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This initiative is designed to act as a stepping-stone for emerging, advancing and transitioning screen industry practitioners to help them achieve their career goals. 


The Quicksilver Production Initiative supports the professional development of creative talent by providing funded production opportunities of short form content that demonstrates a bold, original, artistic vision.


This is an inclusive opportunity for South Australian practitioners who are committed to pursuing a professional career in the screen industry. At least one production opportunity will be led by an emerging key creative from an underrepresented background or community.


Applications are invited from teams with projects that are in advanced stages of development and are production-ready.


Initiative outcomes include:

  • Production of a short form project to compete on the international festival circuit and/or screen online to raise the profile of the team   
  • Demonstration of craft, technical and creative expertise
  • Facilitation of new career pathways for practitioners
  • Fosters creative collaborations of cast and crew


What is offered:

Up to five production opportunities are available to draw from a total fund of $60,000. 


In addition to the cash budgets offered, $2,500 of in-kind support is also provided by way of equipment and facilities hire, including $1,500 worth of public liability and volunteer insurance cover, a suite of contract templates, production forms and project mentoring from Mercury CX Production Executives. 


The following table specifies the cash funding available. Based on applications, Mercury CX reserves the right to distribute the funds across fewer projects as deemed appropriate.

Eligibility Criteria - Teams

  • All members of the key creative team must be South Australian residents and 18+
  • All members of the key creative team are required to become Mercury CX members to receive the grant, but only the applicant needs to be a member at the time of application. Become an MCX Member.
  • All applications must include an attached Producer, Writer and Director with at least two individuals across this combination (the key creative team).
  • Applications are submitted by the Producer. A project may have more than one producer attached.
  • Each applicant and key creative team can only apply with one project per round. 
  • Writers may be part of the key creative team on up to three projects as long as the key creative teams are different.
  • Producers may be attached to up to three projects as long as the key creative teams are different.
  • Directors who have received three previous Production Grants in total from MRC/Mercury CX are not eligible to apply.
  • Please note this change to the cap on the number of applications for producers. This has been amended based on a review of feedback received since the launch of the guidelines. 


Eligibility Criteria - Projects

  • Each project should be no more than 20-minutes in duration and can be of any genre - documentary or fictional - and any format (film, animation, web series, pilot etc.) as long as the finished project can be viewed as a standalone project with a beginning, middle and end. Projects that exceed this duration may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Projects must be able to demonstrate viability for the proposed budget.
  • Projects may be original works or adaptations, though proof of copyright must be provided.
  • Post-production grants may be considered in exceptional circumstances.
  • Any member of the key creative team in default of any contractual obligations to the SAFC or Mercury CX (previously known as the MRC), will not be eligible.
  • Sizzles, Trailers, Music Videos, News and Entertainment formats and Commercials are not eligible.
  • X-rated, overly violent or disturbing content, hate, propaganda, demeaning, defamatory or culturally insensitive content will not be considered.

Application Information

  1. Full-time students may apply BUT are unable to use the budget toward a student film that forms part of their coursework. 
  2. Projects are encouraged to attract additional funding outside of the Quicksilver Grant.
  3. The producer must be proactive in sourcing cast, crew, and heads of department from South Australia, though non-South Australian cast and crew will be considered where the producer has demonstrated the significant track record and need of the non-South Australian cast or crew member during the application process.
  4. Whilst not essential, where the team has little or no experience, practitioners are encouraged to approach a mentor in the form of an Executive Producer or Mentor Director to help strengthen the competitiveness of their application.
  5. Applicants must provide evidence that they have control of the copyright of the project initially through the online application form, and if a documentary project, have evidence of access in the form of personal releases (template provided below) or a letter of intent.
  6. Shortlisted applicants must provide additional relevant releases and agreements (option agreements, co-production agreements etc.) to the Mercury CX at a date to be announced before their interview.
  7. A diverse creative team is expected and highly regarded by Mercury CX in alignment with its inclusivity values and its aim to adhere to industry best practice.
  8. Selection is competitive and will be based on the strength of the script, creative vision and the career-building opportunity for the creative team. Submitting visual materials and previous work is encouraged.
  9. The inclusion of First Nations stories or characters must adhere to the Indigenous pathways and protocols handbook available on the Screen Australia website: https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/about-us/doing-business-with-us/indigenous-content/indigenous-protocols
  10. Any story containing First Nations content must have a First Nations key creative attached.

Assessment Process

In line with prevailing screen industry standards, all applications must be completed in full and submitted by the deadline. Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.


Stage 1. Written Application (online application form and uploaded attachments)

Applications will be assessed holistically on the following criteria:

  • The strength and originality of the story and quality and standard of writing
  • The quality and originality of the directorial vision 
  • The readiness of the project to advance into production
  • The viability of the production in relation to the proposed budget
  • The demonstrated benefits to the creative team in relation to stated career ambitions 

Stage 2. Short-listed applicants will be invited to attend an interview with Mercury CX executives. 

If short-listed, all relevant agreements and releases must be provided to Mercury CX before the interview, as stated in the application criteria.


Stage 3. Successful applicants will be announced following the interviews.