Top (from left) are Yale McGillivray, Lille Madden, Vincent Lamberti, Lisa Albert, and Caro Macdonald. Bottom (from left) are Sarah Price, Steve Pasvolsky, Dinah Lewis Boucher, Claire Pasvolsky, and Eliorah Malifa

The projects and participants for the second New Perspectives Pitch Lab have been unveiled, with sessions for the training initiative to commence this week.

Developed through the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), Doc Society, and the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC), in partnership with Screen NSW, the program consists of seven online coaching workshops and an online pitch event. Mentors include global director of Good Pitch at Doc Society, Malinda Wink, and Screen NSW investment manager Andrea Ulbrick.

The selected projects for this year are feature documentaries Wave Riding: The Ancient Sport of Oceania, Queen to Councillor, Joy, and Catching Crooks, as well as documentary series Our Country.

The five teams will develop their project pitch in group and individual sessions before pitching to an industry panel for feedback. From there, one set of creatives will be selected for pitching opportunities at AIDC 2022. The training is designed to develop strategies and pathways for non-traditional access to audience and finance for projects that have the potential for an impact campaign.

Jayson McNamara’s Norita was the inaugural winner of the initiative last year.

Wink said the field for this year’s initiative reflected a “broad canvas of amazing characters and stories that illuminate key justice issues in our community”.

“We can’t wait to roll our sleeves up and work with the five teams selected for this year’s Pitch Lab,” she said.

AFTRS head of documentary Richard Welch said the institution was excited to help develop a new batch of documentary ideas.

“Working alongside our partners Doc Society, AIDC, and Screen NSW, the initiative provides crucial industry development and mentoring labs for the five ambitious projects selected and represent the rich diversity of stories in Australia,” he said.

The selected projects are as follows:

Wave Riding: The Ancient Sport of Oceania: Feature documentary from director Dinah Lewis Boucher and producer Eliorah Malifa that shares a different side to surf culture not traditionally seen in mainstream media. Taking a view into Pacific Island culture and the early roots of modern surf, this documentary explores Pacific communities and their connection to the ocean.

Our Country: First Nations-led documentary series from creator/writer Lille Madden and producer Yale McGillivray exploring what Country means and what’s required to protect it, by revealing the extraordinary yet endangered wonders of the natural world. Founded on First Nations’ knowledge systems and philosophies, this series celebrates a love for and connection with Country as the way towards a better future.

Queen to Councillor: Feature documentary from director/DOP Caro Macdonald and producer Sarah Price about Darwin’s famous ‘Laksa Queen’, Amye Un, who has finally achieved a lifetime goal to move from cooking laksa into politics.

Joy: Feature documentary from director/cinematographer Vincent Lamberti and producer Lisa Albert that begins 36 years ago with the unravelling of a middle-class family and ends in a tragic family homicide. It is told from the unique perspective of the daughter, Kathryn Joy, who grew up in Lismore, NSW with her father, unaware that he killed her mother. It grapples with big dilemmas like how does one reconcile the love they have for their only living parent who is capable of both genuine kindness and killing; and a legal system that decided it was in their best interests to be raised by that same person. 

Catching Crooks: A true-crime feature documentary from director Claire Pasvolsky and producer Steve Pasvolsky based on a podcast, Narelle Fraser Investigates. Narelle Fraser is Australia’s favourite detective. She has legions of fans worldwide due to her podcast which demonstrates her empathy and her struggle with PTSD after leading cases on some of our country’s most heinous crimes.

AIDC will run March 6-9 2022 in-person and online, with the international marketplace held across March 10 and 11.

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