Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) announces 2022 program

AAR-AIDC-Under-the-VolcanoThe Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) has announced the full program for its first-ever hybrid event – including over 40 sessions, more than 90 speakers and 70-plus industry decision makers – taking place in-person at ACMI Melbourne, and simultaneously online, from 6 – 9 March – with an online-only international marketplace 10 – 11 March 2022.

The 2022 program features leading talents from across the screen and digital media industries, including Jonas Poher Rasmussen, whose Oscar®-shortlisted hybrid animated documentary Flee has received over 50 international awards and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize; Chapman and Maclain Way, the filmmaking brothers responsible for Netflix smash hit docu-series Wild Wild Country and Untold; and Academy Award®-winning Australian filmmaker Eva Orner (Taxi to the Dark Side, Chasing Asylum, Burning).

Also on offer legendary independent producer and former co-head of movies at Amazon Studios, Ted Hope; investigative filmmaker Nanfu Wang, director of Academy Award®-shortlisted In the Same Breath, and One Child Nation; digital evangelist and co-head of documentary at TIME Studios, Loren Hammonds; and producers Darren Dale and Jacob Hickey of the acclaimed and prolific production house Blackfella Films (First Contact, Filthy Rich and Homeless, the Books that Made Us).

Other notable international guests include Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas, Academy Award®-shortlisted directors of Writing with Fire, Mahalia Cohen from US streamer Topic, Janet Han Vissering of Nat Geo Wild, Aloke Devichand of Netflix, Nick Solowski of Canada’s Blue Ant Media, Victoria Noble of Discovery, New Zealand filmmaker Florian Habicht, and May Abdalla and Kirsty Jennings of innovative UK-based XR studio Anagram, who will be running an interactive storytelling workshop as part of AIDC’s Doc.Lab.Interact program.

AIDC 2022 sees the biggest lineup of decision makers from global streamers including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Topic and ESPN as well as new partners and institutions participating for the first time to launch new initiatives and opportunities for documentary makers including Australian streamer Stan, as well as philanthropic organisation the Judith Neilson Institute and philanthropic doc fund Shark Island Institute.

AIDC 2022’s central theme – Bearing Witness – frames the conference and its sessions, considering how documentaries have continued to bring us vital stories from the frontlines and the margins during unprecedented times. The act, art and impact of Bearing Witness will be explored via sub-themes:

On the Record (investigative documentary and interrogation); Truth to Power (films for change, accountability and impact), Moments in Time (crafting observation, capturing the everyday); Documenting History (memories of the present, archives for the future); and Future Visions (innovation, regeneration and potential futures).

“As we launch the AIDC 2022 program, we celebrate and pay tribute to the ways in which our documentary and factual storytellers have continued to adapt and innovate in the face of ongoing challenges, bearing witness to and bringing us stories from all corners of the globe,” said Natasha Gadd, AIDC CEO / Creative Director.

“We are thrilled to announce such a word-class program of speakers, sessions and screenings, guaranteed to entertain and inspire. Not to mention the incredible lineup of local and international decision makers as part of the industry program, set to drive creative and business outcomes, and contribute to the sustainability, recovery and growth of our industry.”

Jonas Poher Rasmussen: the Art of Nonfiction

Hear from director of the Academy Award®-shortlisted Flee and this year’s most celebrated documentarian, Jonas Poher Rasmussen, as he discusses documentary storytelling in non-traditional forms and the art of animation. Presented by Film Victoria.

In the Ring with the Way Brothers
Meet the most talked-about docuseries producers Chapman and Maclain Way (Wild Wild Country, Untold) as we discuss how to successfully craft provocative stories of the past. Presented by Netflix

Double Exposure: Navigating Risk and Truth in Investigative Documentary with Nanfu Wang
Join leading investigative filmmaker Nanfu Wang, director of the Academy Award®-shortlisted In the Same Breath, as she discusses the craft and risk of filming some of her most daring scenes. Presented by Film Victoria.

Hope vs. Reality: In-conversation with Ted Hope
Join trailblazing producer and former Co-Head of Movies at Amazon Studios, Ted Hope, as he provides invaluable insights into the world of global streaming platforms. Presented by Film Victoria.

Eva Orner: Agent for Change
Academy Award®-winning Australian filmmaker Eva Orner discusses pushing boundaries and how to survive (and thrive) on a global stage in an ever-evolving industry. Presented by ACMI.

The Digital Future of Documentaries with Loren Hammonds
Seasoned media expert and digital evangelist Loren Hammonds takes us on a journey into the world of immersive storytelling and experiencing documentaries. Presented by Fim Victoria.

In Conversation with Blackfella Films, Darren Dale and Jacob Hickey
Join Blackfella Films producers Darren Dale and Jacob Hickey in conversation as they take us through the last eight years of their formidable partnership. Presented by Screen NSW.

In addition to AIDC 2022’s Spotlight Sessions, the program includes an array of inspiring local and international guests and over 40 sessions devoted to business, innovation, craft and more, each linked by the 2022 conference sub-themes.

On the Record sessions:
The Power of Conviction: Audio Investigations and the Art of The Interview

Leading Australian investigative audio creators Osman Faruqi, Marc Fennell, Ruby Jones and Camille Bianchi share insights into uncovering story and the art of effective interviewing techniques.

Journalism vs. Documentary: Balancing Integrity with Creativity
2022 Academy Award®-shortlisted directors Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas, (Writing with Fire), and Nanfu Wang (In the Same Breath) join Yaara Bou Melham, award-winning Australian director of Unseen Skies, for this not-to-be-missed interrogation of investigative storytelling. Presented by Judith Neilson Institute.

Introducing: Stan Originals
A discussion of new opportunities for documentary and factual commissions on Stan, followed by a spotlight on a new Stan Originals documentary in collaboration with 60 Minutes, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, with investigative journalist Nick McKenzie and filmmaker Bentley Dean. Presented by Stan.

Truth to Power sessions:
Collaboration vs. Consultation: Moving Towards Better Practice in Indigenous Storytelling
Working with Indigenous stories and storytellers? Hear from First Nations practitioners Gillian Moody (Kalori Productions), Jodie Bell (Ramu Productions), Mitch Stanley (Causeway Films) and Angela Bates (Screen Australia) on ethical cross-cultural filmmaking, best practice and cultural safety. Presented by Film Victoria.

Opportunity, influence, ethics, compromise? Philanthropy, investment and documentary filmmaking
A conversation on documentary funding in Australia – where the money’s coming from, its real-world impacts and what considerations filmmakers can take into account when applying for different funds. With Alex Kelly (Echotango).

Women and Wildlife – Making Waves in Specialist Factual
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we shine a spotlight on women calling the shots in Specialist Factual, including Janet Han Vissering Nat Geo), Colette Beaudry (SeaLight Productions), and Bettina Dalton (Wildbear Entertainment). Presented by Screen Tasmania.

Documenting History sessions:
Playback: Crafting Music Docs and Pathways To Licensing

A panel of esteemed local music doc makers, including Cody Greenwood (Under the Volcano), Philippa Bateman (Wash My Soul in the Rivers Flow), Carolina Sorensen (I’m Wanita), and Jonathan Alley (Love in Bright Landscapes) discuss the art of bringing music legends to life and navigating complex licensing deals. Presented by Getty Images.

Making History: Reimagining History and Arts at the ABC
The ABC explores new and innovative creative approaches to stories that intersect two genres; art and history and introduce their new groundbreaking programs for 2022. Presented by ABC.

Moments in Time sessions:
Cinematic Observations: The Craft of Capturing the Moment
A deep dive into recent character led observational documentaries Palazzo Di Cozzo, The Department, James & Isey and Anonymous Club with some of our finest contemporary obdoc filmmakers, including Madeleine Martiniello, Sascha Ettinger Epstein, and Florian Habicht.

Social Experiments (and how to conduct them) in Factual
A discussion of audience curiosity, ethical practice and impact opportunities in the intriguing world of social experiment filmmaking, with Joseph Maxwell (SBS), Rachel Edwardson, and Julie Hanna (ABC)

Future Visions sessions:
Potential Futures: NFTs, the Creator Economy and New Pathways to Financing
Tim Webster (Hey Pixels), Carrie Weprin (Optimist Films) and Chris Kamen (Hyper Legal) demystify NFTs, DAOs and the mysterious world of the creator economy.

Stories Without Borders: Innovation Artists in Focus
Explore documentary’s limitless potential with three new genre-bending works from innovative Australian and New Zealand creators Michael Beets, Angie Abdilla (Old Ways, New), and Tanu Gago (FAFSWAG).

These and many more sessions sit alongside themed meet-ups for networking and our informal yet ever-informative Upskill sessions with industry partners like Getty Images, Screenrights, 21-19 and Xe Money Transfer.

In addition to its expansive program of sessions, AIDC will also continue its tradition as the must-attend marketplace for documentary and factual projects with a formidable contingent of decision makers taking part in the 2022 event.

More than 70 decision makers from around the world will be looking for new projects to support and content to commission, including 30West, ABC, ACtual Films, Al Jazeera English, Amazon, ARTE G.E.I.E., Autlook Filmsales, BBC, CAA, Cinetic Media, Doc Society, CAT&Docs, CBC, Dogwoof, Hulu, IDFA, LiSTNR Original Podcasts, Madman Entertainment, Netflix, NHK, SBS, Stan, Sundance Institute and more.

AIDC producer delegates can meet these decision makers through the Cut to the Chase curated pitch meetings program, which has a deadline for project submissions of Sunday 30 January 2022.

Presented by ACMI in association with AIDC – a public screening program will also run in parallel with AIDC 2022 and feature key AIDC speaking guests. These screenings are open to anyone and tickets can be purchased through ACMI.

  • Ablaze, featuring a live Q&A with Tiriki Onus + Alec Morgan – Saturday 5 March: 3.00pm
  • Under the Volcano, featuring a live Q&A with Cody Greenwood – Saturday 5 March: 6.30pm
  • Burning, with live Zoom Q&A with Eva Orner – Sunday 6 March: 1.30pm
  • In the Same Breath, featuring a Q&A with Nanfu Wang – Sunday 6 March: 4:15pm

AIDC 2022 will also see the return of a number of popular initiatives and programs, including:

  • Innovation Day, presented by Film Victoria, exploring the conference theme of Future Visions on Sunday 6 March with a full day devoted to non-traditional documentary storytelling. Focusing on innovation, regeneration and potential futures for the sector. AIDC’s Doc.Lab.Interact storytelling lab, hosted by award-winning XR studio Anagram will also debut as part of the day.
  • AIDC’s Indigenous Creators Program, a strand of sessions for and by First Nations documentary and factual practitioners, providing new opportunities to upskill, network, and pitch market-ready projects to decision makers seeking Indigenous-led stories
  • The Leading Lights Program, now in its fifth year, brings new learning, networking and pitching opportunities for emerging and culturally and linguistically diverse practitioners, including the debut of an alumni program. Presented by ECU and AFTRS.

And finally, AIDC 2022 will see the presentation of the second annual AIDC Awards celebrating outstanding achievement in Australian documentary and factual, and the 23rd $5,000 Stanley Hawes Award for contribution to the sector, in a special celebration on 9 March 2022 at ACMI.

Registration for AIDC 2022 is open now, with both hybrid (in-person and online) and virtual (online only) pass types available, opening up AIDC’s many opportunities to industry players in any location across the globe.

Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) will run 6 – 9 March 2022 in person at ACMI, Melbourne and online, with an online-only international marketplace 10 – 11 March 2022. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Under the Volcano (film still)