The Indiedoco campaign to save the single documentary has been supported by every major documentary organisation.
Launched at the Australian Directors Guild conference, the campaign calls on the ABC and SBS to follow the example of BBC2 by reinstating a single documentary strand. It urges Screen Australia to remove the requirement for a broadcaster pre-sale for the National Documentary Program and to set up a new panel to select projects for NDP funding based on creative, cultural and artistic criteria.
The organisers also want Screen Australia to revive a slate development program for documentary filmmakers similar to the Australian Film Commission’s General Development Investment Program; a substantial boost to Screen Australia's Signature Fund; and for the agency to change the definition of 'bona fide release' for feature documentaries to enable more feature docs to qualify for the 40% producer offset.
Indiedoco reps are arranging meetings with commissioning editors at the public broadcasters and with Screen Australia’s new CEO Graeme Mason to press their case.
The campaign has been endorsed by Documentary Australia Foundation, Antenna Documentary Film Festival, Melbourne-based Doco3000, the ADG, Ozdox and QDox, the Queensland docs association. David Rokach, director of Antenna Documentary Film Festival said: 'We support and endorse Indiedoco. It is inspiring and so important. This gives hope that we will see more cinematic feature docs in the near future."
Dr. Mitzi Goldman, CEO of Documentary Australia Foundation said: “DAF completely endorses the objectives in support of independent documentary in Australia. Many documentary filmmakers struggle to get allocated government and broadcast funding for stories that sit outside the formats and rating pre-requisites that now dominate broadcast decisions. Because the majority of government funding is tied to the broadcast pre-sale, many important opportunities for profound stories to be told and shared are missed.
"The authored, one off and feature documentary, once the pride of the Australian film industry and lauded internationally, is now endangered. DAF has brought over $5 million into the documentary sector over the last 5 years. We urge the government to match this private support through the objectives outlined by the Indiedoco group."
Norman Wilkinson of QDox said: “We all have to band together to get the powers that be to change the way they are doing things and take note of the damage to our sector that their decisions and actions is causing.”
Last week Indiedoco's post asking for endorsement of its objectives was liked, commented on, shared, and viewed by 4,938 people on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Indiedoco).
Peter Kaufman, who produced Lawrence Johnston’s Fallout, raised the issue when he accepted the ATOM award for best documentary, history, social and political Issues last week.
He said, ”At a time when the fine tradition of documentary filmmaking is at grave risk, we feel privileged to have shared the ATOM Awards stage with other feature documentary films such as Once My Mother. Neither film would have been made without the vision and support of Screen Australia’s Signature Fund."