Jayson McNamara, Holly Zwalf and Josie Hess.

Three documentary projects that participated in 2020’s New Perspectives Pitch Lab, hosted by AFTRS, Doc Society, AIDC and Screen NSW, will receive philanthropic development and production grants via the MaiTri Foundation’s Story Program.

They include films Norita and The Valley and podcast Gay Graves, each to receive a $10,000 grant via the foundation. The story program aims to help the projects build support and further their development ready for the Australian and international marketplace.

Doc Society’s global director of Good Pitch, Malinda Wink said: “Doc Society is proud to be working in partnership with MaiTri Foundation’s Story Program to support new voices in Australian documentary and podcast storytelling. We are grateful for their generosity, and extend our congratulations to each of the recipients.”

Jayson McNamara’s Norita, which won the 2020 pitch, is set in Argentina, and tracks the transformation of Nora Cortiñas, following the kidnapping of her son by Argentina’s dictatorship in 1977. During her 40 year search for him, Nora goes from a conservative housewife to a trailblazing activist and celebrated icon, inspiring a new generation to fight for their democracy.

Josie Hess’s The Valley is a feature documentary from and about a regional Victorian town that sits on the precipice of Australia’s largest coal mine. In the wake of the industrial collapse, young female activists fight to rebuild a brighter future for their communities.

Holly Zwalf’s Gay Graves is a podcast series uncovering the hidden, forgotten, and never-before-told queer histories of Australia. From gay bushrangers, lesbian buskers, and techno-dancing bush hippies through to genderless Indigenous dreaming spirits and crossdressing husbands and wives, Zwalf and guests visit a new gravesite in each episode to scatter eco-friendly rainbow confetti and to (re)discover the LGBTQ+ histories buried there.

The New Perspectives Pitch Lab was held in November 2020 and provided training and mentoring for six emerging social impact non-fiction projects in development or production. The Pitch Lab worked with these documentary teams to sharpen their pitch to both industry and non-traditional partners for finance, distribution and social impact.

Applications for the 2021 New Perspectives lab will be open September 27.

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