Thanks to the support of Principal Partner VicScreen, Presenting Partners ACMI and Screen Australia, and Major Partners ABC and SBS, AIDC 2024 will take place in-person from Sunday 3 March – Wednesday 6 March 2024 at ACMI, Melbourne / Naarm, followed by an online international marketplace, 7- 8 March 2024.

AIDC 2024: FRONTLINES

The AIDC 2024 program will explore the integrity, urgency, and creative potential of nonfiction storytelling via the theme Frontlines: Shaping the Future of Documentary & Factual Storytelling. The 2024 theme highlights how practitioners, industry leaders and advocates are actively shaping what’s to come, while also defending against challenges to the very foundations of practice. Reflecting our mission to support and elevate all forms of documentary and factual, AIDC 2024 turns its lens to the Frontlines – where we strive to secure the future of the sector, ensure its sustainability, and pave the way for unique, bold and engaging nonfiction stories.

Under the umbrella of Frontlines, AIDC 2024 will explore the following subthemes through spotlight sessions, industry panels, screenings and initiatives: Edge of Reality (innovation, new technologies and future visions); Courage of Conviction (frontline storytelling, impact and changemaking); Future of Truth (authenticity, integrity and truth-telling); Persistence of Vision (craft, creative nonfiction and experimentation in form); Depth of Field (access, inclusion and representation); and State of Play (policy change, sector reform and sustainability).

AIDC CEO / Creative Director Natasha Gadd, said, “In a time of radical change – where each dawn poses new challenges and possibilities in the pursuit of truth and courageous and authentic representations of the world around us – documentary and factual storytelling has never been more vital. At the frontlines of our sector we champion our most daring, inventive and surprising ideas. It is where we are emboldened to take risks, experiment and test new ground. And it is also a site of resistance, where we question, challenge and advocate. We’re thrilled to announce this incredible first lineup of speakers, decision makers and initiatives for AIDC 2024 as we bring the future into sharp focus and explore new ways of navigating truth, editorial integrity, innovation and creative expression.”

FIRST SPEAKERS

photo by Evgeniy Maloletka

Mstyslav Chernov [left], Director, 20 Days in Mariupol (Ukraine)
Award-winning Ukrainian photojournalist, filmmaker and war correspondent Mstyslav Chernov, director of the multiple award-winning feature documentary 20 Days in Mariupol, detailing the Siege of Mariupol during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is the first speaker announced for 2024 and will lead AIDC’s Spotlight program. 20 Days in Mariupol has won awards at Sundance and Sheffield DocFest, and was recently nominated for five Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, including Best Feature Documentary and Best Political Documentary.

Nainita Desai, Composer, The Deepest Breath, 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible (United Kingdom)
Also confirmed is acclaimed UK-based composer for multiple documentaries, Nainita Desai, whose recent work includes the hit A24 and Netflix documentary The Deepest Breath – nominated for four Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, including Best Documentary Feature and Best Score for Desai – and 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible (Netflix) for which she earned an Emmy nomination. Nainita’s other notable credits include Oscar-nominated and BAFTA and Cannes-winning feature documentary For Sama, Sundance-winning film The Reason I Jump and the Emmy-nominated Body Parts.

NEW DECISION MAKERS AND BUYERS

The AIDC 2024 marketplace will see an array of new decision makers and companies participating for the very first time, including, Loren Hammonds, Head of Documentary, Time Studios (USA); Nic Meloney, Executive in Charge of Production, Factual and Documentary, CBC (Canada); Kelsey Koenig, VP of Production, Impact Partners (USA); Rebecca Nicholls, Head of Sales & Acquisitions, Espresso Media International (UK); Jinseok Kang, Programmer, DMZ International Documentary Film Festival (South Korea); Opal H. Bennett, Executive Producer POV Shorts & Senior Producer POV (USA); and Nick Ward, Senior Commissioner, Non-Scripted, Sky New Zealand (NZ).

The newcomers will participate alongside commissioners and funders from high profile companies in the doc and factual space, like, Ally Gilbert, Head of Content Australia & New Zealand, Prime Video (Australia); Kate Bustamante, Senior Manager, Original Documentaries, Hulu (USA); Ash Hoyle, Programmer, Sundance (USA); and Keisha Knight, Director IDA Funds, International Documentary Association (IDA) (USA) – with many more still to be announced.

INCREASED PITCH OPPORTUNITIES

AIDC 2024’s market will host an expanded Shark Island Foundation Feature Docs Pitch, returning for its second year now with up to $100,000 in development grants for feature documentaries. Doubling its initial commitment of $50k, the philanthropic Shark Island Foundation seeks to support projects with the potential to shift thinking and inspire social change via the pitch. Pitch meetings will take place through Cut to the Chase, AIDC’s curated meetings program for Business Pass and All Access Pass-holders.

NEW OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

In 2024, AIDC will also debut the Southern Light Award, celebrating luminaries of the Australian documentary and factual industry. Expanding the eligibility scope of the pre-existing Stanley Hawes Award, presented from 1997 – 2023, the Southern Light Award is a new $5,000 cash prize presented by AIDC to an Australian industry professional for their outstanding contribution to nonfiction screen, digital and/or audio media. Nominations can be made by AIDC members, and are open now.

Building on a hugely successful 2023 event, which saw over 800 Australian and international delegates take part, AIDC 2024 will continue to provide unparalleled networking, upskilling, and project development opportunities for a buoyant documentary and factual sector. Many more high-profile national and international speakers and decision makers will be revealed soon.

Business Passes and All Access Passes for AIDC 2024 are now available, offering unlimited access to AIDC’s extensive marketplace and networking opportunities. AIDC has also released a Sessions Pass for those without marketplace needs, providing access only to the sessions program (to be revealed 24 January 2024).

AIDC MARKETPLACE & INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT

The 2024 AIDC Marketplace & Industry Program will once again provide the widest range of business and project development opportunities for documentary and factual practitioners.

Confirmed attendees include representatives from high profile broadcasters, streamers, distributors, sales agents and funding bodies like: 3Boxmedia International Sales (Germany), ABC (Australia), ARTE G.E.I.E (France), CAT&Docs (France), CBC (Canada) DMZ International Documentary Film Festival (South Korea), Doc Society (Australia), EBS Korea/EIDF (South Korea), Espresso Media International (UK), Getty Images (New Zealand), Hot Docs (Canada), Hulu (USA), In-Docs | Docs By the Sea (Indonesia), International Documentary Association (IDA) (USA), Impact Partners, (USA), Journeyman Pictures (UK), Limonero Films (UK), Madman Entertainment (Australia), NITV (Australia), POV (USA), Prime Video (Australia), Red Bull Studios (Austria), Sandbox Films (USA), SBS (Australia), Shark Island Foundation (Australia), Sheffield DocFest (UK), Sideways Film (UK), Sky New Zealand (Aotearoa/New Zealand), Sundance Film Festival (USA), Sunny Side of the Doc (France), The New York Times Op-Docs (USA), The Post Lounge (Australia), The Whickers (UK), Time Studios (USA), and TRT World (Turkey) with many more yet to be announced.

Photo by Melissa Butters

AIDC’s centrepiece international pitching showcase, The FACTory, presented by VicScreen, is currently accepting submissions, with projects sought across three strands; the Central Showcase (for projects in development with international potential); New Talent Showcase (for projects by early-career filmmakers); and Rough Cut Showcase (for projects seeking sales, distribution, and exhibition opportunities). Selected projects will pitch live to decision makers during AIDC 2024.

Meetings between industry guests and accredited producers will again take place through Cut to the Chase, AIDC’s curated meetings program for Business Pass and All Access Pass-holders. Now open for submissions, Cut to the Chase matches producers and their projects to the most relevant commissioning editors, acquisitions executives, distributors, sales agents, financiers and funders, with local meetings taking place during AIDC and international meetings arranged online.

AIDC is also partnering with The Post Lounge for a third year on the The Post Lounge Doc Pitch designed to support standout documentary and factual projects with a share in up to $30,000 of equity investment through post-production. Producers are now invited to submit projects in development across any nonfiction genre via AIDC’s Cut to the Chase program.

Combined with the Shark Island Foundation Feature Docs Pitch and the recently-announced return of Screen Australia-presented Fresh Cuts Documentary Pitch for stories that appeal to younger audiences (which will see the national screen agency support three projects with up to $30,000 each in development funding), AIDC 2024 has already unlocked over $235,000 in project development funding and prizes for delegates.

AIDC AWARDS

Nominations are also sought for the prestigious 4th annual AIDC Awards, recognising outstanding completed works of new Australian documentary and factual content across six categories: Best Feature Documentary (with a $5,000 cash prize presented by Film Finances), Best Documentary/Factual Series, Best Documentary/Factual Single, Best Short-Form Documentary, Best Audio Documentary (with a $3,000 cash prize presented by AFTRS), and Best Interactive/Immersive Documentary (with a $3,000 cash prize presented by Deakin Motion Lab).

The inaugural recipient of the Southern Light Award will also be invited to attend and speak at the presentation of the 2024 AIDC Awards, held on the closing night of AIDC 2024 at ACMI on Wednesday 6 March 2024.

VicScreen continues its long-running and welcome support of AIDC, having announced a further two years of funding at AIDC 2023 and ensuring the event stays in Victoria.

VicScreen CEO, Caroline Pitcher, said, “AIDC is set to shine the spotlight on Melbourne this coming March, with today’s first look revealing another year of epic programming. From the renowned FACTory pitch day to curated business meetings, AIDC creates significant opportunities for our homegrown talent to connect with some of the best international minds in factual storytelling. VicScreen is proud to continue our longstanding partnership with AIDC, recently committing to another two years of funding for the conference, solidifying AIDC’s home in Melbourne for both 2024 and 2025.”

Presenting Partner ACMI has also renewed its commitment to retaining the event at its home within the museum in Melbourne’s Fed Square, with an additional two year partnership and a new program of documentary screenings arranged in collaboration with AIDC.

ACMI Director and CEO, Seb Chan, said, “As Australia’s museum of screen culture we are proud to renew our long running partnership with AIDC for a further two years. Factual content is even more critical in the current environment where our ability to trust in what we see and hear has been so compromised by politics and technology. ACMI is committed to supporting greater screen and technological literacies and a thriving ecology of creators, and our support of AIDC is part of that commitment.”

Further announcements about AIDC’s Indigenous Creators Program and major new initiatives and pitching opportunities will follow in the coming weeks, with the full session program to be revealed 24 January 2024. Registration for AIDC 2024 is now open at www.aidc.com.au.

AIDC 2024: FRONTLINES
Conference 3-6 March, ACMI, Melbourne / Naarm
International Marketplace 7-8 March, Online
www.aidc.com.au

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