In news that we absolutely love to hear, Screen Australia has this morning announced the First Nations Game Studio fund.
The fund, aimed at supporting games studios led by First Nations game developers, will see up to two game studios receive up to $150,000 per year for two years to strengthen their businesses according to Screen Australia in a press release. To apply, studios must be currently operating and primarily under the leadership and creative control of First Nations people.
Hopefully, this Screen Australia fund will incentivise established gaming studios to invest in creating a culturally safe space for First Nations people to grow their skills in game development. Which, this being the year 2023, you’d hope that all gaming studios are already doing that.
It’s great to see Screen Australia set up a fund such as this and throw their support behind First Nations game development. We’ve already seen them show some love to Indigenous indie games like Future Folklore (working title), but I can’t wait to see what incredible games come from First Nations studios after they get an extra boost of funding.
As Indigenous people, storytelling is woven into our identity and our culture. It only makes sense that we should be at the helm of creative storytelling like video games and that the creative power in our blood should be shared with the rest of the world.
“First Nations communities have been telling stories – through music, dance and song – since the first sunrise. It’s critical we continue to support those stories being told,” Tony Burke, Minister for the Arts, said in the press release, “Australia’s videogame developers are significant storytellers, and this fund will ensure First Nations stories are told in one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.”
The introduction of the First Nations Game Studio fund follows Screen Australia’s Games: Expansion Pack fund which has seen over $5.5 million in funding for 41 games since it was created early last year.
Angela Bates, Head of First Nations at Screen Australia, said that the First Nations Game Studio fund is the first of its kind across Australia. “It is a fantastic opportunity for First Nations game studios to build their businesses and create games that will cut through and establish a place within this billion-dollar global industry,” she said.
Studios can apply for the fund now, with more information found here. Applications will close at 5 pm AEST on Thursday, June 1, 2023.
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