FEATURING OVER 70 SPEAKERS, INCLUDING OSCAR®-NOMINATED FILMMAKERS MSTYSLAV CHERNOV AND KAOUTHER BEN HANIA, LUKE LORENTZEN, AND INDUSTRY POWERHOUSES RACHEL PERKINS, R.J. CUTLER AND TREVOR SMITH + MORE
The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) today announces the full program for its 2024 event – including over 40 sessions, more than 70 speakers and 100-plus industry decision makers – taking place in-person at ACMI in Melbourne / Naarm, from 3-6 March 2024 with an online-only international marketplace 7-8 March 2024.
Inspired by the theme Frontlines: Shaping the Future of Documentary & Factual, the program features talent working at the cutting edge of every facet of documentary and factual, including Oscar®-nominated and Oscar®-winning filmmakers, groundbreaking Australian and international storytellers, and some of the industry’s most successful business insiders.
Leading AIDC’s Spotlight speaker line-up are award-winning director and nonfiction pioneer R.J. Cutler and his long-time producer partner Trevor Smith of This Machine Filmworks, the creative team behind hit documentaries like The September Issue, Big Vape: The Rise & Fall of Juul, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, Listen to Me Marlon, Belushi, and The World According to Dick Cheney.
Joining them on the Spotlight sessions bill is writer, director and producer, Rachel Perkins, one of Australia’s most significant storytellers and founder of Blackfella Films, responsible for landmark documentary series First Australians and The Australian Wars; and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, filmmaker and war correspondent Mstyslav Chernov, director of the multi-award-winning and 2024 Oscar®-nominated documentary 20 Days in Mariupol.
Other highlights include Spotlight sessions with Kaouther Ben Hania, Tunisian director of the 2024 Oscar®-nominated and 2023 Cannes Film Festival Best Documentary winner Four Daughters; and Luke Lorentzen (Midnight Family) and Ashleigh McArthur, director and co-producer/additional editor respectively of the 2024 Oscar®-shortlisted A Still Small Voice.
Plus, further Spotlight sessions include an expert deep-dive into factual business with Shaminder Nahal, Head of Specialist Factual at the UK’s Channel 4, commissioning and working across titles like The Piano, SAS: Who Dares Wins, and Depp v. Heard; and a focus on the art of documentary score composition with Nainita Desai, multi-award-winning composer and sound designer for acclaimed nonfiction titles including the Critics Choice Award-winning The Deepest Breath, the Oscar®-nominated and Cannes-winning For Sama, the Sundance Audience Award-winning The Reason I Jump, and the Emmy-nominated Body Parts.
On the marketplace front, AIDC 2024 will see participation by an extensive line-up of decision makers from global streamers, including Amazon Prime Video, Stan, Hulu, DocPlay, ESPN and Docsville. Plus, representatives from local and international broadcasters, such as National Geographic, Channel 4, BBC Storyville, ARTE G.E.I.E, PBS, POV, CBC, Sky New Zealand, NHK Enterprises, DW, EBS Korea, TRT World, ABC, SBS and NITV. Not to mention studios, distributors and producer-distributors for some of the world’s most interesting documentaries and releases, including TIME Studios, Red Bull Studios, Sandbox Films, Autlook Filmsales, TVF International, BossaNova, Abacus Media Rights, MetFilm Sales and many others.
For those seeking new pathways to funding and financing, AIDC 2024 will also host an array of representatives from leading documentary development funds and foundations, like the International Documentary Association (IDA), Impact Partners, Catapult Film Fund, The Whickers, Participant, International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA), Documentary Australia, Doc Society, Shark Island Foundation and more.
And as a result of a suite of exciting industry initiatives and partnerships, including pitch partners Screen Australia, Shark Island Foundation and The Post Lounge; Awards partners AFTRS, Deakin Motion Lab and Film Finances; FACTory pitch prize partners; and Leading Lights industry donors, AIDC 2024 will unlock over $275,000 in project development, awards, prizes and professional development opportunities for new nonfiction content and support for documentary practitioners.
For a quick look at what’s in store, head to:
KAOUTHER BEN HANIA
Through its central theme – Frontlines: Shaping The Future of Documentary & Factual – AIDC 2024 will highlight the integrity, urgency, and creative potential of nonfiction storytelling.
This year, we explore how creators, industry leaders and advocates are actively shaping what’s to come, while also defending against challenges to the very foundations of practice.
Turning our lens to the Frontlines allows us to see how practitioners strive to secure the future of the sector, ensure its sustainability, and pave the way for unique, bold and engaging nonfiction stories.
The conference will explore the following subthemes through Spotlight sessions, industry panels, screenings and initiatives: Edge of Reality (innovation, new technologies and future visions); Courage of Conviction (frontline storytelling, impact and changemaking); Future of Truth (authenticity, integrity and truth-telling); Persistence of Vision (craft, creative nonfiction and experimentation in form); Depth of Field (access, inclusion and representation); and State of Play (policy change, sector reform and sustainability).
“In a time of radical change – where the rise of each dawn poses new challenges and possibilities in the pursuit of truth and courageous and authentic representations of the world around us – documentary and factual storytelling has never been more vital,” said Natasha Gadd, CEO / Creative Director, AIDC.
“At AIDC 2024 we are framing the frontlines of our sector as both a site of progress and resistance where we shape what’s to come and defend what has come before. We are thrilled to announce such a world-class program of speakers, sessions and screenings for the 2024 program, all of which are guaranteed to challenge, celebrate and inspire. Joined by an incredible lineup of local and international decision makers as part of the industry program, AIDC 2024 is set to drive new creative and business outcomes, and pave the way for the sustainability, recovery and growth of our industry.”
Caroline Pitcher, CEO, VicScreen said, “AIDC is back in 2024 with another electric program jam-packed with panels featuring world-renowned talent, unmissable screenings, and a bustling industry marketplace. VicScreen is proud to continue our long-standing partnership with the conference, supporting vital business and development opportunities for both local and international filmmakers.”
Seb Chan, Director & CEO, ACMI, said, “We can’t wait to welcome AIDC delegates back to Australia’s museum of screen culture! As a hub for connecting people, communities, technology and ideas, ACMI is proud to be the continuing home for non-fiction storytellers to come together to discuss the future of documentary and factual. Our state-of-the-art facilities and technical expertise will be showcased across four days of the conference, backed by a film program of extraordinary non-fiction stories at ACMI cinemas.”
Natasha Gadd, CEO / Creative Director, AIDC
Caroline Pitcher, CEO, VicScreen
Seb Chan, Director & CEO, ACMI
Mstyslav Chernov: Standing Ground
Explore the perils and possibilities of frontline filmmaking with the director of 20 Days in Mariupol, Mstyslav Chernov, whose on-the-ground footage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine became his 2024 Oscar®-nominated debut feature. [Learn More]
The Cutting Edge with This Machine’s R.J. Cutler and Trevor Smith
Join prolific industry stalwarts R.J. Cutler and Trevor Smith (Big Vape; Billie Eilish; Belushi) in this sweeping keynote, as they provide insight into producing compelling documentary features and series. [Learn More]
Rachel Perkins: Truth to Power
Join us for an unmissable spotlight session with one of Australia’s most accomplished filmmakers, Rachel Perkins, director of trailblazing series The Australian Wars and First Australians and co-founder of Blackfella Films. [Learn More]
The Future of Factual with Shaminder Nahal
Channel 4’s Head of Specialist Factual, Shaminder Nahal, brings her wealth of experience to the Australian stage. With audience habits constantly evolving, we ask: what does the future hold for factual storytelling? [Learn More]
Reconstructing Memory with Kaouther Ben Hania
Join 2024 Oscar®-nominated director Kaouther Ben Hania for an in-depth exploration of her creative approach to fact, memory and reconstruction in the daring hybrid documentary, Four Daughters. [Learn More]
The Art of Composing for Documentary with Nainita Desai
Nainita Desai is behind the scores of numerous documentaries, including the Oscar®-nominated For Sama. The award-winning composer offers insights into her artistry, and the unique power of score in documentary filmmaking. [Learn More]
Editing the Extraordinary with Luke Lorentzen and Ashleigh McArthur
A Still Small Voice is the Oscar®-shortlisted latest from Luke Lorentzen (Midnight Family). Join Lorentzen and producer/co-editor Ashleigh McArthur as they reveal their process of editing profoundly intimate stories. [Learn More]
20 Days in Mariupol, Dir. Mstyslav Chernov
Four Daughters, Dir. Kaouther Ben Hania
A Still Small Voice, Dir. Luke Lorentzen
OTHER SESSION HIGHLIGHTS
In addition to AIDC 2024’s Spotlight Sessions, the program includes an array of inspiring local and international guests, with sessions devoted to business, innovation, craft and more, each linked by the 2024 conference sub-themes.
EDGE OF REALITY SESSIONS
Brave New World: Documentary and Artificial Intelligence
With the rise of AI we are at an irrevocable turning point. Join a stellar panel of industry representatives – including Another Body co-director Sophie Compton – as they probe the power and perils of AI in the nonfiction sector. [Learn More]
Embodied Realities in VR
Immersive artist Ben Joseph Andrews delves into his innovative experiential practice, exploring the ways XR technologies act as a reflexive lens through which to understand and express his own experiences of disabled embodiment. [Learn More]
COURAGE OF CONVICTION SESSIONS
Dispatches from the Frontlines: Filmmaker Safety and Wellbeing
Documenting the complexities of real world experiences places an enormous toll on nonfiction creators. This session explores the associated risks and, importantly, the strategies and support structures for how to mitigate them. [Learn More]
Sonic Boom: Crafting an Audio Documentary with Marc Fennell
Marc Fennell leads a vibrant panel of podcasters who are innovating in the audio nonfiction space, and finding new ways to tell stories that captivate listeners.
DEPTH OF FIELD SESSIONS
All Aboard: Access and Inclusion with Bus Stop Films
An exploration of inclusive filmmaking in practice, helmed by Bus Stop Films CEO Tracey Corbin-Matchett OAM, and featuring the teams behind Rewards for the Tribe and This is Going to be Big. [Learn More]
Breaking Boundaries: Pushing Form in Nonfiction
How can we work to tackle tropes in nonfiction, particularly around darker subject matter – to allow pride and defiance to shine? Pat Abboud leads this timely conversation with fellow genre-bending storytellers. [Learn More]
PERSISTENCE OF VISION SESSIONS
Turn up the Volume: the Rise of the Music Biography
In this electric session, creators of music documentaries making noise on the global stage share insights into crafting the biggest hits of the last year, including EGO, Finding the Voice and OneFour. [Learn More]
You Can(’t) Clear That! A Deep Dive into Archive Clearances
A panel of leading archive experts answer all your burning questions about clearances, copyright and fair use for your documentary and factual projects. [Learn More]
STATE OF PLAY SESSIONS
Pathways to Audience: the Current Landscape of Documentary Distribution
Experts from Film Art Media, Madman Entertainment, Sundance Film Festival and Autlook Film Sales provide insights into pathways to audience for the ever-evolving landscape of documentary distribution. [Learn More]
The French Connection: Australia x France
A panel of esteemed French buyers representing Sunnyside of the Doc, ARTE G.E.I.E and Mediwan provide a platform for Australian producers to learn how to collaborate with the French market. [Learn More]
Global Connect: Meet the Internationals
Hear from some of AIDC’s international guest decision makers as they reveal what they are looking for from Australian projects and how to cut through a crowded landscape to reach global audiences. [Learn More]
The Collaborative Dynamics of International Co-Production
As part of our French Focus, this session delves into the collaborative dynamics of co-productions with leading production companies SAM Content and ZED. [Learn More]
State of Play: Policy and Advocacy
The Australian documentary sector is at a crossroads, with new streaming platform regulation coming into play in 2024. With increasing challenges to financing documentaries and securing commissions, we look at the current policy and advocacy work being done to ensure the sustainability of documentary production. [Learn More]
FUTURE OF TRUTH SESSIONS
First Nations Co-Creation, Collaboration and Truthtelling
A stellar panel representing diverse First Nations perspectives – including GARUWA co-founders and collaborators – explore the ways in which the wider documentary sector can learn from First Nations knowledges. [Learn More]
These and many more sessions sit alongside themed meet-ups for networking and our informal yet ever-informative industry upskill sessions with industry partners like Getty Images, Screenrights, and 21-19.
To explore the full session program, visit the SESSIONS page.
AIDC SESSION | Brave New World: Documentary and Artificial Intelligence
AIDC SESSION | Dispatches from the Frontlines: Filmmaker Safety and Wellbeing
AIDC SESSION | All Aboard: Access and Inclusion with Bus Stop Films
AIDC SESSION | Breaking Boundaries: Pushing Form in Nonfiction
AIDC SESSION | Global Connect: Meet the Internationals
AIDC SESSION | Turn up the Volume: the Rise of the Music Biography
AIDC SESSION | First Nations Co-Creation, Collaboration and Storytelling
In addition to its wide-ranging program of sessions, AIDC also continues to be the must-attend marketplace for documentary and factual projects with a formidable contingent of decision makers taking part in the 2024 event.
More than 90 decision makers from around the world will be looking for new projects to support and content to commission, including representatives from broadcasters, distributors, festivals, publishers and markets, like Sundance Film Festival, IDFA, DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festivals, The Guardian, The New York Times Op-Docs, Condé Nast, Points North Institute, Sideways Film, New Docs, LiSTNR Original Podcasts and many more.
AIDC producer delegates can meet these decision makers through the Cut to the Chase curated pitch meetings program, which has a deadline for project submissions of Sunday 28 January 2024.
AIDC’s marketplace centrepiece, The FACTory International Pitching Showcase, presented by VicScreen, also returns, with 15 in-development and unreleased national and international projects participating in live pitches at The Edge (Fed Square) and ACMI during AIDC 2024.
This year, AIDC debuts The Showroom, a unique new marketplace opportunity for established Australian production companies. The Showroom allows up to 10 participating companies to have extended in-person meetings with high-level buyers representing international organisations attending AIDC to pitch multiple projects in their pipeline.
Plus, three of AIDC’s most exciting marketplace programs return – the Fresh Cuts Documentary Pitch (presented by Screen Australia), with five projects aimed at young adult audiences vying for up to $30,000 in development funding per project – the Shark Island Feature Foundation Feature Docs Pitch, with projects that have the potential to inspire social change pitching for a share in up to $100,000 in development grants – and the Post Lounge Doc Pitch, supporting standout projects with up to $30,000 worth of development investment through post-production.
SHARK ISLAND FOUNDATION FEATURE DOCS PITCH
AIDC INITIATIVES & AWARDS
AIDC 2024 sees the return of a number of popular initiatives and programs, including:
- Innovation Day, presented by VicScreen, exploring the conference sub-theme of Edge of Reality on Sunday 3 March with a full day devoted to non-traditional documentary storytelling, innovation, regeneration and potential futures for the sector. AIDC’s Doc.Lab.Interact storytelling lab, hosted by award-winning interactive artists Ben Joseph Andrews and Emma Roberts, will also return as part of the day.
- AIDC’s Indigenous Creators Program, a strand of sessions by and for First Nations documentary and factual practitioners, providing new opportunities to upskill, network, and pitch market-ready projects to decision makers seeking Indigenous-led stories
- The Leading Lights Program, now in its seventh year, brings new learning, networking and pitching opportunities to emerging and early-career, Indigenous and First Nations, LGBTQIA+, d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse, regional and remote, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) practitioners. Presented by AFTRS in collaboration with Edith Cowan University (ECU), with access and inclusion support provided by Bus Stop Films.
This year’s conference will have a special French Focus, featuring sessions on collaboration and co-production, and the participation of French decision makers representing markets, production, and broadcasters, presented by the Embassy of France in Australia.
Plus, AIDC 2024 will see the presentation of the prestigious 4th annual AIDC Awards celebrating outstanding achievement in Australian documentary and factual, and the debut of the AIDC Southern Light Award, for outstanding contribution to nonfiction screen, digital and/or audio media, in a special celebration on 6 March 2024 at ACMI.
DOCUMENTED SCREENING PROGRAM
AIDC and ACMI will once again join forces for public screening program Documented, featuring documentary works associated with AIDC 2024 guests.
The first two screenings announced are the Victorian premiere of Mstyslav Chernov’s Oscar®-shortlisted 20 Days in Mariupol, and the Berlin Film Festival award-winner Marungka tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) featuring an extended Q&A with creators Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne.
The remaining films in the Documented public screening program will be announced soon.
Marungka tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black)
SEE YOU AT AIDC 2024
AIDC would like to thank this year’s Advisory Committee and our many industry partners – particularly VicScreen, ACMI, Screen Australia, ABC and SBS – without whom this year’s event would not be possible.
Registration for AIDC 2024 is open now, with Business, All Access, Sessions, and Day Pass types available, opening up AIDC’s many opportunities to practitioners of all experience levels.
AIDC 2023 will run 3-6 March 2024 at ACMI, Melbourne / Naarm, with an online international marketplace 7-8 March 2024.
Main Image: Four Daughters (The Party Film Sales, 2023)