AIDC 2020 TO FACILITATE NEW DOCUMENTARY & FACTUAL MEDIA PROJECTS BASED IN ACADEMIC RESEARCH & DATA JOURNALISM

February 25, 2020

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) today announces the projects selected for two of its unique partnered pitching initiatives -­ Reel Smart Academic Pitch, co-­presented with the La Trobe University, and Raw Data, Real Stories, with Google News Initiative -­ set to take place during AIDC 2020, 1-­4 March at State Library Victoria, Melbourne.
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AIDC 2020 TO FACILITATE NEW DOCUMENTARY & FACTUAL MEDIA PROJECTS BASED IN ACADEMIC RESEARCH & DATA JOURNALISM

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) today announces the projects selected for two of its unique partnered pitching initiatives -­ Reel Smart Academic Pitch, co-­presented with the La Trobe University, and Raw Data, Real Stories, with Google News Initiative -­ set to take place during AIDC 2020, 1-­4 March at State Library Victoria, Melbourne.

The Reel Smart Academic Pitch presented by La Trobe University will see academics from the University pitch up-­to-­the-­minute original research to producers at AIDC with the aim of triggering the development of new factual series or one-­off documentary projects.

The five research projects selected for the Reel Smart Academic Pitch are:

Weasel Words: The long, slow death of Australian public language (WT)
Dr Gwenda Tavan, Associate Professor Politics
From ‘core and non-­core promises’ to ‘the real Julia’ and ‘quiet Australians’, this timely research project examines the claim that cliché, ‘weasel words’, and ‘bad language’ are undermining the quality of contemporary public discourse and democracy.

Just Like Me
Professor Nora Shields
From repetitions to revelations: this project draws on the findings of the community-­based exercise program FitSkills which gets young people with disability exercising together with peer mentors at their local gym, and shapes minds as much as bodies.

When Sports Rules go ‘Rong
Dr Liam Lenten
This project explores the underappreciated role of the rules of professional sport—their purpose, historical evolution and effects;; not least of all the often humorous stories behind some of the most idiosyncratic moments in the annals of sports history.

Blackfellas Highway (WT)
Dr Jillian Garvey, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Archaeology and History
The Murray River has been a major lifeline through our continent for millennia. This project investigates the deep history of our First People’s occupation and use of this vital resource, and tracks the tempo of change from its earliest colonisation to its current environment crisis.

SexTech
Dr Alexandra James, Research Officer
From sex robots to teledildonics, technology is transforming the most intimate human experience. SexTech hacks into human desire and imagination;; it explores the future of sex.

The Reel Smart pitch will take place as part of the AIDC 2020 Session program on Tuesday 3 March and is open to attend by all registered delegates.

Producers interested in further discussions with academics about potential collaboration will have an opportunity to sign up for meetings following the session.

La Trobe Deputy Vice-­Chancellor and Vice-­President (Research and Industry Engagement) Professor Susan Dodds says AIDC is the perfect opportunity for the five selected La Trobe academics to showcase their work and potentially take their research to the wider world through film.

“The range of topics featured in the Reel Smart Academic Pitch reflects the breadth and depth of knowledge and expertise among the University’s teaching and research staff. As a University with a strong history of investigating social change, La Trobe would be proud to see any of these projects transformed into a documentary”

AIDC CEO & Conference Director Alice Burgin says, “We all know that screen culture is one of the most powerful contemporary forms of learning and public engagement. Yet good storytelling needs strong ideas steeped in rigorous and sophisticated research. Reel Smart is the perfect combination of the two, where some of Australia’s best academic researchers can pitch to some of Australia’s most prominent producers. AIDC is absolutely thrilled to be partnering with La Trobe University on the second instalment of this pitch, and look forward to seeing these incredible research projects come alive.”

AIDC is also pleased to announce the four projects selected for the second Raw Data, Real Stories pitch. This competitive pitch brings nonfiction storytellers and journalists together with technologists and data visualisation experts to pitch an innovative new work, with $40,000 in development funds from Google News Initiative at stake.

The four projects selected for the Raw Data, Real Stories pitch are:

Hooked: the numbers behind Australia’s Gambling Obsession
Team: ABC News
Australians lose more money gambling than any other country in the world. This project will tell the story of gambling’s grip on the nation – the vested interests, the human and economic costs, and the flow of gambling dollars between industry, government and households.

The Impacts of Growing Cotton in the Murray-­Darling Basin
Team: The Conversation
The project will explore the complex issue of farming water-­intensive crops like cotton in the Murray-­Darling Basin – Australia’s food bowl, which is experiencing a severe drought.

Accessing Abortion (working title)
Team: The Saturday Paper & Small Multiples
Abortion has been decriminalised in almost all Australian states and territories. But ‘decriminalised’ is not the same as ‘made accessible’. The Saturday Paper will explore how far people are travelling, and how much they are spending, to access an abortion, uncovering the struggle for equitable healthcare
across the country.

Bill of Health: counting the human cost of climate change
Team: SBS Labs
An interactive story-­driven experience that centres the health impacts of extreme weather events in Australia on individuals and communities, making the societal and economic costs of climate change personally relevant.

The project pitches will be assessed by a jury made up of Nic Hopkins, Lam Thuy Vo, and Dan Koerner, moderated by 2019 winner Nicole Precel. The session takes place on AIDC 2020’s Innovation Day, Sunday 1 March, and is open to all registered delegates.

Both Reel Smart and Raw Data, Real Stories exist to stimulate new collaborations and content production in keeping with the AIDC 2020 theme, ‘Collective Intelligence’. The initiatives form part of the more than half a million dollars unlocked in development and commissioning funds for the AIDC 2020 marketplace.

AIDC 2020
Collective Intelligence
1-­4 March, State Library Victoria, Melbourne.
www.aidc.com.au