Documentary Australia Foundation Launches
5 November 2007 at 11:48 am
The Documentary Australia Foundation has launched in capital cities around the country in recent days with the aim of getting philanthropic grantmakers, charitable organisations and documentary filmmakers together to share their causes through the world of film.
Documentary Australia is a private initiative that has both the Not for Profit Sector and the filmmakers buzzing.
Chairman and founder of Documentary Australia Ian Darling is a businessman and social entrepreneur and a filmmaker in his won right who has put up part of the funding to run the administration of the organisation for the next 5 years.
Darling is also Chairman of The Caledonia Foundation, a private foundation (PPF) focusing on the education, training and welfare of underprivileged young Australians. He is also Executive Director of Caledonia Investments; a Sydney based private investment management business.
Other social entrepreneurs involved in the initiative are Jack Heath from the Inspire Foundation and Michael Traill from Social Ventures Australia.
Ian Darling says the aim of Documentary Australia is to nurture partnerships between the Not for Profit Sector and Australian filmmakers in an environment where some Foundations have actively declared documentary funding as an ‘exclusion’.
He says Documentary Australia is based on a highly successful US model which has seen some of the world’s most influential documentaries funded by philanthropists and Foundations.
For example, he says the Oscar winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" following the efforts of Al Gore to highlight climate change would never have been made without the financial support of philanthropists such as Jeff Skoll, a co-founder of Ebay.
He says Foundations in the United States are increasingly recognising the potential of the media, particularly documentary films, to add leverage to their philanthropic initiatives, while most foundations in Australia are yet to fully embrace it.
Foundations often ask: "How can we create a better society?" Their grantmaking strategies aim to find concrete and creative answers to this question.
Darling says documentary filmmakers ask many of the same questions as foundations and like foundations and charities, filmmakers aim to make a difference.
Philanthropy Australia’s Gina Anderson has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings to get the Foundation up and running and told the Melbourne launch that as the peak body for philanthropic foundations, it would take part in forums around the country to promote the initiative and introduce Foundations to filmmakers.
The Documentary Australia website has also been launched and is designed as a portal to bring together the worlds of philanthropy and documentary filmmaking. It includes extensive references, examples, case studies and answers to frequently asked questions.
It highlights to grantmakers how documentaries can increase the effectiveness and
reach of their gift-giving programs, and provides documentary filmmakers with a guide on how to apply for private funding.
Ian Darling says Documentary Australia is not a "dating agency" that brokers relationships between filmmakers, charities and grantmakers. Nor is it an initiative to replace government funding. It is a resource to inspire grantmakers to consider documentary as a tool to enhance the work they already do and to assist them in considering documentary projects.
He says it is equally a guide for documentary filmmakers into the world of charity and philanthropy.
Dr Mitzi Goldman is an Executive Officer and Director of the Documentary Australia Foundation and has been involved in the research and development of the concept of Documentary Australia.
In particular she has been involved in the extensive research work to set up the website.
She says the website aims to help the Not for Profit Sector to understand the language of the filmmakers and visa versa and it’s hoped that they will eventually intertwine.
The website is an extensive resource and our Pro Bono Australia readers are encouraged to look at the site and consider their own ‘stories’ and whether they can assist their cause in a ten minute documentary for educational and outreach purposes or a one hour documentary for a wider audience.
Check it out at www.documentaryaustralia.com.au