Ian Darling. 

Good Pitch Australia’s founder, moderator and chair Ian Darling was named Australia's leading philanthropist at the Philanthropy Australia Awards last week.

Under Darling’s guidance, Good Pitch has raised more than $14 million for 19 documentaries and their outreach campaigns over the past three years. These include That Sugar Film, Gayby Baby, Prison Songs, The Hunting Ground, Frackman, Call Me Dad, Constance on the Edge, Zach’s Ceremony, Whiteley and Blue.

Darling is also chair and founder of the Shark Island Institute, and founder and patron of the Documentary Australia Foundation. Outside of film, Darling has chaired the The Caledonia Foundation since 2001.

CEO of Philanthropy Australia Sarah Davies said Darling's work was an example of philanthropy at its best. 

“The Leading Philanthropist Award goes to an individual in recognition of their outstanding individual philanthropic work: they embody Philanthropy Australia’s vision for a more giving Australia and they influence all of us towards more and better philanthropy,” she said.

“Ian’s recognition is testament to the incredible work, inspiration and effect he has had, not just on his vision with the Caledonia Foundation and Shark Island Institute, but on the sector as a whole. The Award honours and celebrates his work and influence, his innovation and creativity in the way he designs and approaches his work, his leadership and engagement of others and of course, the significant and enduring impact of his work.”

Good Pitch Australia and Shark Island Institute executive director Malinda Wink said Darling was a “tenacious, brave and big-hearted man who is inexplicably understated about his many achievements.”

“At the core is his ability to embolden those around him to think bigger, be brave and take on the impossible. As I said at Good Pitch: the world is genuinely a better place for him being in it.”

Under his production company Shark Island Productions, Darling has produced and directed a number of social impact films, including Suzy & The Simple Man, Paul Kelly – Stories of Me, The Oasis, Polly & Me, Wall Boy, The Soldier, In The Company of Actors, Alone Across Australia, Woodstock for Capitalists and Stories From the Inside. 

Darling was also executive producer of How To Change The World and Last Cab To Darwin, and is the EP for Damon Gameau’s new film 2040, as well as UNREST and Brainiacs.

Darling is currently in pre-production on a documentary about homelessness. His 2008 doco The Oasis, on the same subject, was named one of Australia’s top 50 philanthropic gifts of all time on a list published by Pro Bono Australia.

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