The future of documentaries in the digital age is explored in a new website launched by Film Australia, following the successful dialogues generated at this year’s DOCO2012 Dialogues – Documentary and the Digital Future at the Australian International Documentary Conference in February.
The website (www.doco2012.com.au) includes podcasts from all sessions at DOCO2012, plus the three discussion papers presented by Steve Hewlett, Tim Flattery and Shilo McClean at the forum.
DOCO2012 was an initiative launched by Film Australia and was presented jointly with ScreenWest at this year’s AIDC. Documentary makers, broadcasters and policy makers were invited to take part in a free open forum to explore opportunities for film makers in the digital future and what the Australian documentary sector must do in order to survive and succeed in the changing environment.
“This website will provide documentary filmmakers another forum in which to explore and educate themselves on the future of digital media. After receiving such overwhelming response to this year’s DOCO2012 dialogue session, we thought it was important to provide the industry with the outcomes from the forum – and continue the thought process about the role of digital media in documentary.” says Film Australia Chief Executive Daryl Karp.
“There is no doubt that digital media will impact everything we do – it is imperative that Australian filmmakers embrace this technology and use it as a tool to help carve a role for themselves in this cluttered media environment,” says Ms Karp.
In his paper ‘Is Documentary Safe on TV?’, renowned UK broadcaster and writer Steve Hewlett points to television as the biggest threat to the documentary sector, warning that the competitive broadcast market and obsession with audience delivery had led to a “widespread conservatism and risk aversion amongst those thoroughly empowered commissioning decision makers.”
Dr Shilo McClean’s paper ‘Futureyou: Documentary in the YouTube World’, stresses the importance that the sector embrace innovative documentary techniques and reach out to the youtube generation if it is to compete in this competitive media environment.
Similarly, in his paper ‘What Does The Revolution Look Like’, Tim Flattery believes that future of documentaries is online, with the increasing decline of broadcast television.
“We will be watching anywhere and everywhere. More is already more. This particularly applies to documentaries because topics once thought of as ‘niche’ – those projects you know for sure should have been commissioned but weren’t – will find a platform on brands like Discovery,” Flattery says.