Michaela Perske to receive Stanley Hawes Award as AIDC nominees announced

Michaela Perske.

Pursekey Productions director and principal producer Michaela Perske is the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) Stanley Hawes Award recipient for 2021.

Perske’s recognition was announced today alongside the 20 nominees for the inaugural AIDC awards.

Designed to recognise the “outstanding completed works of new Australian documentary and factual content”, the awards will be presented in person across eight cities, as well as livestreamed to AIDC delegates.

Originally trained as a journalist, Perske has over 20 years of media experience across radio, print and TV.

Since turning her hand to factual content, she has produced films including Girls Can’t Surf, Black Divaz, After the Apology, and Destination Arnold.

In announcing the award, the AIDC said it wanted to acknowledge “her outstanding contribution to the Australian documentary and factual sector”.

Australian practitioners had the opportunity to submit across six categories for the AIDC Awards: Best Feature Documentary, with a $5,000 cash prize presented by Doc Play; Best Documentary/Factual Series; Best Documentary/Factual Single; Best Short-Form Documentary, with a $5,000 cash prize presented by Documentary Australia Foundation; Best Audio Documentary with a $3,000 cash prize presented by AFTRS; and Best Interactive/Immersive Documentary with a $3,000 cash prize co-presented by Jumpgate and Deakin University.

AIDC CEO/conference director Alice Burgin said the response had “absolutely overwhelming” across the board.

“We were astounded by how many submissions we had and the incredible quality of works across the six categories,” she said.

“I want to congratulate the 20 nominees, and thank all our generous partners and the indefatigable jury – without whom we could never have done this.”

‘Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra’

The full list of nominees:


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 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

Click here to learn more about the nominees.

AIDC runs February 28 – March 3 as an online event.