Dunedin Script Accelerator Grant


Dunedin City Council (DCC), through the Dunedin Film Office at Enterprise Dunedin, has launched an exciting script development opportunity for Dunedin-based filmmakers – the Dunedin Script Accelerator Grant (‘Script Grant’).

View Full Guidelines (PDF)

We are looking for new and bold stories for both feature films and series that are clearly set in Dunedin.

For this inaugural round, DCC will offer one Script Grant of up to $10,000 (+ GST if applicable) for the development of a scripted film with a total runtime of 80 minutes or more, or for a scripted series project with a minimum runtime of 20 minutes per episode. From this Script Grant, $2,500 (+ GST if applicable) is reserved for engaging an experienced script consultant.

The kaupapa of this Script Grant is to generate support for Dunedin-based writers or producers to develop long-format projects, and to stimulate the city’s screen sector growth by increasing the number of Dunedin-focused stories.

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The Script Grant is available to the following individuals:

1) Screenwriters residing in the city of Dunedin who are actively working towards a career in screenwriting/filmmaking and, ideally, have a proven track record in screenwriting. Writing teams can apply but the lead applicant must be residing in the city of Dunedin.

2) Producers residing in the city of Dunedin who own the IP of a scripted film or scripted series that they are currently developing at an early stage. In this instance, 100% of the grant has to go to the writer(s) attached to the project, minus the $2,500 allocated for the script consultant.

Key Dates (2024):

6 May: Call for entries.

17 June: Closing deadline (5pm).

24 June: Entries delivered to selectors.

5 August: Notification emails sent to applicants.

Eligibility Criteria for Applicants: 

  • All applicants must be NZ citizens or NZ Permanent Residents.
  • The lead applicant must have their permanent residence within the boundaries of the city of Dunedin (proof required).
  • This Script Grant is for screenwriters who are actively working towards a career in screenwriting/filmmaking and, ideally, have a proven track record in screenwriting.
  • The project in the application cannot have already received substantial seed funding from other sources, for example a NZWG Seed Grant / Seed Advanced Grant, or NZFC Early Development Funding.
  • Eligible projects are scripted feature films with a total runtime of 80 minutes or more and scripted series projects with a minimum runtime of 20 minutes per episode.
  • The majority of the story/locations are clearly set in Dunedin.
  • Applicants must own the rights within their work to apply.
  • Writer teams with a maximum of three team members are eligible to apply. However, all team members must fulfil the eligibility criteria outlined in this document and the lead applicant must have their permanent residence within the boundaries of the city of Dunedin (proof required). Teams must also provide evidence that a legally binding collaboration agreement is in place. Templates can be found on the website of the New Zealand Writers Guild.
  • Applicants can submit more than one project – each project is a new application.
  • Single applicants can be part of different writer teams.

Application Materials:

1) Eligibility Materials

  • Information on the lead applicant and additional team members
  • Evidence of applicants’ permanent residence within the boundaries the city of Dunedin
  • Evidence of rights to the material / chain of title
  • Screen biographies for all applicants

2) Assessment Materials

  • Logline
  • Synopsis
  • For feature films: 3 to 5 page treatment
  • For series projects: episode breakdown
  • Information on genre, tone, world and potential audience
  • Script sample (10 pages). The sample has to be from the same project that the applicant is submitting for this Script Grant.

Selection Process: 

  • Two independent, experienced screen creators will be engaged to select compelling, bold stories suitable for development.
  • All applications will be blind-assessed which means that applicants will not be identifiable to the selectors during the selection process.
  • Selectors will be looking for projects that demonstrate the talent and determination required to create a long-format script.
  • Only one project will be selected.
  • Applicants of unsuccessful applications will be notified by email.

Selection Criteria:

Assessments are completed using the following assessment materials:

  • Logline
  • Short synopsis
  • Potential audience
  • Treatment / Episode breakdown
  • Screenplay sample

Eligibility Materials are not provided to, nor sighted by, the selectors. Selectors will be assessing each application on the following criteria:

  1. Idea – is it compelling/engaging? Does it have an audience?
  2. Craft – is the writer able to execute the screenplay on a high enough level to deliver on the promise of the idea?
  3. Voice – is the writer’s voice original and clear?
  4. Audience – has the writer identified the market for this project?
  5. Connection of the story to Dunedin. Is the majority of the story clearly set in Dunedin? How are the Dunedin-focused locations embedded in the story? How much overall screen time is going towards Dunedin-focused locations?

All assessment materials will be blind-assessed by each assessor, with the total score derived from the five criteria above. The score is calculated from the total selectors’ marks for each of the five criteria, which ranges from 1 to 5 points for each category.

DCC will manage the application and selection process and will provide oversight to ensure clear, fair, and transparent processes. DCC staff do not select the Script Grant recipients.

Contact details and further questions:

Please contact Stefan Roesch, DCC for any further questions:


View Full Guidelines (PDF)

How to apply:

To apply, click on the link below:

Apply Now

The Dunedin Script Accelerator Grant has been developed in collaboration with, and endorsed by, the New Zealand Writers Guild - Puni Taatuhi o Aotearoa.

Film Otago Southland is funded and endorsed by

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