Shark Island Institute Announces Six Documentary Projects

Shark Island Institute has selected six new Australian documentary projects to participate in the recently announced Shark Island Story Development and Impact Lab, the first of a series of Labs designed to strengthen the skills of Australian documentary filmmakers. Each project, a social impact documentary feature currently in development, will receive up to $25,000 in development funding and intensive international and local mentorship over a 12-month period.

THE LABS, a new initiative by Shark Island Institute, represents a continuation of founder Ian Darling’s long-term strategic investment in documentary storytelling in Australia – including the establishment of Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF) in 2008 and Good Pitch Australia in 2014. Good Pitch Australia raised more than $15 million in philanthropic grants for the selected 19 social impact documentaries and their impact campaigns.

For the Story Development and Impact Lab, the team from Shark Island Institute have collaborated with international mentors and leaders in documentary including Kristin Feeley (Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program), Jenny Raskin (Impact Partners NYC) and Academy Award winning writer Mark Monroe (Diamond Docs), for the first residential workshop in August.

Executive Director of Shark Island Institute, Malinda Wink says: “Following on from our success at Good Pitch Australia, we’re inspired by the combination of story-telling talent and projects selected for our inaugural labs. Each promises to investigate the most pressing issues of our time that inform who we are and the path we have set as a country.”

Kristin Feeley, Director of Labs and Artist Support Programs for the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program (DFP) says “Sundance believes that art can change the way we reach people so I’m excited to work with this carefully selected group of six teams who are championing under represented voices and offering new perspectives. I feel honoured to return to Australia to work with the Shark Island team as a mentor.”

The first six projects selected in 2018 are:


As the South Sudanese community in the western suburbs of Melbourne faces a media storm with reports of gang violence, their elders decried as incompetent, young South Sudanese leader and filmmaker Ez Eldin Deng has a plan. Armed with a camera and teamed up with collaborator and documentary filmmaker, Hollie Fifer, this film will challenge the stereotypes and reveal a version of his community not often heard or seen in mainstream media.

Co-Directors: Ez Eldin Deng and Hollie Fifer; Producer: Philippa Campey


We embark on the extraordinary life story of Carbon, the most talked about but least understood element on earth. Through an epic sensory cinematic adventure through time and place we reveal that Carbon’s story is not just about a warming climate, devastated oceans and whether or not we should put a tax on it. The story of Carbon is the essential story of us.

Director/Writer: Daniella Ortega; Executive Producer: Sonya Pemberton


Christiaan Van Vuuren’s apathetic life detours the day he discovers a Government plan to relax Australian gun laws. With two kids (and a reasonable desire they not be shot at school), this becomes an exploration of hyper-capitalism, political donations and lobbying against gun control, by a comedian who’s fed-up with a political system that prioritises corporations over the people it’s supposed to protect.

Co-Director/Writer: Christiaan Van Vuuren; Producer: Dave Cain;

Executive Producers: Jason Burrows and Jen Peedom


Thousands of young offenders will walk out of juvenile detention centres across Australia this year. According to the statistics, more than 6 in 10 will return. ‘Life After Juvie’ is an observational documentary that explores the challenges faced by young people after their release, exploring what separates those who are able to break the cycle, from those who remain locked in the criminal justice system.

Director/Producer: Charby Ibrahim


Across Australia, the nation’s colonial founders stand memorialised in stone but the atrocities of colonisation do not. Laura Murphy-Oates confronts the deeply contested stories behind our public monuments and explores how a truthful reckoning with the past can bring the nation together rather than tear it apart.

Co-Directors: Laura Murphy-Oates and Rani Chaleyer; Co-Producer: Teri Calder


Mass surveillance, data collection and artificial intelligence are abstract but all pervasive realities of our lives. But how do you make the unseen accountable? This film is a part human, part artificial intelligence driven journey into the visualisations of one of the world’s leading contemporary artists as he battles to reveal the unseen forces shaping our lives and futures.

Director/Producer: Yaara Bou Melhem; Impact Producer: Georgia Quinn

Selected teams receive ongoing mentoring and support through two, five-day intensive residential Story Development and Impact Labs in Kangaroo Valley, one-on-one meetings and industry sessions. These particular Labs are designed to hone the teams’ skills as independent story-tellers and enhance their social impact skills as filmmakers.

The Shark Island Story Development and Impact Lab is designed for feature documentary projects that are in early stage story development. The Shark Island Institute team, headed by documentary filmmaker Ian Darling and Executive Director of Shark Island Institute, Malinda Wink, is committed to the discovery, development and support of Australian filmmakers. The Shark Island Institute will work with each team to optimise both distribution and potential for social impact for each project.



Manage your own ads on this web site. For more, click the button below.