Mentors Announced for Global Film Lab

For Film’s Sake has announced Attagirl Project Mentors who will lead the training of selected filmmaking teams throughout the ten-month development lab.

Six seasoned producers from Europe, the UK, Asia and the United States will be assigned two projects each, supporting teams to develop distinct, viable and innovative film packages across Attagirl’s story, market and audience content pillars.

Attagirl participants will have access to a depth of experience across varied creative and business approaches, as well as the global network each Mentor has cultivated. Additionally, Mentors will work with Script, Audience and Financial Consultants, as well as directly with the marketplace to support teams hone their investment case. Importantly, all male contractors involved with Attagirl will take a voluntary 17% pay cut, compared to female counterparts.

FFS Executive Director Sophie Mathisen explains, “Often, affirmative action initiatives for women and non-binary filmmakers are driven exclusively by members of those groups.

Whilst representation is paramount, a lack of diversity affects the entire industry in limiting the pool of creatives that can contribute and innovate our industry. A voluntary pay cut is a concrete commitment to parity senior men in the industry can make, and I’m pleased that our exceptional Project Mentors and Consultants have responded so enthusiastically to this initiative.”

Due to COVID-19, the first and second workshops will be delivered online with the final scheduled as in person workshop as part of the Sydney Film Festival in 2021.

Project Mentors will lead the first digital workshop supported by Toronto International Film Festival and renowned Script Editors and Consultants. Mentors will lead a second digital workshop in early 2021 and will finally travel with their teams to Sydney.

The lab will culminate in project pitches as part of a financing forum attended by financiers looking to invest in exceptional and diverse cinematic talent.

Screen NSW welcomes the initiative and will deliver financial support to the Attagirl Lab. “We are thrilled to welcome the esteemed group of Project Mentors For Film’s Sake will bring to NSW, ensuring a fast-track of polished and original films steered by diverse Australian and global talent.

Screen NSW is proud to support Attagirl, which will  enhance the continuation of Sydney’s international reputation as Australia’s City of Film,” said Head of Screen NSW, Grainne Brunsdon.

Project Mentors

Diana Elbaum

Since her beginning in advertising and then film production, Diana Elbaum has produced a vast number of films, which have been showcased and awarded in major festivals. With her first company, Entre Chien et Loup, Diana worked with talents such as Chantal Akerman, Mahamat Saleh Haroun, Raoul Peck, Nabil Ben Yadi. In 2009, she received the European Oscar for Best Producer (with Jani Thiltges).  In 2017, Diana Elbaum opened her new company, Beluga Tree, in association with the Caviar Group. Diana is deeply committed to developing the European film industry and in 2017 she founded Boost Camp, the first French speaking workshop for Women Directors.

Michele Tunure Salleo

As founder and head of the San Francisco Film Society’s Filmmaker360 department Michele oversaw major grants, residencies and project development programs as well as disbursing more than 4.6 million dollars to innovative exceptional films including an Academy Award nominee and Camera D’or winner. Michele is now the principal producer of Feracious Entertainment which develops, produces and finances bold new voices and high-quality lower budget films.

Samm Haillay

Samm Haillay founded Third in 2001, dedicated to the creation of visionary artistic works in cinematic and gallery contexts. His films have premiered at Cannes, Venice, Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto and London Film Festivals, and in 2013 Third was awarded a BFI Vision Award. In addition, his shorts have collected over forty-five prizes in Berlin, Venice, Edinburgh and Chicago and his moving image works have played in galleries across North America, Europe and Japan. Samm is a member of BAFTA, EAVE and ACE and delivers mentoring and training through EAVE, Feature Expanded, the Venice Biennale College Cinema, Film London, Creative England and the BFI.

Mike S. Ryan

Mike is a seasoned producer and executive producer with a special interest in realising ground-breaking, low-budget, independent cinema. As producer with Greyshack Films, he has been recognised by Variety and Independent Spirit and his films have garnered international acclaim earning prizes from Spirit Awards to Academy nominations. JUNEBUG, starring Amy Adams, made its international premiere at Cannes in 2005 and went on to be the lowest-budget feature film to be nominated for an Oscar. He also co-founded the film criticism site Hammer to Nail and writes extensively for Filmmaker Magazine.

Lorna Tee

Lorna Tee co-founded Paperheart in Malaysia, dedicated to bringing independent Asian cinema to world audiences by young, cinematic talents. Her producing credits include Rain Dogs, Crazy Stone, Lover’s Discourse, At The End of Daybreak, Come Rain, Come Shine, & Postcards from the Zoo. As well as her work as producer Lorna is also a film festival consultant, programmer and the co-Festival Director of the International Film Festival Malaysia. Previously she worked for Focus Films Hong Kong, Variety and Asian investment fund Irresistible Films as well as advising on Asian cinema and industry to festivals such as Berlinale, Locarno, Rotterdam and Durban Film Festivals.

A sixth and final mentor will be announced in the coming weeks after scheduling conflicts with a previously contracted producer.

TIFF Workshop Consultants

  • Paul Tyler
  • Robin Mukherjee
  • Jan Miller
  • Francoise Von Roy
  • Mmbatho Kau
  • Britta Krause
  • Nadja Dumouchel

Consultants will work one to one with teams and in conjunction with the Project Mentors. Consultants for the second and final workshop will be finalised in 2021.

Attagirl is designed and run by For Film’s Sake with major financial support from Screen Australia’s Enterprise Business & Ideas funding program. 

Selected applicants with supporting state or international funding agencies will have their fees subsidised. Confirmed funders include the British Film InstituteTelefilm CanadaSwedih Film InstituteScreen NSWScreen QueenslandFilm VictoriaSouth Australian Film CorporationScreenwest and LotterywestScreen Territory and Screen Canberra. Applications are open and will close midnight AEDT August 16th. Head to for more details and to apply.

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, Attagirl will see up to 12 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.

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