Documentary Australia

Films in Focus

We are a small team supporting hundreds of filmmakers, donors and partners. Our support is organised at different levels, according to our capacity. We offer insight, knowledge and experience to our documentary filmmakers, we support the philanthropic sector in their giving and we surround great films with aligned partners in the social and corporate sectors.

Everyone has access to use our online resources and to attend workshops and events.

At a higher level, we have two programs of support.


Films in Focus


When we identify strong alignment and potential for donor and audience engagement, we invite films in to work more closely with us through our programs, events and opportunities.

They may be invited to present at our events, shared through newsletters, promoted to our board and various donor circles as documentaries that are on our radar. The alignment is defined by issue area, strong storytelling, engaged partners and a strong filmmaking team. If the alignment is strong we may apply for grants on their behalf and support their fundraising efforts.

Executive Producer Program


Our Executive Producer program is invitation only. We aim to have at least one high profile documentary in each of our seven issue areas and to build a suite of work in each area over time.

We are a small team and the E.P. role is carried out by the CEO with support from the fundraising, impact and evaluation team members. In this program, we actively fundraise for your project and guide you in the design of your impact strategy and campaign. We facilitate round table meetings with partners, provide in-house resources such as impact production, fundraising support, communications and design support, networking and event opportunities, partnership management and project evaluation. We retain a fee of 15% of all donations we raise, which is added to your total goal so you’re not out of pocket.


How do you get invited?

It is hard to be completely specific in answer to this question as all films have different needs and different time frames. What we can say is that we are unlikely to invite a project into our E.P. program if there already is an E.P. attached.

Each invitation comes after much consideration on the value we feel we can add to the project. We consider our capacity, the timing of the planned production, the stage of production, the team involved and most importantly, the potential impact goals and alignment with donors’ interests.

If you are interested in being invited and you think your project meets all the above criteria, feel free to email us with your case for support and a teaser.

For consideration for higher level support, your project must have:

  • A compelling story with a unique angle or unique access (this might include a wonderful character, a great story, incredible access, a nugget of magic)
  • Fits within a Documentary Australia priority issue area (check our seven priority impact areas)
  • A strong impact vision.
  • A defined target audience.

Priority will be given to:

  • Projects that have a teaser or trailer. You are more likely to be successful if a funder can see an example of your film.
  • Projects with developing relationships with impact partners.
  • Projects that are relevant to Documentary Australia’s philanthropic community.
  • Projects that we have the capacity and confidence to add value.
  • Filmmakers who have participated in Documentary Australia’s training programs or exhibit a high level of understanding about how to plan and implement social impact campaigns.
  • Filmmakers who are excited to work with Documentary Australia and impact partners.

You will not be eligible if you have an outstanding report or acquittal for funders on a previous project with us.


Being on our radar

Ways in which we find film projects include:

  • Quarterly application process.
  • Quarterly workshop or webinar.
  • Regular film updates – we put a call out for approved project updates so we can include your screenings and any key announcements in our board papers, newsletters and website.
  • We may contact you for more information to find out more about your project.
  • We notice activity on our site – updates, donations, screening news and events.
  • Notifying and updating us on external funding received and new partnerships is an important way to stay on our radar. We can leverage your efforts.

Individual grant submissions

If you identify a grant that you want to apply for, please contact our grants team ( at least four weeks prior to the submission date. We will need to add financial information to your application and also to review your application. With most applications, we apply the regular grant retention rate of 5% to cover our administration costs.

If we lead on grant applications on your behalf, manage extensive partnership and drafting requirements, or become an E.P. of your project, the retention on donations is 15%. We add this to your target so you are not left out with a deficit on your fundraising goal. This is a cost recovery mechanism to value our time and expertise in helping you reach success. This work takes time, so the time we spend on your project is time we can’t spend on other aspects of the organisation or with other filmmakers. We are a not-for-profit, so as much as possible we operate at cost and seek support to be able to offer subsidised prices.