PUBLISHED24 Nov 2021

Celebrating Impact Doc-list

A special selection of films accompanied by impact videos and case studies which showcases powerful stories and the social impact they can help create.

Stories can help us understand the world around us – they are powerful tools that can transport us and allow us to walk in the shoes of others so that we may learn from their experience.

The seven films selected for this playlist showcase the power of documentary and its innate ability to unite audiences behind a story – a common cause for a better tomorrow.

Be inspired by these films from across our seven impact areas – watch and read about their impact campaigns and how they’ve successfully created positive ripples of change.

Gayby Baby

Synopsis: Kids being raised by same-sex couples are growing in numbers worldwide. We are in a Gayby-Boom. But who are these kids? What do they think about having same-sex parents? And do they face different issues to other kids? At a time when the world is debating marriage equality, these questions are more pertinent than ever. Told from the perspective of the kids, Gayby Baby is intimate and sometimes humorous account of four children and their families.

The story’s impact: The Gayby Baby project continues to fight for change and played a significant role in the successful campaigns for marriage and adoption equality for the LGBTQI+ community in Australia.

The film was shown to politicians and the general public to garner their support and it gave gaybies a voice, rightfully inserting them into this important debate for the first time.

Watch the summary of this impact campaign here.


Watch the film here:

Backtrack Boys

Synopsis: A group of troubled boys are on a perilous course towards jail until they meet up with the free-wheeling jackaroo, Bernie Shakeshaft, and hit the road with his legendary dog jumping team.

This observational documentary, filmed over two years, follows boys in a youth program that Bernie runs from a shed on the outskirts of Armidale, a rural town in Australia. On the road, the boys find their voice, make great friendships and the dogs become national champions. But as the boy’s sleep under the stars at night the trauma is never too far away.

With their survival and futures at stake they must constantly step up, push themselves, support each other and some days can be hard. This inspiring coming of age story reveals the challenges and triumphs these boys face as they try to find their place in the world, and the dogs that help tame their wild ways.

The story’s impact:  Backtrack Boys has been a catalyst for change, inspiring communities across Australia to start similar programs for kids and has helped raise over $50,000 for youth-focused organizations.

The film continues to help educators and social workers show the change that is possible through community-led programs.

Watch the summary of this impact campaign here.


Watch the film here:



Synopsis: The 2040 journey began with award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film). Motivated by concerns about the planet his 4-year-old daughter would inherit, Damon embarked on a global journey to meet innovators and changemakers in the areas of economics, technology, civil society, agriculture, education and sustainability. Drawing on their expertise, he sought to identify the best solutions, available to us now, that would help improve the health of our planet and the societies that operate within it. From marine permaculture to decentralised renewable energy projects, he discovered that people all over the world are taking matters into their own hands.

This journey is the central premise for the documentary ‘2040’, a story of hope that looks at the very real possibility that humanity could reverse global warming and improve the lives of every living thing in the process. It is a positive vision of what ‘could be’, instead of the dystopian future we are so often presented.

The story’s impact: 2040 has become a global sensation, raising over $1.5million for climate change solutions featured in the film.

The film has reached millions of people and helped over 33,000 of them create actionable climate plans to help them reduce their own emissions and join 2040’s regeneration campaign.

Watch the summary of this impact campaign here.


Watch the film here:



Synopsis: Embrace is a social impact documentary that explores the serious issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies. Released in 2016, this film is relevant, relatable, highly engaging – but above all life-changing.

Nominated for the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Best Documentary, Embrace has been seen by millions of people across the world and has created a ripple of positive change.

The story’s impact:  The documentary has now reached millions of people globally and has evolved into The Body Image Movement – an organization that is focused on fighting against the global body-hating epidemic through documentaries, books, online programs, speaking, and educational resources.

Currently, the documentary Embrace Kids is being developed and focused on the relationship children have with their bodies. Asking, why do so many boys and girls hate their bodies and what can we do about it? Find out more here.

Watch a series of testimonials here and hear about the impact this project has had on people’s lives.


Watch the film here:


Ka Ching: Pokie Nation

Synopsis: The Pokies. They’re rigged, they’re addictive and they’re everywhere. Worst of all, they target the poorest Australians. For the first time, the masterminds behind the machines reveal how they’re programmed for addiction. And we show how our governments became the biggest addicts of all.

The story’s impact:   The documentary has been seen by over 1.5 million people worldwide and was a significant tool used by the Alliance for Gambling Reform to create public pressure for legislative reform.

The film has been integral in stripping the social licence away from poker machines, with AFL clubs and supermarkets divesting from pokies

You can read about the film’s impact here in a case study.


Watch the film here:


The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe

Synopsis: The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe is a celebration of the remarkable resilience and spirit of four African women from Eritrea, Kenya, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Aminata, Rosemary, Yordy and Yarrie all fled violence and sexual abuse in their homelands, eventually finding a safe haven in Australia. For years they each held their pain within, until they decided to join a theatre group and speak out.

The film follows the story of these four charismatic and inspirational African women, now living in Australia, who, with the help of acclaimed theatre director Ros Horin, turned their harrowing stories of survival into a joyous theatre of humanity that has filled sold-out theatres from across their new country to the other side of the world.


The story’s impact : The story of these four women has helped empower survivors of sexual assault –  many audience members reported that the film empowered them to tell their own stories of trauma and abuse.

The film has been used at hundreds of community screenings and has helped shift victim-blaming narratives around rape. Instead, it deepens understanding, builds empathy for surviros, and starts conversations around the nature of trauma and healing.

You can read about this project’s impact in a case study here.

Watch the film here:




Synopsis: Ghosthunter is the story of a western Sydney security guard and part-time ghost hunter who has spent two decades searching for his absent father. As a survivor of trauma, he seeks to reconcile his fractured memories and piece together his past. When his search converges with a police investigation, a family secret is exposed — forcing him to confront a brutal past in order to reclaim his future.


The story’s impact:  The film has been used by Universities,  impact partners and allies as a key tool to raise awareness, build capacity for services, and provide trauma-informed training across the sector.

The film was also made into a 4-hour podcast – available worldwide that emphasized the importance of positive police & victim relationships and the need for support for survivors.

You can read more about the film’s impact in their case study here.


Watch the film here: