American Australian Association Joins As Fellowship Sponsor

Deadline For Eligible Applicants Wednesday, Dec. 1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 23, 2021, Los Angeles, CA – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that the Screen Australia-AAA-Onbass Fellowship, a full tuition scholarship to the AFI Conservatory, will be awarded to an incoming Australian Fellow beginning in the 2022 academic year for a Master of Fine Arts degree in one of six disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting.

Created in partnership with Screen Australia and the Onbass Family Trust, formed by Chairman and CEO of Gentle Giant Media Group Greg Basser and his wife Kiera O’Neill, the Fellowship will provide full tuition and fees, as well as some support for living expenses, to one Australian filmmaker entering the AFI Conservatory in the fall of 2022. The American Australian Association joins as a continuing sponsor of the Fellowship.

“In these trying times, the Australian screen industry has continued to show its prowess to the global industry. Kiera and I are delighted that the Fellowship will continue in 2022 and want to thank Screen Australia for its continued participation and the Australian American Association for joining this unique opportunity for Australian screen practitioners to hone their skills by studying in Hollywood’s backyard with the best of the best at the AFI Conservatory,” said Greg Basser.

“Since 2002, the American Australian Association has supported over 500 artists by providing financial support through its’ Arts Fund. We are delighted to join Screen Australia and the Onbass Family Trust to continue supporting the next generation of Australian Filmmakers with what will be our largest Arts scholarship to date,” said Amb. John Berry (Ret.), American Australian Association. “The Australian film industry continues to hold its own on the world stage, and supporting the next generation is fundamental to its continued success.”

Graeme Mason, Screen Australia’s CEO said, “We know Australian creatives are in demand around the world and we are proud to once again support this unique scholarship opportunity for an aspiring Australian filmmaker to not only hone their skills through the AFI Conservatory’s renowned training program, but also gain first-hand experience in the US industry and learn alongside an international cohort of fellow emerging creatives.”

Past recipients of the Screen Australia-Onbass Fellowship include cinematographer Meg White (AFI Class of 2021) and production designer Eleanora Steiner (AFI Class of 2023).

“We are thrilled to once again partner with Screen Australia, the Onbass Family Trust, along with the American Australian Association, to offer the Screen Australia-AAA-Onbass Fellowship at the AFI Conservatory,” said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EVP of the American Film Institute. “This opportunity for Australian filmmakers to join the AFI community, share their stories and develop their voice is integral to supporting the next generation of storytellers.”

Applications to join the AFI Conservatory as a Screen Australia-AAA-Onbass Fellow in the fall of 2022 are due by Dec. 1. To learn more and apply to the AFI Conservatory, visit:


About Screen Australia
Screen Australia is the Australian Federal Government agency charged with supporting the development, production and promotion of Australian scripted and documentary content. The agency funds productions for television, film and online. Screen Australia also administers Australia’s Official Co-production program, in addition to the Producer Offset tax rebate which assists eligible Australian and Official Co-productions to be made. The agency provides a range of resources and opportunities to the industry including access to research, market intelligence and special initiatives, such as its highly successful Gender Matters program. For more information visit


About American Australian Association

The American Australian Association is the leading privately funded nonprofit organization dedicated to deepening and strengthening cooperation and understanding between the institutions and people of the United States and Australia. Since 2002, the Association’s philanthropic scholarship and grant programs have awarded over US$13 million to more than 900 graduates, veterans and artists. This investment has contributed to further advancing the careers of the next generation of leaders, developing international networks and generating solutions that address the global issues of our time. For more information please visit


About the American Film Institute (AFI)

The American Film Institute (AFI) is a nonprofit organization with a mandate to champion the moving image as an art form. Established in 1967, AFI launched the first comprehensive history of American film and sparked the movement for film preservation in the United States. In 1969, AFI opened the doors of the AFI Conservatory, a graduate-level program to train narrative filmmakers. AFI’s enduring traditions include the AFI Life Achievement Award, which honors the masters for work that has stood the test of time; AFI AWARDS, which celebrates the creative ensembles of the most outstanding screen stories of the year; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive that preserve film history for future generations. AFI exhibition programs include AFI FESTAFI DOCS and year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Maryland. Other pioneering programs include workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community, including the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and the AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women. AFI’s newest program is AFI Movie Club, a daily global engagement for those who love the movies. Read about all of these programs and more at and follow us on social media at,, and


About the AFI Conservatory

The AFI Conservatory opened its doors in 1969 to an inaugural class that included Terrence Malick, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. Today, the Conservatory offers a two-year MFA degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. In a collaborative production environment, AFI Fellows learn to master the art of storytelling, collectively creating up to 175 films a year. Fellows actively participate in the entire life cycle of a film, from development through production and exhibition.

Alumni of this elite program, ranging from modern masters to bold new voices defining the state of the art form include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Ari Aster, Sam Esmail, Brad Falchuk, Liz Hannah, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, Matthew Libatique, David Lynch, Melina Matsoukas, Polly Morgan, Rachel Morrison and Wally Pfister, among others.


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