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Pictured: Proud Wiradjuri woman, Katie Tonkin, set to take her screenwriting career to the next level
Tweed Heads local, Katie Tonkin, is set to take her screenwriting career to the next level after winning a place in Screenworks 2021 Career Pathway program, Inside the Writers Room.
Proud Wiradjuri woman and mother of triplets, Ms Tonkin, applied to the program in late 2020 to practice writing applications for future funding opportunities, not believing she had any chance of winning.
Inside the Writers Room offers three places annually to observe a professional writer's room to help advance NSW regional screenwriters starting in the industry.
With a childhood dream of becoming an actress and a fascination for filmmaking, Ms Tonkin decided at 47 that it was now or never to explore her passion.
She enrolled in a Certificate IV in Screen and Media at TAFE NSW Kingscliff in early 2020, with no idea of the challenges the year would bring.
"Homeschooling triplets and caring for my sick mother and studying - it was a lot to take. At one point, I emailed my teacher and said I don't think I can keep this up," said Ms Tonkin.
"My teacher told me that I could not drop the course and that I had to keep going. Without her amazing support, I wouldn't have made it through."
Supporting her application was a screenplay excerpt written as part of her studies, titled "Generations."
"Generations tells the story of a young indigenous girl with a fair appearance, trying to connect with her culture as a way of maintaining her connection to her mother, who is dying from cancer," said Ms Tonkin.
Inspired by her childhood and her mother's battle with breast cancer, Ms Tonkin said, "I wanted to explain that culture is not about skin tone, but about how you connect with culture and what it means to you."
Now studying a Diploma in Screen and Media, Ms Tonkin will observe the Fremantle Media writers' room for a week, making connections that she hopes will pave her way as a future screenwriter and director.
TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Creative Industries Sandra Guy said students come to TAFE NSW with powerful stories to tell.
"Authentic storytelling, particularly in Indigenous production, is a powerful way to connect audiences with culture, preserve history and help Aboriginal people regain their sense of belonging," said Ms Guy.
"Katie is proof the screen and media courses at TAFE NSW equip students with the practical skills and experience they need to bring their stories to life, launching their careers in the TV and film industry."
For more information on Screen and Media courses, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601
Media contact: Kelly Lawler, Communications Specialist