AIDC ’21 to fete filmmaker Michaela Perske, unveils inaugural awards nominees

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) has recognized filmmaker Michaela Perske, director and principal producer of Pursekey Films, as the recipient of the 21st annual Stanley Hawes Award. The honor is ...
February 10, 2021

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) has recognized filmmaker Michaela Perske, director and principal producer of Pursekey Films, as the recipient of the 21st annual Stanley Hawes Award.

The honor is bestowed upon a person or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the documentary sector in Australia. It pays tribute to its namesake, Stanley Hawes, a prolific factual filmmaker and first producer-in-chief of the Australian Film Board from 1946‐1969. The award, and its AU$5,000 cash prize, recognizes the significant support Hawes provided independent filmmakers in the documentary sector.

Originally trained as a journalist, Perske (pictured) holds more than 20 years of media experience in all areas of radio, print and TV, having won numerous awards for her body of work.

She founded her Sydney-based independent studio, Pursekey Films, in 2013 and has since produced such engaging feature documentary and factual content as Christopher Nelius’ Girls Can’t Surf, Adrian Russell-Wills’ Black Divas, Larissa Behrendt’s After the Apology and Sascha Ettinger Epstein’s Destination Arnold.

Elsewhere, the Melbourne-set conference and market has unveiled the inaugural list of nominees for its AIDC Awards, which will take place in eight cities across Australia and livestreamed to AIDC delegates.

The awards aim to celebrate the talent and expertise of Australian practitioners working within the unscripted television and documentary film industries.

“The response to the inaugural AIDC Awards was absolutely overwhelming, demonstrating how important and necessary celebrating completed documentary and factual works really is,” said Alice Burgin, CEO and conference director of the AIDC, in a statement.

Awards will be presented to 20 nominees across six categories, including Best Feature Documentary ($5,000 cash prize); Best Documentary/Factual Series; Best Documentary/Factual Single; Best Short-Form Documentary ($5,000 cash prize); Best Audio Documentary ($3,000 cash prize); and Best Interactive/Immersive Documentary ($3,000 cash prize).

All awards – including the Stanley Hawes Award – will be presented at closing night ceremonies on March 3 in each Australian state.

The 2021 Australian International Documentary Conference runs Feb. 28 to March 3 as an online event.


The Australian Dream
Daniel Gordon, Good Thing Productions & Passion Pictures, Australia/UK, 2019

Brazen Hussies
Catherine Dwyer, Philippa Campey, Andrea Foxworthy, Film Camp, Australia, 2020

Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra
Nel Minchin, Wayne Blair, Ivan O’Mahoney, In Films, Australia, 2020

The Leunig Fragments
Kasimir Burgess, Philippa Campey, Film Camp, Australia, 2019


Love on the Spectrum
Cian O’Clery, Jenni Wilks, Karina Holden, Northern Pictures Australia, 2019

Miriam Margolyes Almost Australian
Liz Allen, Ross Wilson, Laurie Critchley, Southern Pictures, Australia, 2020

Nial Fulton and Sarah Ferguson, In Films, Australia, 2020


Laurence Billiet in collaboration with Stephen Page, General Strike & Matchbox Pictures, Australia, 2020

Maralinga Tjarutja
Larissa Behrendt, Darren Dale, Jacob Hickey, Blackfella Films, Australia, 2020

Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky
Steven McGregor, Steven Oliver, Anna Grieve, Danielle McLean, Steve Thomas, Kath Symmons, Tamarind Tree Pictures & Roar Film, Australia, 2020


The Fathering Project
Joshua Lee, Alice Wolfe, Australia, 2020

The Loop
Johanis Lyons-Reid, Lorcan Hopper, Tallstoreez Productionz Pty Ltd & Change Media, Australia, 2020

My Body Says
Loani Arman, Danielle Redford, Kim Vecera, Mama Bear Productions, Australia, 2020

Eliya Cohen, Paul Moran, Electric Yak, Australia, 2019


The Eleventh
Alex Mann, ABC Audio Studios, Australia, 2020

Trace: The Informer
Rachael Brown, Josie Taylor, Tim Roxburgh, Martin Peralta, ABC Audio News and Current Affairs, Australia, 2020

Unravel True Crime: Snowball
Ollie Wards, ABC Audio Studios, Australia, 2019


Joseph Purdam, PHORIA, Australia, USA, United Kingdom, 2020.

Mt Resilience
Emma Morris, PHORIA & ABC in partnership with CSIRO & BOM, Australia, 2020

Story Line
Mike Clay, Rebecca Metcalf, John-Paul Marin, The Feed & SBS Creative Labs, Australia, 2020

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.