AFI unveils new fellowship

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SYDNEY -- Aiming to boost its profile as a key cultural organization, the Australian Film Institute has initiated a new fellowship, earmarking AUS$25,000 ($20,050) to be given each year to boost an Australian filmmakers career.

The AFI Fellowship program was announced Thursday by its patron, director Phillip Noyce, who said it aims to "make a substantial impact on the quality of Australian film practitioners by investing in career aspirations."

AFI CEO James Hewison stressed in an interview that the fellowship was not aimed at providing funding for individual film projects, but rather at helping an experienced filmmaker further a career through such initiatives as internships, mentoring programs or other career training.

The AFI is calling for proposals from fellowship aspirants by June 1, which will be "only limited by the recipients imagination," according to AFI director Amanda Higgs.

The proposals will then be assessed by a committee of industry practitioners, including Higgs and Hewison, with the inaugural AUS$25,000 to be handed out in October, coinciding with the announcement of nominations for the 2007 AFI Awards.

The Australian Film Institute is an independent screen culture organization, funded by members, that principally runs the country's most prestigious film and television awards, the AFI Awards.

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