AIDC 2018 : Energy, Enthusiasm & Confidence

8 March 2018

The 2018 Australian International Documentary Conference has wrapped in Melbourne having attracted 679 delegates, speakers and industry decision makers from 15 different nations. The capacity gathering of the documentary and nonfiction screen sector was held across 4 days, 4 -7 March, at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne.

AIDC 2018 saw the established industry meet the next generation of factual content creatives, with early-career practitioners making up 28% of attendees, and 44% of delegates attending for the first time. And for the third year in a row the Conference reflected the documentary sector’s high involvement by female practitioners, with women making up 58% of attendees.

New marketplace initiatives devised especially for the conference paid real dividends. 199 documentary and factual projects were presented in AIDC’s new one-on-one pitching program, Cut to the Chase [pictured*], resulting in more than 315 curated meetings and 25 Roundtables between filmmakers and reps from companies like Arte France, the BBC, Sideways Film, Dogwoof, PBS, National Geographic and more.

Australia’s first-ever factual Virtual Reality /interactive marketplace, VR Plus: Meet Your Maker [pictured**] expanded AIDC’s market offering in unique ways, bringing organisations like Google News Lab, Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes, and the NGV to the table to meet with local factual VR creators. The VR Plus Program also saw a $5,000 commission offered to VR project Petrichor (Ben Andrews and Emma Roberts) by Greenpeace for a work about climate change.

Conference highlights included a sell-out screening of Casting JonBenet featuring a live Q&A with director Kitty Green - who also spoke on the popular session panel Beyond Broadcast & Cinema, which looked at working with streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon, and an eclectic panel on ethics in documentary, Trust Me I’m a Filmmaker [pictured - Kitty Green & Trisha Morton-Thomas**].

The masterclass session Errol Morris’ Wormwood … like making 3 films at once, with long-term Errol Morris collaborator Robert Fernandez [pictured, with Anna Jeffries**] also proved wildly popular, as did the editing masterclass Cutting It Fine with Laura Poitras’ editor, Erin Casper

Further session highlights came in the form of a lively pitching masterclass, Bitching at Pitching by the Mischief Sisters [pictured**]; an even livelier Trans-Tasman Story Pitch with four projects competing for $200k in matched funding, and a full capacity Impact Strategy Hack session for the new documentary Brazen Hussies.

AIDC Delegates also enjoyed a huge Opening Night Party, featuring a warm Welcome to Country by Indigenous actor Uncle Jack Charles [pictured*], and live music from Indigenous neo-soul-electronic band Electric Fields. 

The second night of the Conference then saw delegates take over the NGV Garden and Triennial Exhibition [pictured***] for a private walk-through, while the Closing Night Happy Hour saw the announcement of the winners of a number of new partnered prizes and incentives.

Awarded to the Best Pitch in AIDC’s FACTory International Pitching Forum, the inaugural Unfinished Prize for Documentary was given to project Lay My Body Down (Ghost Pictures), Directed by Lynn-Maree Milburn and pitched by Producer Richard Lowenstein [pictured**] – about singer Chrissy Amphlett and band the Divinyls – with prize partners Wide Open Road Coffee and The Saturday Paper providing $10,000 cash and $40,000 in film advertising.  

From the remaining 7 Australian and 4 international FACTory projects, New Zealand film There’s No I in Threesome (Monsoon Pictures, pictured), was awarded the Hot Docs Pitch Prize of an All Access Pass to Canada’s Hot Docs 2018 Industry program by AIDC guest and TIFF/Hot Docs programmer Dorota Lech.

The winners of AIDC’s annual ACCESS Early Career Mentorship program were also announced, with Loani Arman (QLD) [pictured - L**] selected for a paid internship with program partner Beach House Pictures in Singapore. A second ACCESS participant, Tressa Ponnor (NSW) [pictured - R**] received an expenses-paid trip to the UK’s Sheffield Doc\Fest to explore the UK documentary marketplace.

Another new initiative for 2018, the Leading Lights Fund, saw 17 leading Australian screen companies fund the cost of 26 passes to the Conference for emerging filmmakers and first-time attendees.

“AIDC 2018 has been one of energy, enthusiasm and confidence in the future. It’s been wonderful to see so many new and young delegates interacting with their industry peers,” said AIDC Conference Director Alice Burgin [pictured*].

“We would like to congratulate the winning projects and individuals who were awarded prizes throughout the conference, and also want to recognise the strength of ideas we saw this year from the documentary and factual sector right across into other non-traditional media forms. With so many high-quality projects in the marketplace, 2018 has shown us all that the Australian documentary sector is indeed alive and well! We cannot wait to see what 2019 will bring.”

AIDC would also like to thank the amazing team of volunteers who worked with us this year. We couldn't have made it such a great event without them. [Photo: Elleni Toumpas]



Established in 1987, the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) is Australia’s premier event for documentary and nonfiction screen content. Championing documentary filmmakers and celebrating all forms of factual screen and reality content, the event provides business and networking opportunities, technical and craft knowledge development, and an important forum for industry debate and discussion.

AIDC 2018 featured:

  • 679 attendees
  • 98 speakers
  • 15 countries represented
  • 67 decision makers and buyers
  • 47 sessions, screenings and events
  • 199 projects in the market
  • 360+ structured meetings roundtables

Key speakers included:

  • Robert Fernandez (US) – Producer, Wormwood
  • Sara Ramsden (UK) – Creative Director, Love Productions
  • Kitty Green (AUS) – Director, Casting JonBenet
  • Dan Fallshaw & Violeta Ayala (AUS/BOL) – Filmmakers, Cocaine Prison, The Fight
  • Erin Casper (US) – Editor, Risk, American Promise
  • Prash Naik (UK/AUS) – General Counsel, The Doc Society
  • Ingrid Kopp (South Africa) – Programmer, Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes
  • Dorota Lech (CAN) – Programmer, Hot Docs and TIFF


Photo Credits:
* Elleni Toumpas
** Teresa Noble
*** James Thomas


Media enquiries:
Tracey Mair, TM Publicity
For AIDC 2018
Ph: 02 8333 9066 or 0419 221 493