Documentary Makers to Encourage Philanthropic Support
13 March 2007 at 3:21 pm
A new initiative called Documentary Australia plans to inform, educate and encourage philanthropic foundations and trusts, charities, and corporate and individual donors of the benefits of supporting documentary film making.
With 1500 trusts and foundations in Australia giving away over $500 million dollars every year; Documentary Australia sees this as an area that could form the basis of a new and sustainable private funding model.
The initiative was unveiled in Adelaide at the 2007 Australian International Documentary Conference.
The aim is to let grant makers or donors know that documentary films have an impact and a life and usefulness beyond its broadcast and festival screenings.
Ian Darling, Chairman and founder of Documentary Australia says philanthropic funding already goes to the environment and the arts, health, education, indigenous issues and social welfare – all areas of great interest to documentary, areas where many of the issues that filmmakers address are found.
In the US philanthropic funding is a well-known supporter of documentary production, but it is till new ground in Australia.
Darling says currently it is hard for Australian grant makers to give to documentary, that there is no simple vehicle to make such donations tax deductible.
Documentary Australia has already put in a submission to the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, supported by the Screen Producers Association of Australia, about the need for such a vehicle, but in the meantime he is suggesting that one solution is to work with and through charities, who have their tax deductible status in place, and would be a good strategic fit.
Mitzi Goldman and Susan MacKinnon from Documentary Australia unveiled the ‘still-under-construction’ Documentary Australia website which will connect the world of philanthropy with the world of documentary. Goldman says the site is at a final draft stage.
The website will provide detailed information to both potential grant-makers and to filmmakers. It will also offer a catalogue of documentaries to be used as case studies.
Information for grantmakers includes the shared areas of interest, how documentaries raise public awareness on issues, can educate, entertain and comment and add leverage to the philanthropic dollar with long lasting educational value.
Filmmakers can learn how to work with foundations and charities; what subjects would be a good fit, how to apply for grants, and what the needs and requirements of the grantmakers are.
Documentary Australia is planning a series of seminars with all interest groups to formally commence the initiative.
Ian Darling says filmmakers will need to understand the difference between working with philanthropy and with their existing partners.
He says that success lies not only with the grantmakers but with the filmmakers and a real shift in vision. It should mean, however, that projects could have a longer, more productive life within a community.
You can submit your email address to receive more information at www.documentaryaustralia.com.au