The Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), Doc Society, and the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC), in partnership with Screen NSW, have launched New Perspectives Pitch Lab, a new training initiative for emerging non-fiction talent with a Social Impact project in development or production.

Applications for the lab are now open.

The New Perspectives Pitch Lab aims to empower non-fiction storytellers to pursue and build support for the stories they seek to tell. The initiative is looking for stories that offer a rare insight into the under-represented and overlooked; stories from those who see more than what’s shown in the common zeitgeist; stories that break barriers and explore nuance over polarity.

The creators behind global initiatives such as Good Pitch, Climate Story Lab, and the Impact Field Guide, Doc Society are dedicated to the impact of art and the art of impact. Malinda Wink, Global Director, Good Pitch, on behalf of Doc Society, said, “Doc Society is proud to partner with AFTRS and AIDC to offer the New Perspectives Pitch Lab to support emerging Australian story-tellers. The Lab forms part of Doc Society’s global work to support creative and strategic approaches to story-telling and impact. We believe that nurturing a diversity of perspectives will offer new insight into the complex issues that we face, and the solutions we propose to deliver social and environmental justice.”

AIDC, Australia’s premier event for documentary and factual content servicing the screen and digital media industries, will take place from 28 February to 3 March 2021. Alice Burgin, CEO, AIDC said, “If ever there was a year to remind us of the urgent need for documentary storytelling to affect change, it is surely 2020. In a world of chaos, AIDC is honoured to be working with so many like-minded organisations to ensure that new voices with bold ideas are provided with an opportunity to continue their pursuit for truth, justice, and transparency.”

AFTRS Head of Documentary, Richard Welch, said: “AFTRS is thrilled to be partnering with Doc Society, AIDC and Screen NSW on the New Perspectives Pitch Lab. Doc Society is a global leader in the impact space, helping to connect great films to global audiences, harnessing the power of documentaries into tangible change. The New Perspectives initiative encourages early career filmmakers to approach stories from a new point of view, and find new ways to engage audiences about the issues that matter most today.”

Head of Screen NSW, Grainne Brunsdon, said: “Screen NSW is excited to partner with Doc Society, AFTRS and AIDC to provide fresh and innovative training opportunities for a new generation of documentary filmmakers. This initiative is designed to hothouse emerging key creatives to remain competitive from both a funding and pitching perspective, both domestically and internationally, during this challenging time for the screen industry. We look forward to the wide range of unique and distinctive stories that will emerge over time.”

New Perspectives Pitch Lab is calling for applications from around Australia from emerging story-tellers or storytellers that are changing genre or platform on any theme or subject; and is strongly encouraging applications that explore issues such as democracy, environment, economic and racial justice.

The Pitch Lab is open to projects from across the non-fiction landscape – from observational, character-driven stories, to hybrid and essay films, to podcasts and series for television or online.

The Pitch Lab consists of five online coaching and development sessions and an online pitch event with mentors including Malinda Wink, Global Director of Good Pitch, Doc Society. Participants develop their project pitch in group and individual sessions and pitch to an industry panel for feedback. The focus on the pitch training is to support participants to develop strategies and pathways for non-traditional access to audience and finance for projects that have the potential for an impact campaign. Individuals or teams of two can participate in the pitch lab.

One team will be selected for pitching opportunities at the 2021 AIDC, including two complimentary all-access passes.

Applications close Friday 30 October 2020.