New Perspectives Pitch Lab: 2021 recipients

Five teams chosen with non-fiction projects addressing key justice issues in the community.

Projects and participants have been announced for the second New Perspectives Pitch Lab -including both film and television projects.

The training initiative for emerging non-fiction talent with a social impact project in development or production, is an initiative of the Australian Film Television and Radio School, Doc Society and the Australian International Documentary Conference, in partnership with Screen NSW.

Head of Screen NSW, Grainne Brunsdon, said, “Screen NSW is once again delighted to be involved in Pitch Lab which will see deeper development and mentorship of compelling and overlooked or lesser-known stories. We know this intensive experience is of immense value to all the teams that participate. The five successful teams chosen for the 2021 New Perspectives Pitch Lab initiative all demonstrate diverse storytelling styles, flair and imagination. We look forward to seeing how their stories develop and prepare to become factual records of events and people’s experiences and also have the potential to accelerate social and policy change.”

AFTRS Head of Documentary, Richard Welch, said, “AFTRS is excited about the second year of New Perspectives Pitch Lab. Working alongside our partners Doc Society, AIDC and Screen NSW, the initiative provides crucial industry development and mentoring labs for the five ambitious projects selected and represent the rich diversity of stories in Australia”.

CEO/Creative Director Natasha Gadd said, “AIDC is proud to be involved in the New Perspectives Lab to support such a stellar lineup of talent and new voices. We look forward to welcoming one of these pitching teams to AIDC in 2022”

Malinda Wink, Global Director, Good Pitch, on behalf of Doc Society, said, “We can’t wait to roll our sleeves up and work with the five teams selected for this year’s Pitch Lab. The selected projects reflect a broad canvas of amazing characters and stories that illuminate key justice issues in our community.”

The selected projects are:

Feature documentary Wave Riding: The Ancient Sport of Oceania shares a different side to surf culture not traditionally seen in mainstream media. Taking a view into Pacific Island culture and the early roots of modern surf, this documentary explores Pacific communities and their connection to the ocean. Queensland based director Dinah Lewis Boucher is an Australian based journalist and writer of Samoan heritage. She has a journalism degree with first-class honours, and following a love for storytelling, is currently completing a Master in Screen Production from Griffith University. Most recently, she was awarded a Pacifika Journalism fellowship by Nia Tero, a US organisation that advocates for Indigenous voices around the globe. NSW-based producer Eliorah Malifa is a Samoan producer with deep ties to Pacific communities in Australia and New Zealand. She is currently completing a PhD from the Australian National University and her research focuses on the development of a sustainable screen industry in the Pacific. Eliorah works in Screen Cultures with ICE and is Co-Director of Pasifika Film Fest. Through these connections, Eliorah has contributed to the creation of Pacific Noir, an incubator program assisting Pacific-lead projects through story development.

Our Country is a landmark First Nations-led documentary series exploring what Country means and what’s required to protect it, by revealing the extraordinary yet endangered wonders of the natural world. Founded on First Nations’ knowledge systems and philosophies, this series celebrates a love for and connection with Country as the way towards a better future. Series creator/writer and host Lille Madden is a proud Arrernte, Bundjalung and Kalkadoon woman from Gadigal Country. She is a passionate conservationist, storyteller, and young climate leader. Producer Yale McGillivray is a proud Kalkatungu and Australian South Sea Islander woman who has worked as a Junior Executive Producer across ABC Entertainment and Comedy, and as a digital producer for ABC Regional & Local, Foreign Correspondent, and most recently ABC Indigenous.

Feature documentary Queen to Councillor is about Darwin’s famous ‘Laksa Queen’, Amye Un, who has finally achieved a lifetime goal to move from cooking laksa into politics. Producer Sarah Price has a 20+ year career providing marketing management, event production and consulting services to creative businesses. She also has broad governance experience, sitting on the boards of many of the Northern Territory’s peak creative organisations and co-founded the Northern Territory’s only dedicated casting business, Castaway NT, three years ago. Sarah is currently completing a Master of Arts Screen: Business at AFTRS. Caro Macdonald is a Darwin-based director/DOP and a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts Film & Television school, with an interest in strong character-based stories. Caro recently shot and directed the half-hour documentary Amye Number 1! (about Amye Lin) for international broadcast on Al Jazeera’s Witness program. Other recent works include the virtual reality film Storm Dog and The Northerners, both climate-fiction shorts screening at the Darwin International Film Festival. Caro also has a background in, and works, as an anthropologist.

Joy is a feature documentary that begins 36 years ago with the unravelling of a middle-class family and ends in a tragic family homicide. It is told from the unique perspective of the daughter, Kathryn Joy, who grew up in Lismore, NSW with her father, unaware that he killed her mother. It grapples with big dilemmas like how does one reconcile the love they have for their only living parent who is capable of both genuine kindness and killing; and a legal system that decided it was in their best interests to be raised by that same person. Director/cinematographer Vincent Lamberti holds post-graduate diplomas in Film & TV from VCAM and cinematography from AFTRS. As a director, his ABC documentary Intervention, produced in collaboration with the Aboriginal town-camp communities, won the DAF Award for Best Australian Documentary. His community filmmaking programs have spawned broadcast and festival shorts such as the award-winning comedy Bus Stop. As a cinematographer and shooter-director he has worked on numerous theatrical and broadcast documentaries such as Addicted Australia, Filthy Rich & Homeless, The Opposition, The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone and China’s Artful Dissident. Victorian Producer Lisa Albert has a degree in anthropology and a background in strategic and community development. For two decades, she has assisted community lead initiatives in marginalised communities spanning across several states, assisting in establishing the first community run traditional healing centre in Alice Springs, Akeyulerre Inc. At a state and national level, she provided strategic support to the Victorian Social and Emotional Wellbeing workforce and executive produced a national health campaign led by 45 First Nations radio and film media outlets.

Catching Crooks is a true crime feature documentary based on a podcast, Narelle Fraser Investigates. Narelle Fraser is Australia’s favourite detective. She has legions of fans worldwide due to her podcast which demonstrates her empathy and her struggle with PTSD after leading cases on some of our country’s most heinous crimes.

Director Claire Pasvolsky has just completed the documentary short Big Sky Girls, about young women in regional and remote Australia who wish to make a career in the music industry as the storytellers of their communities. Producer Steve Pasvolsky’s short drama INJA, which he wrote and directed whilst a student at AFTRS, was nominated for an Academy Award™ in 2003. Since graduating, he’s written, directed and produced a broad range of documentaries for National Geographic, Discovery and the ABC as well as a narrative feature for Universal Pictures. He is currently in post-production on the feature documentary Nature’s Hidden Economy and the Newcastle-based team are currently in post-production on the drama feature film, Three Chords & the Truth.

AIDC is Australia’s premier event committed to supporting and elevating nonfiction storytelling across film, television, streaming and digital media. The next AIDC will take place 6 – 9 March 2022 at ACMI, Melbourne and simultaneously online, with an online international marketplace to follow 10 – 11 March 2022.

The New Perspectives Pitch Lab encouraged applications from storytellers with projects that offer a rare insight into the under-represented and overlooked; stories from those who see more than what’s shown in the common zeitgeist; stories that break barriers and explore nuance over polarity. The Pitch Lab consists of seven online coaching and development sessions and an online pitch event with mentors including Malinda Wink, Global Director of Good Pitch, Doc Society, and Screen NSW Investment Manager Andrea Ulbrick. The sessions begin this week. Participants develop their project pitch in group and individual sessions and pitch to an industry panel for feedback. The focus on the pitch training is to support participants to develop strategies and pathways for non-traditional access to audience and finance for projects that have potential for an impact campaign.

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