'Stories in Stone'.

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) has revealed the 15 teams that will take part in its international pitching showcase, The FACTory.

Now in its sixth year, the annual event for new documentary and factual projects will be held online, giving selected participants the opportunity to present their work in front of the largest contingent of international decision-makers to participate in AIDC, including funders, buyers, broadcasters, sales agents, and distributors.

Shortlisted teams for The FACTory will pitch across three strands: Central Showcase, New Talent Showcase and Rough Cut Showcase. 

Alice Burgin, AIDC CEO and conference director, said the 15 projects selected for 2021 were “exceptionally strong and exciting”.

“Our aim is to help these teams make valuable connections with our international decision-makers and take the first or second step towards making these ambitious factual productions,” she said.

All projects in The FACTory 2021 will be eligible to win pitch prizes, including the Finch Prize, which recognises and supports documentary storytelling from culturally diverse filmmakers.

The prize comprises four weeks of in-kind post-production facilities and/or services by Finch H in Sydney – including grade, online, and mastering to the value of $45,000 AUD.

Also on offer is the chance to participate in Doc Edge (New Zealand), providing two complimentary All-Access Passes to Screen Edge Forum; Hot Docs (Canada), providing a complimentary pass for one project to the 2021 event; and Sheffield Doc/Fest (United Kingdom), providing two complimentary industry accreditations for one project to the next festival, which will be delivered in a hybrid format in June 2021.

This year will feature a separate prize for the New Talent Showcase, in which one team will be awarded two complimentary passes to Sunnyside of the Doc (France), plus a 2-hour online mentoring session.

AIDC 2021 runs February 28 – March 3 in Melbourne. Click here for more information.

Cleaning Trauma.

The project teams selected to participate in The FACTory at AIDC 2021 include:


The story of Delhi’s apocalyptic air and escalating communal violence is woven together by an unlikely figure – the black kite, and its human entanglements.

Director: Shaunak Sen

Producer: Aman Mann



The Philippines’ biggest newsroom is killed by the government. As owners bargain to save it, a journalist fears what the price may be.

Director: Chiara Zambrano

Producers: Chuck Gutierrez and Baby Ruth Villarama



Cleaning Trauma follows the journey of larger-than-life trauma cleaning business owner Sandra Pankhurst, as she begins a search for her birth mother and reinvents herself as an icon for resilience.

Director: Lachlan Mcleod

Producers: Charlotte Wheaton & David Elliot-Jones



When widespread corruption, abuse and sexual assault is uncovered at the Gloriavale Christian Community, one man sets out to save his family and bring the powerful cult to their knees.

Director: Noel Smyth

Producer: Fergus Grady

(Australia, New Zealand)


After arriving in Chile and inhabiting the old house my grandparents abandoned in exile during the military dictatorship, the ghosts of an open family wound start appearing at night.

Director: Gabriela Pena

Producer: Picho García



People with disabilities are among the most discriminated against in Bolivia. Fed up with being ignored, a group marches across the Andes to speak to the President.

Director: Violeta Ayala

Producer: Dan Fallshaw

(Australia, Bolivia, USA)


A Scottish artist with a brain tumour creates a comic to prepare his loved ones for his death, whilst the pandemic forces him into isolation, trapping his partner in America.

Director: Will Hewitt

Director/Producer: Austen McCowan

Executive Producer: Amy Hardie

(United Kingdom, USA)


An intimacy coordinator – hired to choreograph Hollywood sex scenes and keep actors safe on set – aims to change her industry in the wake of the #MeToo movement but begins to question whether she really is able to protect the actors she works with.

Director: Kate Blackmore

Producers: Bethany Bruce and Daniel Joyce

(Australia, USA, United Kingdom)


An ecological love story that connects the dots between the symbiotic relationship of Australia’s fragile Alpine ecosystem and its iconic moth. Like a stack of cards, if this tiny insect at the bottom of the food chain fails to adapt to a warming planet, the entire biosphere could collapse.

Director: Grania Kelly

Producer: Veronica Fury



In 1977 Nora Cortiñas’ son was kidnapped by Argentina’s dictatorship. During her forty-year search for him, Nora is transformed – from a conservative ‘housewife’ into a trailblazing activist and celebrated icon – inspiring a new generation to fight for their democracy.

Director: Jayson McNamara

Producers: Daniel Joyce & Rebecca Bennett

(Argentina, Australia)


Three environmental crusaders confront murder, betrayal and their own demons as they are tested like never before in their battle to save an island paradise in the Philippines.

Director: Karl Malakunas

Producers: Marty Syjuco & Michael Collins

(Australia, USA, Philippines)


A Malaysian Muslim queer punk band, Shh…Diam! led by transman Faris Saad are fighting for a space to exist through their music, against conservative traditions and religious boundaries.

Director: Yihwen Chen

Producers: Catherine Chan, Alex Lee



A divorced Hasidic rabbi, living alone in Hong Kong, attempts to find a Hasidic wife despite the odds while traveling the region practising the age-old custom of circumcising Jewish babies.

Director: Sadie Granberg

Producer: Shmuel Junger

(Israel, Hong Kong, Philippines, India)


For 75,000+ years, Aborigines encoded knowledge into mythological stories, ensuring the Elders’ wisdom transferred through generations. These crucial lessons are still taught today – now western science is learning too.

Director: Mark Jones

Producers: Naomi Cleaver & Mitch Torres



Throughout the 1930s a gang of Italian criminals terrorise the migrant Italian communities in northern Australia with extortion, kidnap, bombing and murder – growing in strength until those targeted fight back.

Director: Kriv Stenders

Producers: Alan Erson & Adam Grossetti

(Australia, Italy, USA)

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