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New Social Impact Docos Chosen for the Silver Screen


26 July 2016 at 11:39 am
Ellie Cooper
Six new high-impact documentaries, selected for their exploration of contentious social issues, will screen at Good Pitch Australia’s Sydney Opera House event in November.

Ellie Cooper | 26 July 2016 at 11:39 am


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New Social Impact Docos Chosen for the Silver Screen
26 July 2016 at 11:39 am

Six new high-impact documentaries, selected for their exploration of contentious social issues, will screen at Good Pitch Australia’s Sydney Opera House event in November.

Good Pitch event

Since its launch in 2014, Good Pitch, in partnership with Sundance and Britdoc, has raised more than $7.5 million in philanthropic funding to support filmmaking for social change.

This year’s selection of films sees the return of That Sugar Film’s creator Damon Gameau as well as Gayby Baby’ director Maya Newell.   

Executive director of Good Pitch Malinda Wink told Pro Bono Australia News she was excited by the mix of old and new talent.

“In this particular state there’s a mixture of emerging filmmakers and established talent, which is really interesting,” Wink said.  

“We’ve got new, fresh voices coming into the domain and putting their stories on screen.”

The working titles for the 2016 films selected are:

  • Dying to Live (on organ donation) director / producer Richard Todd, producer Ben McNeill, executive producer Janine Hosking
  • Ghosthunter (on adult survivors of trauma) director Ben Lawrence, producer Rebecca Bennett, executive producer Margie Bryant
  • Guilty (on the death penalty and human rights) directors Matthew Bate and Matthew Sleeth, producer and impact producers Maggie Miles and Rebecca Summerton Production Company: Savage Films.
  • Homeward Bound (on women in science) director Ili Bare, producer Greer Simpkin, executive producer David Jowsey.
  • Wurdurd / Kids (on early education and intervention, and Indigenous governance) director Maya Newell, producer Sophie Hyde
  • 2040 (on sustainability and innovation) writer / director Damon Gameau, producer Nick Batzias, impact producer Anna Kaplan.   

Wink said Good Pitch films were selected on three criteria.

“We look for outstanding work, we look for compliment to the portfolio and we look for something about the storytelling that’s revealing something new or offering an insight that’s useful in terms of where that particular conversation about that particular issue needs to go,” she said.  

To set this year’s selection apart from the 13 other Good Pitch films, the subject matter for 2016 is looking at issues of the future.

“This year we’ve got more of a future focus in our slate, so there’s films about envisioning what 2040 could look like if we made decisions now in terms of environment, sustainability, innovation,” Wink said.

“We’re looking at the role women have in science and what we miss out on if we don’t allow women to the table in terms of of important, scientific endeavour and some of the big challenges we’re facing in the world.

“And the others delve into the kind of Australia we are and who we want to be.

“The organ donations film is really interesting because Australia is leading the way on transplant surgery in the world, but we also have one of the lowest organ donation rates in the world. 

“Guilty offers a lens for us to look at Australia’s relationship with the Asia-Pacific region through the story of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan and builds the case against the death penalty in the region. It’s an important film from a human rights perspective.”

She said the impact of Good Pitch films was “well and truly beyond our expectations”, contributing to informing policy, forging strategic, cross-sector partnerships and challenging long-held views.

“It’s different for every one [film] actually. So we’re looking to shift consciousness, change behaviour, influence the policy arena. Depending on the different films there’s very different impact and outreach goals,” she said.

“We’ve released films like That Sugar Film, which has been extraordinarily successful not only in Australia but across the world in terms of shifting consciousness and drawing attention to the problem of sugar in our food.

“Gayby Baby had a really important role in shifting the agenda for LGBTIQ in Australia… The big contribution of that film was to our understanding of diversity of families in Australia.

“Frackman when it came out it connected obviously with the campaign against coal seam gas. As the film was being made 80 per cent of New South Wales was covered in coal and coal seam gas licences, and now we’re sitting at about 5 per cent.”

Good Pitch films On Richard’s Side and Zach’s Ceremony have also been selected for screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival, which opens on Thursday.

“The additional attention on those films through the festivals and through press aligned with those festivals just helps those films and their message travel further, so it’s a wonderful endorsement of the work and the talent of the filmmakers that Good Pitch works with,” Wink said.

Pro Bono Australia is a Good Pitch community partner.


Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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