Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment is adding firepower to two industry and talent development programs in the Asia Pacific region.
One is the third edition of the Impact Australia screenwriter accelerator event which will operate an eight-week program from September. The other is the first edition of Emerge, a 20-week development program intended to raise the game of premium Taiwanese TV series.
Impact Australia was founded by Grazer and Howard and led by CEO Tyler Mitchell. The event is delivered by Gentle Giant Media, the Melbourne-based production company headed by former Village Roadshow Entertainment Group executive Greg Basser. It is supported by the University of Melbourne and state and territory screen agencies (Screen NSW, Screen Queensland and Screen Canberra) across Australia and will be held at the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts’ Southbank campus.
Its aim is to discover, cultivate and empower diverse Australian screenwriters, with the goal of accelerating projects to be pitch-ready for global buyers and producers. Participating screenwriters will be mentored by industry-leading screenwriters.
The first two years of the program in 2020 and 2021 saw 19 projects developed. The majority have now attached producers, and almost all of the 23 alumni writers have signed with representation or have gone on to have success since.
In Australia, Imagine recently produced, with Howard directing, “Thirteen Lives,” a dramatization of the 2018 Thai cave rescue. The film will launch in U.K. cinemas from the end of July and on Prime Video from Aug. 5. 2022.
In Taiwan, Emerge is intended to guide Taiwanese writers, directors and producers to develop Chinese-language original TV series with global appeal. Participants will receive hands-on guidance from experienced producers in Hollywood and Asia.
The initiative is operated by Imagine Entertainment and Sixty Percent Productions, a company controlled by former Fox Television executive Cora Yim. It has funding from the Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA).
“The current state of the international content market has intensified the competition between content produced in every country. Therefore, if Taiwan’s film and television industry can increase its output of high-quality original content, it can increase its chances of successfully tapping into commercial markets. Chinese-language original content has great potential to connect with audiences and subscribers around the world,” said TAICCA CEO Izero Lee.
“We believe that creative collaboration can thrive when we share and learn from each other. It is in that spirit that we are thrilled to partner with TAICCA and Sixty Percent Productions on Emerge. We look forward to working with program participants to help them craft their stories for the local market and globally,” said Imagine Entertainment executive chairmen Brian Garzer and Ron Howard in a joint statement.