Screen Australia, VICE & AIDC announce Pitch Australiana winner for 2020

Creators to receive $50,000 commission for short documentary

Screen Australia and youth media company VICE have today announced Searching for the Tassie Tiger as the winner of the annual pitching competition Pitch Australiana held at the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) in Melbourne in March.

The creators will receive $50,000 in production funding for a short form documentary commission to be released through VICE’s global digital network, and broadcast on local TV channel SBS VICELAND.

The winning project Searching for the Tassie Tiger will be directed by Naomi Ball and produced by David Elliot-Jones and Louis Dai. It will explore new evidence and a growing civilian movement that are challenging the long-held belief that Tasmanian tigers are extinct.

The documentary will follow Neil Waters, a middle-aged gardener in remote north-east Tasmania, as he quits his day job and commits his life’s savings to search for the ancient beast. Waters is the impassioned creator of the ‘Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia’ Facebook page which is leading an Australia-wide grassroots effort to rediscover the tiger.

Director Naomi Ball said, “We’re thrilled that VICE and Screen Australia have made it possible for this story to become part of the Australiana canon. Searching for the Tassie Tiger will be an absorbing adventure through remote and rugged landscapes led by Australia’s most dedicated tiger believers. Within the trail cam footage and beneath the scat samples, we’ll be looking not only for this ancient marsupial beast, but also for the hope we all need, as we face up to our destruction of the environment.”

Pitch Australiana is an annual competition that provides early career Australian filmmakers an opportunity to collaborate with VICE in telling a story that has been overlooked by mainstream media.

Head of Documentary at Screen Australia Bernadine Lim said, Naomi Ball and David Elliot-Jones’ pitch at this year’s competition really stood out to us. Whilst the mystery around the Tassie tiger knows no bounds, their promise of a special insight into the grassroots community of Tassie tiger believers with great characters was very compelling. I look forward to seeing this project on VICE.”

Jess Langley, Executive Producer at VICE, said “We’re thrilled to work with Naomi and David to bring Searching for the Tassie Tiger to VICE’s audiences. It’s sure to be met with enthusiasm both locally and internationally.”


Searching for the Tassie Tiger was one of the four projects selected to pitch at AIDC held in Melbourne on Wednesday 4 March 2020.

Last year’s winner of Pitch Australiana, Burlesque Boys, was directed by Isaac Elliott and produced by Lucy Knox. The observational documentary follows a group of male erotic entertainers as they go on tour and explores both the gruelling schedules and how the performers navigate consent in-the-moment with female participants.

Shooting Cats was the inaugural winner of Pitch Australiana and was directed by Inday Ford and produced by Dylan Blowen. The documentary started an important conversation and explores the catastrophic impact feral cats have on Australian wildlife and the complexities environmentalists face in their attempt to find solutions to this epidemic.

Main Image: Searching for the Tassie Tiger

Media enquiries: Jessica Parry
+61 2 8113 5833 | +61 428 767 836 |


21 March 2020


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