Screen Australia launches First Nations Game Studio Fund

Screen Australia has launched its inaugural First Nations Game Studio Fund, which exists in addition to the Games: Expansion Pack Fund.
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Screen Australia has announced the launch of the First Nations Game Studio fund, which will support developers from First Nations backgrounds in operating dedicated game studios. Over two years, two selected First Nations-led studios will receive up to AU $150,000 per year in funding, to aid in the creation of ‘culturally safe space for First Nations people to grow their skills in game development.’

Applications for the fund are now live on the Screen Australia website – although it’s essential to note that studios applying must be currently operating, and primarily feature First Nations people in leadership roles, and with a strong degree of creative control.

This fund exists in addition to the Screen Australia ‘Games: Expansion Pack’ Fund, which has reportedly provided AU $5.5 million in funding to independent game studios since it launched in March 2022.

‘First Nations communities have been telling stories – through music, dance and song – since the first sunrise,’ Tony Burke, Minister for the Arts said of the newly-established fund. ‘It’s critical we continue to support those stories being told. Australia’s video game developers are significant storytellers, and this fund will ensure First Nations stories are told in one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.’

Read: Dinkum and the erasure of First Nations People in Australian video games

‘The First Nations Game Studio fund is the first of its kind on a national scale and we are proud to further our commitment to supporting First Nations creatives in telling authentic stories across so many platforms for the screen,’ Angela Bates, Screen Australia’s Head of First Nations said.

According to Screen Australia’s Head of Online, Lee Naimo, this fund has been established in direct response to the opportunities presented by First Nations game makers ‘already engaged in building sustainable studios in Australia’. Naimo believes the funding will help these game makers grow, and solidify their businesses.

Studios who are eligible to apply for the fund can do so via the Screen Australia website. Applications close on 1 June 2023 at 5:00 pm AEST.

Those who wish to enquire directly about the fund can reach out to the Screen Australia First Nations team online:

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.