'The Australian Dream'.

Two distinctly Australian stories have taken out the top prizes at the inaugural AIDC Awards, with Daniel Gordon’s The Australian Dream and Southern Pictures’ Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian awarded Best Feature Documentary and Best Documentary/Factual Series, respectively.

Held as a conclusion to this year’s AIDC, the awards ceremony crowned winners across six categories and distributed more than $200,000 of development funding and prizes.

The event was was broadcast live from ACMI in Melbourne to six cities around Australia.

It caps of this year’s online conference, which comprised more than 40 sessions across four days, and came with contributions from a diverse range of speakers and decision-makers.

The winners of the inaugural AIDC Awards are:

Best Feature Documentary

The Australian Dream

Daniel Gordon, Good Thing Productions & Passion Pictures.

Jury Statement: “In collaboration with Stan Grant, what Gordon finds in the story of Adam Goodes’ disgraceful public discrimination is potent, eloquent, troubling. Ultimately a story of resilience, both of a man, and a people; a stridently articulated challenge to Australia to consider the true meaning and making of its history, and a film that deserves to reach all Australians, and beyond.”

‘Miriam Margolyes Almost Australian’.

Best Documentary/Factual Series

Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian

Liz Allen, Ross Wilson, Laurie Critchley, Aline Jacques, Southern Pictures.

Jury Statement: A refreshing modern portrait of Australia. A feast for the senses for so many of us locked down at home. A pleasure to watch for both young and old. Miriam was an unexpected and inspired choice who made it fun, honest, charismatic, smart, delightfully self-deprecating and masterful with her interactions. 

The jury also gave a special mention to Love on the Spectrum, saying “[it] grabs you from the first minute and never lets you go.”

Best Documentary/Factual Single Award Winner: 

Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky

Steven McGregor, Steven Oliver, Anna Grieve, Steve Thomas, Danielle MacLean, Kath Symmons, Tamarind Tree Pictures & Roar Film.

Jury Statement: Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky flips Australian history as written and revered by the victors and provides an alternative view through music and comedy.  The approach invites conversations with ALL Australians.”

Best Short-form Documentary

My Body Says

Loani Arman, Danielle Redford & Kim Vecera, Mama Bear Productions.

Jury Statement: “A raw and refreshing film that expertly crafts a series of portraits that resonated so beautifully with the judges. The film connects the audience to the subjects weaving through light and dark, on a level of intimacy that shows depth and sensitivity in the filmmaking.”

The jury also gave a special mention to The Loop, which they recognise as “a film with heart, tenacity and humor.”

Best Audio Documentary

The Eleventh

Alex Mann, Tim Roxburgh, Ninah Kopel, Tim Jenkins, Nikki Tugwell, ABC Audio Studios.

Jury Statement: “The Eleventh is definitely a podcast that made you want to skip to the next episode and keep listening. It made a significant moment in political history accessible to a wide audience so you didn’t need to be Australian or even have an interest in politics to be engaged and entertained.”

Best Interactive/Immersive Documentary

Mt Resilience

Emma Morris, PHORIA & ABC in partnership with CSIRO & BOM.

Jury Statement: “This augmented reality experience about climate and disaster resilience in Australian towns deftly combines ambitious technological approach and creative vision, packaging diverse story elements in a coherent and seamlessly designed way.”

Michaela Perske.

As part of the AIDC Awards ceremony, the previously announced Stanley Hawes Award was presented to Michaela Perske, the company director and principal producer of Pursekey Films. 

Originally trained as a journalist, Michaela has over 20 years of media experience in all areas of radio, print and TV, with credits that include Girls Can’t Surf, Black Divas, After the Apology and Destination Arnold. With this award, AIDC acknowledges her outstanding contribution to the Australian documentary and factual sector.

AIDC PITCHING PRIZES:

At the ceremony, SBS announced which projects will receive development funding for Australian Uncovered, its strand of single and feature documentaries, following a pitching session at the conference.

This year there was not one winner, but four:

  • The Carnival from production company Torchlight Media;
  • Hard-Ons from production company Living Eyes Pty Ltd;
  • Reprotech from production company SAM Content Pty Ltd; and 
  • Kids Raising Kids from production company Only Human.

SBS will also be reaching out to production companies Walking Fish and Good Thing Productions about a commission for their project After Trauma.

AIDC and Film Victoria also announced the winner of its new State of Play pitch, Love Letters to Our Trees, from production companies Wilding Productions & Two Moos. The project will receive $25,000.

Each year, AIDC runs The FACTory, an international pitching showcase for documentary and factual projects. The winner of the 2021 FINCH Prize was presented to Norita, from Projector Films.

The prize comprises four weeks of in-kind post-production facilities and/or services by FINCH in Sydney – including grade, online and mastering to the value of $45,000 AUD.

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