The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) announced the full program for its 2024 event – including over 40 sessions, more than 70 speakers and 100-plus industry decision-makers – taking place in-person at ACMI in Melbourne from 3 – 6 March 2024 with an online-only international marketplace 7 – 8 March 2024.
Inspired by the theme Frontlines: Shaping the Future of Documentary & Factual, the program features talent working at the cutting edge of every facet of documentary and factual, including Oscar®-nominated and Oscar®-winning filmmakers, ground-breaking Australian and international storytellers, and some of the industry’s most successful business insiders.
“In a time of radical change – where the rise of each dawn poses new challenges and possibilities in the pursuit of truth and courageous and authentic representations of the world around us – documentary and factual storytelling has never been more vital,” said Natasha Gadd, CEO / Creative Director, AIDC.
“At AIDC 2024 we are framing the frontlines of our sector as both a site of progress and resistance where we shape what’s to come and defend what has come before. We are thrilled to announce such a world-class program of speakers, sessions and screenings for the 2024 program, all of which are guaranteed to challenge, celebrate and inspire.”
“Joined by an incredible line-up of local and international decision makers as part of the industry program, AIDC 2024 is set to drive new creative and business outcomes, and pave the way for the sustainability, recovery and growth of our industry,” said Gadd.
Leading AIDC’s Spotlight speaker line-up are award-winning director and nonfiction pioneer R.J. Cutler and his longtime producer partner Trevor Smith of This Machine Filmworks, the creative team behind hit documentaries like The September Issue, Big Vape: The Rise & Fall of Juul, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, Listen to Me Marlon, Belushi, and The World According to Dick Cheney.
Joining them on the Spotlight sessions bill is writer, director and producer, Rachel Perkins, one of Australia’s most significant storytellers and founder of Blackfella Films, responsible for landmark documentary series First Australians and The Australian Wars; and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, filmmaker and war correspondent Mstyslav Chernov, director of the multi-award-winning and dual 2024 Oscar®-nominated documentary 20 Days in Mariupol.
Other highlights include Spotlight sessions with Kaouther Ben Hania, Tunisian director of the 2024 Oscar®-nominated and 2023 Cannes Film Festival Best Documentary winner Four Daughters; and Luke Lorentzen (Midnight Family) and Ashleigh McArthur, director and co-producer/additional editor respectively of the 2024 Oscar®-shortlisted A Still Small Voice.
Plus, further Spotlight Sessions include an expert deep-dive into factual business with Shaminder Nahal, Head of Specialist Factual at the UK’s Channel 4, commissioning and working across titles like The Piano, SAS: Who Dares Wins, and Depp v. Heard; and a focus on the art of documentary score composition with Nainita Desai, multi-award-winning composer and sound designer for acclaimed nonfiction titles including the Critics Choice Award-winning The Deepest Breath, the Oscar®-nominated and Cannes-winning For Sama, the Sundance Audience Award-winning The Reason I Jump, and the Emmy-nominated Body Parts.
On the marketplace front, AIDC 2024 will see participation by an extensive line-up of decision makers from global streamers, including Amazon Prime Video, Stan, Hulu, DocPlay, ESPN and Docsville. Plus, representatives from local and international broadcasters, such as National Geographic, Channel 4, BBC Storyville, ARTE G.E.I.E, PBS, POV, CBC, Sky New Zealand, NHK Enterprises, DW, EBS Korea, TRT World, ABC, SBS and NITV.
Not to mention studios, distributors and producer-distributors for some of the world’s most interesting documentaries and releases, including Time Studios, Red Bull Studios, Sandbox Films, Autlook Films, TVF International, BossaNova, Abacus Media Rights, MetFilm Sales and many others.
For those seeking new pathways to funding and financing, AIDC 2024 will also host an array of representatives from leading documentary development funds and foundations, like the International Documentary Association (IDA), Impact Partners, Catapult Film Fund, The Whickers, Participant, International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA), Documentary Australia, Doc Society, Shark Island Foundation and more.
And as a result of a suite of exciting industry initiatives and partnerships, including pitch partners Screen Australia, Shark Island Foundation and The Post Lounge; Awards partners AFTRS, Deakin Motion Lab and Film Finances; FACTory pitch prize partners; and Leading Lights industry donors, AIDC 2024 will unlock over $275,000 in project development, awards, prizes and professional development opportunities for new nonfiction content and support for documentary practitioners.
Through its central theme – Frontlines: Shaping The Future of Documentary & Factual – AIDC 2024 will highlight the integrity, urgency, and creative potential of nonfiction storytelling. This year, we explore how creators, industry leaders and advocates are actively shaping what’s to come, while also defending against challenges to the very foundations of practice. Turning our lens to the Frontlines allows us to see how practitioners strive to secure the future of the sector, ensure its sustainability, and pave the way for unique, bold and engaging nonfiction stories.
The conference will explore the following subthemes through Spotlight sessions, industry panels, screenings and initiatives: Edge of Reality (innovation, new technologies and future visions); Courage of Conviction (frontline storytelling, impact and changemaking); Future of Truth (authenticity, integrity and truth-telling); Persistence of Vision (craft, creative nonfiction and experimentation in form); Depth of Field (access, inclusion and representation); and State of Play (policy change, sector reform and sustainability).
“AIDC is back in 2024 with another electric program jam-packed with panels featuring world renowned talent, unmissable screenings, and a bustling industry marketplace. VicScreen is proud to continue our long-standing partnership with the conference, supporting vital business and development opportunities for both local and international filmmakers,” said Caroline Pitcher, CEO, VicScreen.
“We can’t wait to welcome AIDC delegates back to Australia’s museum of screen culture! As a hub for connecting people, communities, technology and ideas, ACMI is proud to be the continuing home for non-fiction storytellers to come together to discuss the future of documentary and factual,” said Seb Chan, Director & CEO, ACMI.
“Our state-of-the-art facilities and technical expertise will be showcased across four days of the conference, backed by a film program of extraordinary non-fiction stories at ACMI cinemas.”
The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) takes place in-person at ACMI from 3 – 6 March with an online-only international marketplace 7 – 8 March 2024. For more information and full program, visit: www.aidc.com.au for details.
Image: Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry – courtesy of This Machine Filmworks