Nancy Schwartzman. 

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC)’s Impact stream, focused on media-making for social, environmental, and political change, has been confirmed.

This year, sessions will focus will consider the challenges faced by activist filmmakers in an increasingly fraught political environment. It will feature five sessions: Gender, Tech & Resistance; One Film to Save the World?; Impact Strategy Hack 1 & 2; and a screening of Defiant Lives.

American filmmaker and creator of the White House “Apps Against Abuse” safety app 'Circle of 6', Nancy Schwartzman, will provide the Impact Keynote session: Gender, Tech & Resistance.

Known for her work exploring how youth culture, sexuality and justice intersect with technology, Schwartzman has worked as impact producer on documentaries such as The Invisible War and Girl Model, and is the director of xoxosms, The Line and the upcoming Bertha Foundation-supported Roll Red Roll. 

Schwartzman will showcase the approaches she has developed to challenge notions of neutrality in technology, and explore the power of story for positive ends. The keynote will be followed by a Q&A, moderated by Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira.

“Screen Queensland is proud to present the Gender, Tech & Resistance session at AIDC,” said Vieira.  

“Never has there been a time in history where we have been so saturated with information and the new phenomenon of ‘fake news’ fighting to influence public opinion. The role played by filmmakers has never been so important to make powerful and truthful content that connects with audiences in both traditional and digital media. These screen practitioners can use the power of storytelling to help us navigate and understand pressing social issues such as violence against women, gender inequity and racism that help us question the status quo and steer us to the truth. I am thrilled to have Nancy Schwartzman explore this topic.”

The ‘One Film to Save the World?’ session will bring together documentary producer Rebecca Barry (The Opposition, I Am A Girl), NGO campaign director Tim Norton (Save the Children), and founder of American University’s Centre for Media & Social Impact Patricia Aufderheide, with moderator Alex Kelly (global impact producer for Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything), to explore the Impact sector. The panel will consider how to measure impact, how to turn short term gains into long term goals, and what happens when change is achieved, impact media campaigns end and the community takes over.

AIDC’s Impact Strategy Hack will also return, this year in conjunction with the Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF). It will look at two in-development documentary projects addressing the environment and race/reconciliation. Experts will workshop and build an impact campaign  for each production, identifying ways to create lasting change and influence. The films selected to be “hacked” as well as the “hackers” will be announced later this month. 

There will also be ascreening of Sarah Barton’s Defiant Lives, which featured in last year’s Impact Strategy Hack and focuses on disability rights.  Barton and producer Liz Burke will introduce the film and host a Q&A.

“AIDC’s 2017 conference theme “Three Sides to Every Story” has never felt more pertinent than in relation to our Impact stream,” said AIDC CEO & conference director Andrew Wiseman.

“The importance of considering multiple perspectives and engaging with the world in a nuanced manner has never been more critical. The malleability of truth is coming into sharp focus for activists and filmmakers alike, and we see this stream as an opportunity to respond to the challenges this presents – be it locally or on a global scale. These sessions are designed to strengthen our industry’s understanding of the power of social change, while forging stronger relationships to the broader community in the process”.

The Impact sessions take place on Day 3 of AIDC 2017, March 7. 

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