PUBLISHED19 Dec 2017
Documentary Australia Foundation is turning 10!
As we approach our tenth anniversary, we find ourselves reflecting on what we’ve achieved over the decade and why we remain as passionate and dedicated to the work as we were ten years ago - probably even more so.
Documentary continues to be one of the most effective ways to contribute to building a more compassionate society. The deeply personal stories of many of those within our communities are often unknown. Stories that tell us how people fled from their countries, live with disability, cope with tragedy, contribute in heroic ways to environmental change, or stories that share the inspiration when people write, paint, act and sing our collective experience as humans – these are the stories that connect and change us.
At Documentary Australia, we are committed to helping documentaries be made and seen. Not just because they are a treasured art form, but because of what they can make happen in society.
It isn’t the documentary alone that changes the world. It is how the documentary aligns with the aims and objectives of the many not for profits who are working at the coal face of the most pressing issues in our community. Collective impact happens when we surround films with partners who carry them into their worlds and use them to raise awareness and activate social action. Films bring to life the stories that those in the social sector are working with daily – violence against women, struggles with mental health, youth unemployment and disadvantage, refugee experiences of trauma and isolation, environmental issues and the transformation that art allows.
How are the films creating impact?
Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe is being used with partners who are front line workers with refugees and women survivors of violence, such as the police, social workers, councillors, human rights advocates, legal services, medical services and schools. The impact goals aim to change attitudes, deepen understanding and build empathy to contribute towards a culture of respect for women. The film was generously supported by One Hundred Women – a group dedicated to breaking the silence, deepening understanding and building empathy towards women who have experienced violence and abuse.
Gayby Baby played an essential role in humanising the marriage equality debate taking us into the lives of same-sex parented families and hearing the children’s perspectives.
Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation revealed the addictive design of the poker machine and
re-ignited the campaign to reduce harm caused by pokie addiction. The film has catalysed the support of over 200 partner organisations working with the social cost of gambling and has spawned the Proudly Pokie Free campaign, the next generation working towards pokie free venues.
Blue has shown us how industrial scale fishing, habitat destruction, species loss and pollution are irretrievably altering the nature of our oceans. The impact campaign engages “ocean guardians” to work with key partner organisations to reduce plastics, advocate for sustainable seafood, and advocate for marine sanctuaries.
What we’ve achieved over ten years?
Over the last 10 years, we have sown the seeds of a new idea, seen them take root and are now witnessing rapid growth and excitement to engage in our model. With hundreds of partnerships bringing hundreds of documentaries to diverse audiences, we are at a critical point of growth.
Looking ahead, with the wisdom of hindsight, what have we learnt?
We’ve learnt that both funders and filmmakers need support along the way – these documentaries don’t just happen without the governance, passion, commitment and guidance of our small team here at Documentary Australia Foundation. We search for the best projects, we align the films with the aims of discerning funders, we curate outreach partnerships with the right mix of people, we offer strong financial governance for donors and we inform education resources and impact strategies. We make it possible for these films to the have the kind of impact that changes lives. The greatest success has come from those projects where we have held the hands of our donors and our filmmakers.
But to do this, we need core support.
As the success of our model has grown, so too has the demand on our expertise and support.
For our tenth anniversary, we are launching our 10x10x10 campaign. We are inviting 100 supporters to pledge $10k per annum. To begin, our aim is to raise $1million per annum for the next three years.
Over the next three years we will be able to:
• Embed more documentaries at the heart of social impact campaigns – across our six priority areas – environment, human rights/social justice, indigenous issues and culture, youth and education, health and wellbeing and the arts.
• Co-ordinate powerful coalitions of partners in the social sector placing documentary at the core of the issue areas, giving our not for profit partners tools to use for their aims and supporting the films with the collective impact that these pathways to audience provide.
• Scale and work more effectively digitally with online resources, screening programs and events that reach broad audiences with targeted impact aims.
• Sustained and reliable core support is enormously valuable. It allows organisations to stick with it over time, to be persistent, to learn and gain experience and build momentum and capacity. It provides the security needed so we can focus completely and strategically on the work itself.