Documentary Australia

Impact and Evaluation


As we all know, great documentaries are more than an informative or entertaining peek into another world.

Documentaries open our eyes to pressing, and often invisible, issues of our time. They guide us to reflect on the past through the eyes of the present. They confront us with tragedy and inspire us with resilience, and they invite us to consider our role as individuals and how we can take action for a better world.

Documentaries are an agent of change.

Documentaries are highly effective at:

Their unique form is increasingly important in our post-truth world. Together, they help us process this weird and wonderful world and shape our collective consciousness.

At Documentary Australia, we have seen the power of this artform when leveraged by strongly aligned partners alongside strategic impact campaigns for change.

Our Strategic Goal is for documentary films to be sought after and embedded in social change work. We want them to not only build community awareness but push the various levers of change to galvanise action on important social issues.

We are committed to not only maximise impact, but also to measure this impact. We want to share the success stories of our sector as well as the lessons learnt along the way.

How we are maximising impact

“To make a real difference on just about any issue, telling a story and getting it seen by the right audience is one of the most effective things you can do.”
Mitzi Goldman

Working to maximise the impact of our approved documentary films is part of our core business.

Over the last 15 years Documentary Australia has paved the way for philanthropic funders to tax-effectively support Australian documentaries with aligned missions, and worked with the sector to increase the sophistication of documentary impact campaigns.

We have created a thriving impact partner network of like-minded organisations, change-makers, educators and decision-makers and continue to foster recognition of the capacity for artful storytelling to contribute to social change.

More recently we have stepped into a leadership role, advocating for the value of documentaries in Australia.

We deliver signature capacity building programs with a focus on using films to activate change, and a suite of workshops to build foundational knowledge and share expertise from our in-house team of industry professionals.

We provide individual project support and mentorship, as well as a raft of learning resources, tools and templates to support documentary filmmakers and their partners to use documentary films to achieve positive social and environmental outcomes. 


     → Environmental Accelerator

     → Impact Producer Program

     → SheDoc

     → Filmmaker Resources

     → Impact Partner Network

     → Films in Focus

     → Leadership and Advocacy

     → Film Case Studies

How we are measuring impact

Our evaluation work aims to support the organisation’s strategic goals and operations, equip filmmakers with the knowledge and tools to evaluate their work and build an evidence base for the value of Documentary Australia, documentary films and their impacts in Australia. Embedding an evaluation framework across our organisation, alongside a comprehensive film framework and filmmaker capacity-building strategy, is an international first for the screen and documentary sector.

Our Evaluation Strategy 2022-25 focuses on the following objectives:

The story and the capacity for impact does not end when the documentary does.

Film Evaluation Framework

Measuring the impact of documentaries is an ambitious goal that requires creativity and rigor. Nonetheless, given the unique role that Documentary Australia plays in the sector, it is critical that we have a commitment to evaluative practice.

We support documentary filmmakers to shift beyond the focus on film release and reach metrics, to capture the changes that occur when powerful documentaries are used strategically as tools for engagement and action.

Our Documentary Monitoring & Evaluation Framework helps filmmakers assess the effectiveness of their films in contributing to positive outcomes according to our documentary theory of change.

In 2020, Documentary Australia was Runner Up in Innovation at the Social Impact Measurement Network Award, sponsored by Urbis and the Federal Department of Social Services, for our work to develop this evaluation framework.

In 2022, we partnered with the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University to develop our Framework for environmentally focused films, which will be launched in 2023.

In 2023, we partnered with The Dusseldorp Forum to explore a video-based storytelling method for capturing impact.


     → Evaluation Strategy 2022-2025

     → Our theory of change

     → Evaluation case for support

     → Our Annual Reports

     → Our key results

     → Film Evaluation Framework

     → Film case studies


We use stories to incite action and create impact on vital social issues

Annual Impact Report 2022-2023

In FY22-23, Documentary Australia continued its commitment to empowering filmmakers to create and share compelling narratives to drive meaningful social impact.

The financial year saw a growth in the demand for documentary and the presence of Documentary Australia-supported films across various release options. Our commitment also extends beyond the lens, encompassing partner and industry engagement that elevates the collective impact of our endeavours.

Our dedicated community of donors play a pivotal role in our success. Your generous support enables us to bring powerful stories to life and to create real impact on the issues that matter most.