2021 AIDC Awards Nominees & Winners

We proudly acknowledge the support of our 2021 AIDC Awards partners DocPlay, Documentary Australia Foundation, AFTRS, Jumpgate & Deakin University.


Best Feature Documentary Nominees

The Australian Dream (Winner)
Good Thing Productions & Passion Pictures | 2019

The Australian Dream is a documentary that uses the remarkable and inspirational story of Indigenous AFL legend Adam Goodes as the prism through which to tell a deeper and more powerful story about race, identity and belonging. The film will unpick the events of the 2013-15 AFL seasons and ask fundamental questions about the nature of racism and discrimination in society today. Walkley award-winning writer Stan Grant and BAFTA award-winning director Daniel Gordon join forces to tell this remarkable story of one of the most decorated and celebrated players in AFL history. A man who remains a cultural hero; the very epitome of resilience and survival, who continues to fight for equality and reconciliation.

Director: Daniel Gordon



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Brazen Hussies
Film Camp | 2020

Brazen Hussies reveals for the first time, an exciting and revolutionary chapter in Australian history, the Women’s Liberation Movement (1965 -1975). Interweaving freshly uncovered archival footage, personal photographs, memorabilia and lively personal accounts from activists all around Australia, Brazen Hussies shows us how a daring and diverse group of women joined forces to defy the status quo, demand equality and create profound social change. These women defined one of the greatest social movements of the 20th Century, at times at great personal cost. This documentary is full of the raw energy and determination that fuelled feminism for the next 50 years.

Director: Catherine Dwyer, Producer: Philippa Campey, Andrea Foxworthy.


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The Leunig Fragments
Film Camp | 2019

With exclusive and intimate access to one of Australia’s National Living Treasures – Michael Leunig – this feature documentary entertains, engages and enlivens audiences with a revealing portrait of an enigmatic artist who just happens to be a household name.

With an anarchic, playful and life affirming heart, the film celebrates self- expression, friendship, life and death, and the power of the imagination to ignite, enrage, heal and inspire.

Filmed over five eventful years, we observe Michael grappling with life, art and mortality. The reflections of a man nearing the end of his life encompass the curious boy Leunig starting out; past present and future hopes and dreams collide in this intimate and moving portrait of one of Australia’s most prolific and intriguing artists.

Director: Kasimir Burgess, Producer: Philippa Campey

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Firestarter: The Bangarra Story
In Films | 2020

Marking Bangarra Dance Theatre’s 30th anniversary, Firestarter tells the story of how three young Aboriginal brothers — Stephen, David and Russell Page — took a newly born dance company and, alongside its founders and alumni, turned it into a First Nations cultural powerhouse. Through the eyes of the brothers, Firestarter explores the loss and reclaiming of culture, the burden of inter-generational trauma, and – crucially – the power of art as a messenger for social change and healing.

Director: Nel Minchin, Wayne Blair

Producer: Ivan O’Mahoney


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Best Documentary/Factual Series Nominees

Love on the Spectrum
Northern Pictures | 2019

‘Love on the Spectrum’ follows seven singles as they take their first steps into the world of dating. As well as help from their families, experts provide our love-seekers with practical skills to help them navigate what can be a confusing experience, giving them the confidence to begin their journey on the road to finding love.

We also follow couples who have found their match. Ruth and Thomas have been engaged for a year and a half, and Jimmy and Sharnae met each other three years ago. Their love stories are an inspiration to others.

This uplifting and insightful series celebrates diversity and difference, with participants who are warm, funny and generously open. It sets out to teach us all lessons of love, romance, intimacy and acceptance.

Series Director/Supervising Producer: Cian O’Clery

Series Producer: Jenni Wilks 

Executive Producer: Karina Holden

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Miriam Margolyes Almost Australian (Winner)
Southern Pictures | 2020

For Miriam Margolyes, becoming an Australian citizen six years ago at the age of 71, was “a day of supreme happiness and real joy”. But it also made her realise how little she knew about the place she could now call home – despite having come and gone from Australia for nearly 40 years. As Miriam sees it, she “lives in a silly little bubble of people who talk like me, and sound like me”. So the celebrated actor and Hollywood star is leaving the home she shares with her life partner, Heather, in the Southern Highlands of NSW – and embarking on a 10,000km, 2-month journey around the country to discover what it means to be an Australian today. This 3-part observational documentary series follows Miriam as she tests her assumptions against the people she meets and ventures far out of her comfort zone to dissect myth from reality – armed only with some wit, a little wisdom, a lot of chutzpah, and a lifetime of natural inquisitiveness. The result is a surprising, sometimes confronting, funny, unexpected, often joyous and utterly enlightening exploration of the Australian identity in the 21st century – as Miriam takes the pulse of the nation as we’ve never seen it before.

Series Director: Liz Allen

Series Producer: Ross Wilson 

Executive Producers: Laurie Critchley, Aline Jacques


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In Films | 2020

In a world television first, Revelation takes cameras into the criminal trials of notorious Catholic priests accused of sex crimes against children, revealing the secret lives and motivations of some of the most reviled men of modern times and the culture that protected them. Abuse was not a failure of the system. It was the system. 

Director: Nial Fulton, Sarah Ferguson, Producer: Nial Fulton



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Best Documentary/Factual Single Nominees

General Strike & Matchbox Pictures | 2020

FREEMAN is a cinematic portrait of a race that is still etched in our hearts and minds. Drawing on archival footage and a series of intimate conversations with Cathy Freeman, the film takes viewers on a journey through Cathy’s remarkable sporting career and the frenzied build-up to September 2000. Cathy’s fast-paced climb to the top of the world is mirrored by the rise of a people’s movement supporting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians as her story becomes the symbol of a much larger struggle for equality.

FREEMAN is the story of a nation coming together around an Indigenous female athlete who delivered when it mattered, on the greatest stage on earth. The film sheds light on one of Australia’s proudest moment and explores why, twenty years on, it still means so much to so many of us. In the context of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, it also poses the timely question: where to now?

Director: Laurence Billiet in collaboration with Stephen Page.

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Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky (Winner)
Tamarind Tree Pictures & Roar Film | 2020

A fresh, funny and provocative look at the Cook legend from a First Nations’ perspective. We debunk the myth Cook “discovered” Australia. Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky features a specially created songline that travels across the country. A songline for 21st century Australia – of spirituality, connection to country, resistance and survival. The weaver of the narrative is poet and performer – Steven Oliver. He carries the narrative thread as he travels the land interrogating Cook’s legacy, connecting the songline and unravelling Indigenous stories of the mysterious Cooky. In the year 2020, does Australia have a blurred history of Cook?

Director/Co-Writer: Steven McGregor, Co-Writer/Presenter: Steven Oliver, Producers Anna Grieve, Steve Thomas, Danielle MacLean, Kath Symmons.

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Maralinga Tjarutja
Blackfella Films | 2020

The Maralinga people have lived on their lands for over sixty thousand years. This deep relationship with their country was challenged by the arrival of a colonising force that lead to the institutionalisation of the Maralinga people in the Ooldea Mission in the 1920s. This attempt to dispossess was intensified as Maralinga land was used for the British Nuclear Test Program between 1953 and 1963. The Maralinga people never relinquished their connection to and responsibility for their country. They fought for the clean-up of the radioactive and other contamination, for compensation and for the handback in 2009 of the Maralinga Village and Test Sites. What has been achieved is a rebuilding of traditional communities into vibrant, creative cultural communities that will ensure Maralinga custodianship of their lands for the next sixty thousand years.

Director: Larissa Behrendt,  Producer: Darren Dale, Jacob Hickey

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Best Short-Form Documentary Nominees

The Fathering Project

Armadale is Perth’s most violent suburb. Children here are raised in fractured families, often navigating domestic violence, poverty, addiction and mental illness. This documentary follows a group of fathers seeking to break the cycle as they take part in Australia’s first national preventative program ‘The Fathering Project’. A unique program that supports men on their journey to be better fathers. Inspired by these men, Filmmaker Josh Lee decides to try and make peace with his own absent father.

Director: Joshua Lee

Producer: Joshua Lee, Alice Wolfe

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The Loop
Tallstoreez Productionz, Change Media | 2020

The Loop is an absurd journey into disability, authorship and representation. Two young directors, Johanis Lyons-Reid and Lorcan Hopper, one living with Down Syndrome, explore representations of normality by creating a hybrid documentary following the process of making their own soap opera. Heartfelt, hilarious and always unexpected, The Loop is a soap opera like no other.

Director: Johanis Lyons-Reid, Lorcan Hopper

Producer:  Carl Kuddell, Jen Lyons-Reid




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My Body Says (Winner)
Mama Bear Productions | 2020

A group of diverse people examine their bodies in front of a mirror to search for the stories and experiences that are documented in their flesh. In this act of physical and emotional unclothing, ‘My Body Says’ celebrates the body as the living, breathing, and ever-changing map of our lives.

Commissioned as part of the ABC’s ‘Your Mental Health’ week, ‘My Body Says’ is a cross-platform digital series from filmmaker Loani Arman, expanding on her short documentary of the same name. The series is available as both a 22 min ABC iView special and a short-form series on ABC socials.

Director/Producer: Loani Arman

Co-Producer: Danielle Redford

Executive Producer: Kim Vecera

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Electric Yak | 2019

Best mates, Shaun and Zac, fulfil a lifelong dream to create their own cricket team, despite financial and social struggles to get it up and running. But the pair struggled and fought, to motivate and keep their team of Aussie blokes in the game.

In stark contrast to the stereotypes that might normally depict Tasmania as a multicultural backwater, Shaun and Zac stood out as two young men open to change, embracing multiculturalism and completely unencumbered by any notions of racial differences, accepting all comers to their team as equals so long as they were committed to the team.

Director: Eliya Cohen

Producer: Paul Moran

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Best Audio Documentary Nominees

The Eleventh (Winner)
ABC Audio Studios | 2020

The Eleventh is a multi-episode blockbuster podcast from the ABC. It explores everything you never knew about one of the most famous chapters of Australian political history – the dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Incredibly, for a story that has been raked over for 40 years, host Alex Mann and The Eleventh’s investigative team still managed to uncover never-before-heard allegations, and key players who’d never spoken before. For 11 months the team worked tirelessly to make contact with the period’s central protagonists, its best storytellers, and its lesser-known players. This meticulous research phase provided the essential ingredients for an artful and gripping narrative that gave an old story new life. While the interviews with would-be Prime Minister John Howard, Whitlam and Frasers’ closest advisers, former New York Correspondent Ray Martin, former spies and a colourful property developer from Adelaide helped to uncover stories that had never been heard before. While the podcast is significant for what it uncovered, it is also significant for the way it was told. Using rare archival tape and intimate first-hand accounts The Eleventh brought to life the scandals and subplots that changed the nation forever. The Eleventh tells a story that Australia can’t afford to forget. Key personnel: Alex Mann – Host/Reporter, Tim Roxburgh – Supervising Producer, Ninah Kopel – Producer, Tim Jenkins – Sound Designer, Nikki Tugwell – Executive Producer.

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Trace: The Informer
ABC Audio News and Current Affairs | 2020

Trace; The Informer peels back the layers of the enigma that is Nicola Gobbo, asking why a barrister would risk her livelihood and life to feed the underworld’s secrets to police. It also scrutinises whether Victoria Police undermined the very law it was supposed to uphold. The world-exclusive interview involved Brown catching multiple fights to a secret location to record Gobbo’s story, while ensuring the interview didn’t leave bread crumbs for those wishing to find and harm her.
The propulsive narrative delicately balances meticulous investigation and compelling story-telling.
The rich soundscape uses whispers and bugged audio as instrumentation, and showcases independent Australian artists.

Host/Reporter: Rachael Brown & Josie Taylor

Supervising Producer: Tim Roxburgh

Sound Designer: Martin Peralta

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Unravel True Crime: Snowball
ABC Audio Studios | 2019

Ollie Wards’ brother married an American con artist. That life-changing encounter saw his fairly average Kiwi family lose everything. They never saw his brother’s charismatic Californian bride again. Until…

Ollie had been living in Australia for the decade since. There was so much to the family story he didn’t know. Things that no one knew. So when he went home to New Zealand to start asking questions, he took a microphone. In this seven part series, Ollie dives deep into a strange tale of love fraud and international trickery to find answers for his family. Our hero takes listeners on a journey with many fantastical twists and turns, following police leads, fraudulent bank statements and hacked emails. In a tense road trip across California, Ollie encounters an increasingly long list of victims whose experiences mirror what happened to his family. Then, finally, a compellingly confounding interview with the person who started it all. The story is unique… relatable while fantastical, funny yet sad, heartbreaking but ultimately a heart-warming tale of a family who survive a trauma by sticking together. Key personnel: Ollie Wards – Host/Reporter, Tim Roxburgh – Supervising Producer, Emma Lancaster – Producer, John Jacobs – Sound Designer, Ian Walker – Executive Producer.

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Best Interactive/Immersive Documentary Nominees

PHORIA | 2020

Explore the great savannahs of Kenya, discover the ancient jungles of Borneo and dive into the rich coral reefs of Raja Ampat. Encounter elephants, orangutans, manta rays and some incredible humans, all in stunning cinematic footage filmed from the air and deep into the ocean.

‘ecosphere’ sets out to redefine the limits of 3D-180 cameras, natural history storytelling and conservation filmmaking. Travel to nature’s most fragile and diverse ecosystems, where indigenous and community-led efforts are creating space for humanity and wildlife to thrive together.

Creator: Joseph Purdam


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Mt Resilience (Winner)
PHORIA & ABC | 2020

Explore Mt Resilience and discover how residents survive and adapt to extreme weather in augmented reality (AR). Narrated by award-winning actress, Ursula Yovich & ABC meterologist Nate Byrne, get close to the action and witness how the community responds to bushfires and severe storms. The highly detailed 3D model of a regional town visualises climate and disaster preparedness concepts with help from CSIRO, BOM, and 35 of Australia’s leading experts. Discover audio stories from first hand survivors, and how Mt Resilience thrives on innovation, Indigenous knowledge and community spirit.

Director/Writer: Emma Morris. Created in partnership with CSIRO & BOM.

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Story Line
The Feed & SBS Creative Labs | 2020

When the world went into lockdown, The Feed set up a phone line to receive voice memos from all over Australia. This is the story of COVID-19, as told by you.

Creator: Mike Clay, Rebecca Metcalf, John-Paul Marin



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Stanley Hawes Award Winner

Michaela Perske
Producer | Pursekey Productions

Michaela Perske is a Walkley award winning journalist and producer who has been involved in journalism, documentary and production for over 20years. Her feature documentaries include Footy Chicks, Boxing for Palm Island, 88, Destination Arnold, Black Divaz and After the Apology. Her latest feature documentary Girls Can’t Surf was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival and will premiere at the Sydney Festival in 2021. She has been the Executive Producer on Embedded, Servant or Slave, Melon Grab and Dream Baby. Her work has screened on ABC, SBS, BBC, CBC, PBS, The Guardian and has appeared at multiple local and international film festivals including Sydney Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Tribeca International Film Festival, Margaret Mead and Adelaide Film Festival. Her company – Pursekey Productions- has been a leading independent production company with a reputation for fostering new talent and telling bold, innovative, unique and socially conscious stories.

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