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AIDC to aid factual projects based in research, data journalism

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) has unveiled the projects selected for two new partnered pitching initiatives — Reel Smart Academic Pitch, co-presented with the University of Melbourne, and Raw ...
February 12, 2019

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) has unveiled the projects selected for two new partnered pitching initiatives — Reel Smart Academic Pitch, co-presented with the University of Melbourne, and Raw Data, Real Stories, with Google News Initiative.

The Reel Smart Academic Pitch will see academics from the University of Melbourne pitching original research to producers at AIDC to trigger the development of new factual series or one-off documentary projects.

The five projects selected for the Reel Smart Academic Pitch are Framing China, from Anita Archer, which looks at a multi-million dollar market in the West for dissident Chinese contemporary art; Waste Tyre and Flash Flooding Crisis and a Revolutionary Solution, from Mahdi Disfani, about tire waste and the dangers of bushfire and flash flooding in Australia; Is Growing Up In Today’s World Bad for Kids’ Mental Health?, from Lisa Gibbs, about childhood mental illness and intergenerational lifestyle changes; Unfit to Stand Trial: Are Australian Prisons the New Asylums?, from Piers Gooding, about the indefinite detention of accused persons with cognitive disabilities; and DeathTech (pictured), from Hannah Gould, about digital death rites and what it means to die well in the 21st century.

“This initiative presents rich opportunities for our academics that align with the University’s core engagement mission: to extend the reach and impact of interdisciplinary scholarly expertise to the benefit of the boarder community,” said Meredith Martin, associate director of cultural and public engagement chancellery at the University of Melbourne, in a statement.

“Documentary producers and academics have a lot in common: both are committed to developing new and innovative ideas through rigorous research into a project that can actively change the way we understand the world we live in,” added AIDC CEO and conference director Alice Burgin.

Meanwhile, Raw Data, Real Stories brings non-fiction storytellers and journalists together with technologists and data visualization experts to pitch their work. Google News Initiative offers the winning project AU$40,000 in development funds.

The four projects selected for the Raw Data, Real Stories pitch are How Young Australians Really Feel About Climate Change (Junkee Media, Small Multiples), Nation Borders (NITV, SBS Digital), Mapping Disinformation Networks (Yaara Bou Melham, Sandpit), Why Are We Still Failing Victims of Sexual Violence? (The Age).

The Raw Data, Real Stories jury is comprised of Nic Hopkins (lead, Google News Initiative), Astrid Scott (senior producer, ABC R&D) and Nick Evershed (data journalist, The Guardian).

AIDC 2019 takes place March 3 to 6 in Melbourne, with the Reel Smart Academic Pitch session set for March 4 and Raw Data, Real Stories for March 3.

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