With the mission to connect good films to good people, Good Pitch, the international forum for high impact, feature-length documentaries, is launching its satellite version called Good Pitch² (Good Pitch Squared) for the first time in Australia next year.
To be held in Sydney in October, 2014, Good Pitch² Australia will be hosted by Shark Island Institute and Documentary Australia Foundation. The event will also be supported by leading philanthropic bodies and Community Partners of the initiative, Philanthropy Australia and Pro Bono Australia.
Ian Darling from Shark Island Institute wants to make it clear that the event is not a traditional pitch.
“I think the key thing to understand is that it’s not a traditional pitching forum,” he tells IF. “If you think of it as a traditional pitch and then do a 180, [that would be right.] It’s about supporting the films and creating outreach, not about a broadcaster assessing the merits of a film.”
An event originally devised by a partnership between BRITDOC and Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, Good Pitch has been gaining momentum since the first international event in 2009. It brings together documentary filmmakers with foundations, not-for-profits, campaigners, philanthropists, policy-makers, brands, educators, broadcasters and media to forge powerful alliances around ground-breaking films that are not only beneficial for the partners, but also great for the films and in turn, good for society.
The satellite version of the forum, Good Pitch² was launched in 2011, held in the US and the UK. It enabled select organisations to put on their own Good Pitch events in their own region. So for next year, Shark Island Institute and Documentary Australia Foundation are eager for documentary filmmakers to begin submitting their projects.
“It’s an event which I think is driving documentary filmmaking overseas and it’s creating these extraordinary sustainable communities with documentary filmmakers, philanthropic foundations and not-for-profit organisations,” Darling says. “It’s all about creating a sustainable funding source for documentary. That combination [of people involved] put together creates something quite exciting.
“What we desperately need in Australia is new recurring sources of funding for documentaries and a belief in the feature documentary as the best way to tell that story.”
The process of a Good Pitch event sees seven filmmaking teams chosen to feature documentary and its associated outreach campaign to the ten invited representatives at the table as well as a theatre of up to 300 participants. Following each pitch, a moderated session occurs, aiming to create a lasting and unique coalition around each film to maximize its impact and influence in the future. Rather than being in the style of a ‘dragon’s den’ competition, Good Pitch is organized so that all projects can successfully pitch for support.
“It really wraps their arms around the filmmakers to give them extraordinary tools,” says Darling. “I have seen the magic that happens when you actually create theatre out of this community."
Throughout its existence, Good Pitch has seen more than 128 feature documentaries presented at the events in London, Oxford, New York, Washington DC, Toronto and Chicago, as well as Good Pitch² events in San Francisco, Johannesburg, Taipei and Buenos Aires. Both Australia and Mumbai will be added to that list in 2014.
Across these locations, more than 2,137 organisations have attended a Good Pitch event, each one bringing a wealth of expert knowledge, research and archives, memberships, networks and mailing lists, campaigning and lobbying expertise, access to policymakers, and production and outreach funding to the table.
Darling said, “I’ve seen first hand how powerful a forum Good Pitch can be. My colleagues at Documentary Australia Foundation and I are all determined to bring the event to Australia so that filmmakers here can benefit from the same opportunities and international exposure.”
The team at Good Pitch² Australia will select seven outstanding feature documentaries with potential for high social impact. Typically, these films will be at the late stages of the production process and may be seeking completion and outreach funding. Projects are distinguished by their commitment to building an outreach strategy.
The first all-day event will be held on October 8, 2014 in Sydney, with successive events to be held in both Sydney and Melbourne for the following five years.
Selection of projects will be completed by April 2014 with the first Good Pitch² Australia event taking place at the Sydney Opera House.