of Title evidence
  • Official partner territories include: Australia, Britain, Canada, Sweden.
  • Shortlisted teams will be invited to a virtual interview throughout the Sydney Film Festival with successful teams will be notified in the first week of September.
  • Workshop dates are as follows: Workshop 1 September 22-October 1st, Workshop 2 18-27th November, Workshop 3 24th February – 6th March 2022 and Workshop 4 8-13th June 2022
  • Entry is free
  • The closing date for applications is 22nd August 2021.

Attagirl is a global film lab designed to support female and non-binary filmmakers created by Sophie Mathisen, Executive Director of For Film’s Sake. Teams of majority female and/or non-binary creative teams participate in a 10-month incubator program designed to support the development trajectory of narrative features in an increasingly digitally-focused marketplace. The course content centres on three major pillars – story, market and audience – with support provided by international screen agencies and leading international film festivals.

*Emma Freeman is an internationally acclaimed award-winning director, who recently directed the first season of The Newsreader for Werner Film Productions and the ABC. Emma also directed three episodes of Stateless for Matchbox Pictures, the ABC and Netflix, for which she won Best Director at the Australian Director’s Guild Awards in 2020. Emma has also directed two episodes of Clickbait, a Netflix / Matchbox Pictures series to premiere later in 2021 and was the sole director of Glitch.

**Leanne has produced Stephen Lance’s debut feature film My Mistress, as well as Mairi Cameron’s AACTA nominated debut feature The Second, which was also the first Stan Original feature. She is developing The Circus with Emma Freeman and adapting The Secret Lives Of Dresses with Megan Simpson Huberman, Mairi Cameron and Stephen Lance, The Wedding Season with Menik Gooneratne and Tigress with Niromi de Soyza and Jane Hampson.  She is also developing The Bloody Satisfaction Of Derek Gott under the Stan/SQ premium drama development program with Steve Baker.

***Diana Elbaum has produced a wide range of award-winning films since becoming a producer in 1989, initially in advertising and then in motion pictures. Her films span all genres and cultures and have received critical acclaim on all continents. She is known for masterfully bringing together international talent and financing. Diana is deeply committed to growing Europe’s film industry and, to this effect, devotes time to training young film producers as well as founding the first European lab for French and Belgian women directors – Boost Camp – in 2018. In 2009 she received the Eurimages Award, awarded to producers who play an active role in European co-productions.