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Development   /  Bridget Callow-Wright

Democracy Project (working title)

Rigorous, provocative and timely, Democracy Project charts one man’s international odyssey into the hidden rot of our mo


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Craig Reucassel

  • PRODUCER Aline Jacques



Democracy Project is a social impact documentary that follows actor and comedian Christiaan Van Vuuren (Soul Mates; Bondi Hipsters) as he pulls back the curtain on the relationship between money and power in Australia. A funny film about a deeply un-funny problem.

Democracy Project is presented as a classic hero’s journey. Our story tracks the dramatic reversals in Christiaan’s worldview as he embarks on an unlikely adventure into the underworld of Australian politics. The heart of our story lies in Christiaan moving beyond his Australian exceptionalism - a blind-spot which many would struggle to admit, through his genuine desire to make a difference and create a better country for his children and fellow Australians.

Provocative and timely, the film is a wakeup call about the frightening extent to which money has infiltrated politics in our country, why we should care, and ultimately, how we might work together to ensure our democracy is safeguarded from sale to the highest bidder.

Support this project

51.22% funded
  • $550,000.00

  • $281,700.00

  • March 2020

  • 10

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Anonymous $20,000.00
Leonie Van Raay $500.00
Anonymous $1,000.00
Australian Communities Foundation $75,000.00
Susan McKinnon Foundation $25,000.00
Oranges & Sardines Foundation $10,000.00
Australian Communities Foundation $75,000.00
Australian Fairness Fund SubFund of ACF $50,000.00
Paul Wiegard $200.00
Ian Darling AO $25,000.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

The extent to which money has infiltrated our political process, and the non-transparent influence of corporate lobbying, is an issue of growing concern for many Australians. It is a bi-partisan problem that is leading to increasing disillusionment with the democratic process, and with our institutions of government.
Democracy Project aims to shine a light on some of these challenges as well as demonstrate ways to improve fairness, transparency and confidence in our democratic system.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

The extent that money and power have infiltrated our democracy is a bipartisan issue that the Australian public needs to be aware of at this fragile point where we are increasingly divided about politics. Leveraging the power of documentary film, Democracy Project is a tool for overdue political reform. By supporting Australians to better understand the current state of our political system, the film will build pathways for greater democratic engagement and advocacy for a fairer democracy.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

The film’s impact campaign is expected to seek the following key outcomes:
1. Provide strategic support and platform for key partners pursuing critical democratic reforms including: political donation reforms, the establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption at the Federal Level, real time disclosure amd caps of political donations, setting campaign limits, and banning members of parliament from becoming lobbyists for five years.
2. Communities across Australia being provided with practical strategies to participate in democratic renewal.
3. Engage with partners to support democratic institution building including: the role of the judicial system, media and electoral process.
4. Engage young people and renew interest and participation in democratic processes.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

With guidance from Executive Producer, Malinda Wink, we are applying the learnings and networks from Good Pitch Australia to Democracy Project. This format brought together filmmakers with NGOs, foundations, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, corporates, broadcasters and media — to forge powerful alliances around ground breaking films that shift consciousness, behaviour and influence policy on key social justice issues.
Initial conversations with the sector have indicated strong interest in the story and potential to reach a wide audience, including:
• Human Rights Law Centre.
• Transparency International
• Human Rights Commission
• Centre for Public Integrity
• Citizens for Democratic Renewal
• New Democracy Foundation
• Investigative Journalists (eg. Susie Smith); and
• Philanthropic foundations

The resounding feedback is that this project offers a fresh and timely lens on the functioning of our democratic system.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

1. Support initiatives proposed by our stakeholder partners for democratic reform.

2. Build community engagement in democratic processes, especially among young people.

3. Key decision makers support for key reforms, backed by a groundswell of community support calling for action.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We will be guided by the campaign priorities of our stakeholder partners, and by the discovery within the story-telling. Anticipated:
• Creation of a Federal ICAC and a community keenly engaged in its existence and power.
• Increased voter participation in key target groups (POC and young people).
Increased awareness of and participation in democractic processes beyond election day (this will be qualitatively related by our stakeholders, and ABC polling).