AIDC Announces 2018 Program – Opportunities, Impact, Innovation

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) has announced the full program of Sessions, Speakers, Screenings, Events, Decision Makers and Marketplace opportunities for the 2018 event, to be held at ACMI in Melbourne, Australia, from the 4th to the 7th of March.

Supported by Principal Partner Film Victoria and Major Partners ACMI, Screen Australia, ABC, SBS and Jumpgate VR, the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) is Australia’s premier event for documentary, factual and unscripted screen content and features a four-day international marketplace, forum and screening program.

With a focus on the current international and domestic market for documentary and factual programming, as well as impact and innovation, AIDC 2018 kicks off on Sunday the 4th of March with its VR Plus day exploring VR, AR and interactive nonfiction content, including a keynote by global new media expert, Tribeca Film Institute’s Ingrid Kopp, presented by Swinburne University of Technology.

Day One also includes ‘Who’s Who in the Zoo’, a roll-call and fun intro to AIDC’s international Decision Maker delegates. This is an incomparable opportunity to get to know the most important people in the nonfiction screen sector. Continuing to lead with the big guns, AIDC’s So You Think You’ve Got an Idea? then invites practitioners to meet and pitch to the biggest producers of Australian TV, including Fremantle Media’s Caroline Spencer, Matchbox’s Kylie Washington and CJZ’s Andrew Farrell. And to celebrate the launch of the conference, Sunday night kicks off with the Opening Night Party – co-presented by SBS – with a special Welcome to Country provided by Aboriginal elder Uncle Jack Charles and entertainment from rising neo-soul stars Electric Fields (soon to be the subject of a doco themselves).

Day Two, Monday March 5, starts with a Masterclass presented by Film Victoria by long time-time Errol Morris collaborator, producer Robert Fernandez. Fernandez recently delivered his and Morris’ biggest project to-date – the Netflix series, Wormwood. Monday includes AIDC’s focus on the relationship between journalism and documentary. Special sessions in this strand include a focus on video in Journalism Plus, presented by ABC News, featuring John Lyons (Head of Investigative and in-depth journalism, ABC News) and moderated by Nick Feik (Editor, The Monthly). AIDC is also pleased to welcome the team from Australia’s podcast sensation, Trace, including Rachael Brown, Tim Roxburgh and Martin Peralta, who will unpack their crafting of their Walkley-winning investigative documentary podcast in ‘Retracing: Crafting Story in Audio Documentary’.

Day Two continues with a number of ‘Meet the Commissioner’ sessions, including ‘Innovate Now: Rethinking Factual TV’, presented by ABC and SBS, where local and international commissioners discuss new technologies in the evolution of factual TV storytelling, and what’s getting them excited for 2018 and beyond. A showcase of arts commissioning, ‘Going Hunting: Is Arts an Endangered Species?’, will be hosted at the Clemenger Auditorium of the National Gallery of Victoria, and will be followed a special networking session in the gardens, with AIDC delegates afforded an exclusive after-hours viewing of NGV’s Triennial Exhibition.

Day Three, Tuesday March 6, is AIDC’s distribution day. It begins with an in-conversation session no practitioner will want to miss – ‘Beyond Broadcast and Cinema’ (presented by Film Victoria) – featuring Kitty Green and Dan Fallshaw, two Australian doco makers doing deals with giants Netflix and Amazon, about navigating the new complexities of rights control in a world-wide marketplace. This will be followed by a series of sessions addressing the new distribution landscape, answering questions on how to access alternative audience pathways and get content seen. Director Jennifer Peedom, Paul Wiegard (Madman) and Oli Harbottle (Dogwoof), will discuss the playing field in ‘Moving Mountains’, providing a special focus on Jen Peedom’s epic box-office success ‘Mountain’ and the international collaboration that made it work.

Tuesday also sees the return of AIDC’s Impact strand. Launched by a special keynote from Prash Naik, General Counsel of the Doc Society (BRITDOC), the strand will include a focus on ‘The Evolution of Impact’, with speakers including ‘War on Waste’s’ Commissioning Editor, Stephen Oliver (ABC), Good Pitch2 Australia’s Malinda Wink, and award-winning impact producer, Alex Kelly.

On Day Four, Wednesday March 7, the focus is on funding opportunities and Indigenous filmmaking. The day kicks off with Behind the BBC, where BBC’s Head of Documentary Commissioning, Clare Sillery, and BBC Storyville Commissioning Editor, Mandy Chang, talk about about what makes a successful and engaging documentary, in a world where the battle for eyeballs is fiercer than ever before. Wildbear’s Bettina Dalton joins commissioners Carolyn Payne (National Geographic) and Devina Cheema (CuriosityStream) to talk about the trials and joys of international co-productions and commissions in the aptly titled Long Distance Relationships. Delegates will then have an opportunity to hear from STAN’s Head of Originals, Rob Gibson, open up about future plans and goals for nonfiction content in a one-on-one conversation with SBS Commissioning Editor, Susie Jones, in ‘Meet the Man’ from STAN.

AIDC has also launched, in collaboration with Screenwest, Breaking Ground 1 and 2, two sessions focusing on Indigenous storytelling. AIDC welcomes inimitable filmmaker Trisha Morton-Thomas for an intimate in-conversation about the power of documentary to change individual and societal perceptions. This will be followed by a lunchtime breakout session for Indigenous storytellers to meet each other; and non-Indigenous delegates to hear from their First Peoples colleagues, to forge relationships and future collaborations.

Conference Director, Alice Burgin said, “Once a year, we as the doco and factual community have an opportunity to come together and share what we’ve seen, heard, and made. AIDC’s program is a combination of this, a chance for us to celebrate what we’ve achieved and inspire each other to keep reaching for the stars.”

Running alongside Sessions is the AIDC Marketplace with over 60 national and international Decision Makers attending, providing a range of pitching and networking opportunities for documentary producers and buyers. This includes facilitation of structured meetings and curated pitching via the ‘Cut to the Chase’ market program, roundtables (which open for sign-ups on midday Thursday the 8th of February), networking events, and The FACTory International Pitching Forum.

Presented by Film Victoria, The FACTory is the centrepiece of the AIDC Marketplace, providing an opportunity for selected producers to pitch their projects directly to top level international decision makers in a live event setting. In 2018, Wide Open Road coffee roasters, The Saturday Paper and AIDC are partnering to present the inaugural Unfinished Prize for Documentary. Valued at $50,000, the prize will be awarded to the best Australian project pitched at The FACTory International Pitching Forum.

AIDC’s VR marketplace, ‘Meet Your Maker’, presented by Jumpgate VR returns in 2018 as well as the ACCESS Early Career Mentorship Program, presented by Beach House Pictures. Providing exclusive mentorship sessions with leading local and international industry figures, filmmakers accepted into the program also have a chance to secure an internship with a professional production company.

In 2018, AIDC has introduced the ‘Leading Lights’ program which gives established screen media and production companies the chance to usher in the next generation of nonfiction screen content creators. A business can become a Leading Light by purchasing one (or more) All Access Pass or Conference Pass, to be provided to an early career filmmaker or factual content creator who has not attended AIDC before. 17 production companies, from the big end of town to small indies, have supported the program thus far.

2018 also sees the Trans-Tasman Story Pitch where New Zealand/Australian co-productions will participate in an open pitching session to a panel of Australia’s top broadcasting commissioners to secure Australian funding, and potentially access up to NZD $200,000 of matched funding from NZ On Air. Applications close Friday the 9th of February.



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