Impact and Evaluation
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTARIES FOR POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE
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:
How we are maximising impact
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. Read more about our programs, initiatives and success stories here.
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.
The story and the capacity for impact does not end when the documentary does.
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.