SHORTLISTED TEAMS ANNOUNCED FOR STATE OF PLAY, AUSTRALIA UNCOVERED & REEL SMART ACADEMIC ROUNDTABLES

Image L-R: The Carnival, image excerpt courtesy of Pony Films; BeeScapes: The Game, UV vision mock up, image excerpt courtesy of Alan Nguyen and Mighty Games; The Coaches’ Eye, image excerpt courtesy of Alexandra Roberts.


With its four-day annual event unfolding online from Sunday 28 February to Wednesday 3 March, the AIDC has today announced the shortlisted project teams that will take part in its key pitching programs: State of Play, presented by Film Victoria; Australia Uncovered, presented by SBS; and Reel Smart Academic Roundtables, presented by La Trobe University.  

The shortlisted teams across these three key programs will have the opportunity to pitch their projects to decision makers at AIDC 2021 with a view to securing funding or production partners for their projects.

Alice Burgin, AIDC CEO and Conference Director, said: “AIDC’s many pitching opportunities during the conference are what makes this annual event so important. We are so grateful for the continued support of Film Victoria, and our partnerships with SBS and La Trobe University, as they help us realise these important opportunities. We’re extremely grateful that these organisations share our vision for an Australian nonfiction sector that is relevant, curiously imaginative and perpetually excited by what the future has to offer.”

STATE OF PLAY

State of Play, developed in partnership with Film Victoria, is AIDC’s new pitching initiative designed to unleash innovative storytelling through collaboration between nonfiction stories and gaming technologies – bringing new documentary games to life.

State of Play will culminate with these four teams pitching publicly to a panel of experts as part of Innovation Day at AIDC 2021. The winning team will be awarded $25,000 of project funding to turn their proof of concept into a playable reality.

Over the last six weeks, four shortlisted project teams have been working with some of Victoria’s top indie game developers to turn their ideas into a playable proof of concept. The shortlisted teams are:

  • BeeScapes: The Game, by Alan Nguyen and Mighty Games, positions the player as a honeybee tasked with the important mission of finding the best flowers that contain nutritious pollen in Boomers Reserve in Victoria, Australia.
  • Love Letters to Our Trees, by Wilding Productions and Two Moos, is an AR documentary that entices us into an enchanted urban forest, and invites us to rediscover our trees and experience the city from their perspective.
  • Slipshape, by Jari Productions and Things For Humans, is a first person exploration game where as a journalist still recovering from an assassination attempt, you uncover intruders and inhabitants of the riverine Himalayas, evoking fears and dreams of water in India
  • Strong Start, by Strong Women Documentary and Geodesic Crimes, presents off-beat, feisty and charismatic characters, and an immersive experience where the player intimately discovers the empowering stories of some of Australia’s strongest women. 

Caroline Pitcher, Film Victoria CEO, said: “Each year AIDC supports creators to accelerate their innovative ideas through pitching competitions like Reel Smart and the Film Victoria-supported State of Play. Congratulations to the teams selected this year and particularly the four who have been chosen to pitch their documentary game projects at the inaugural State of Play session at AIDC 2021. It is fantastic to see Victoria’s top indie games developers come together with Australian documentary talent to use gaming technology to tell factual stories in new ways.” 

AUSTRALIA UNCOVERED 

Australia Uncovered is SBS’s strand of prime-time single documentaries exploring diversity and equality in contemporary Australia. 

SBS have shortlisted five single documentaries ranging from one hour to feature-length. The shortlisted proposals seeking development funding will participate in a live pitching session as part of AIDC, with successful teams receiving a share of development funding from SBS. 

Joseph Maxwell, Head of Documentaries, SBS, said: “We received a fantastic response to our call out for Australia Uncovered. The shortlist reflects the depth and diversity of the submissions received, and the kind of unique Australian stories and voices that are at the heart of this strand. We are looking forward to the live pitching session at AIDC 2021.”

The shortlisted projects are:

  • The Carnival
    The Bell family battles to keep Australia’s oldest show on the road.
    Isabel Darling, Director and Dylan Blowen, Producer.
    Production Company: Pony Films.
  • Hard-Ons
    Three kids from the 1980s suburbs become multicultural punk rock icons!
    Jonathan Sequeira, Producer/Director and Wade Jackson, Producer.
    Production Company: Living Eyes.
  • After Trauma
    Following the journey of larger-than-life trauma cleaning business owner Sandra Pankhurst, as she begins a search for her birth mother and reinvents herself as an icon for resilience.
    Lachlan Mcleod, Director with David Elliot-Jones and Charlotte Wheaton, Producers.
    Production Company: Walking Fish Productions, Good Thing Productions.
  • Kids Raising Kids
    Follows the complex lives of teen parents at a one-of-a-kind high school.
    Patrick Abboud, Director and Associate Producer, Marcus Costello.
    Production Company: Only Human.
  • Reprotech
    Sarah Dingle discovers her true paternity, & she takes on the baby-makers.
    Sally Aitken, Director with Aline Jacques and Marianne Leitch, Producers.
    Production Company:  Sam Content.

REEL SMART ACADEMIC ROUNDTABLES

La Trobe University and AIDC are teaming up again to present the Reel Smart Academic Roundtables. Now in its second year, the initiative will see five academics from La Trobe University pitch up-to-the-minute original research to producers at AIDC with the aim of triggering the development of new factual series or one-off documentary projects.

The Real Smart Academic Roundtables provide academics with the opportunity to increase the reach and impact of their research within the documentary sector – with a vision towards turning their work into nonfiction screen content. The shortlisted projects are:

  • Widgies, Sharpies & Punk(ettes). The story of the rebellious girls who sought freedom and identity in subcultures in Australia in the second half of the twentieth century. Academic: Simmone Howell.
  • The Underdog Ancestor; Three Human Dynasties Fight For Survival. Two-million-years ago, three types of humans fought for survival. Come on a journey to see what humanity’s earliest ancestors looked like and how they evolved different ways to survive. Academics: Angeline Leece and Andy Herries.
  • The Pioneer’s Wife. Mary Minogue sailed to the goldfields pregnant with an illegitimate child. Months after arrival Mary, now married, was before a magistrate accused of murdering her baby in the goldfields sludge. Academic: Katrina Dernelley.
  • The Coaches’ Eye. An exploration of how coaches use their ‘eye for talent’ to identify tomorrow’s Olympic combat sport champions today, particularly in open skill sports. Academic: Alexandra Roberts.
  • Black, White and Exempt. Aboriginal exemption is the untold story of cruel choices, assimilation and resistance that Australia is now ready to hear. Academics: Lucinda Aberdeen, Jennifer Jones and Katherine Ellinghaus.

To learn more about the pitches, please visit the Sessions page on the AIDC website.

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