New Perspective Pitch Lab participants unveiled

AFTRS, Doc Society, AIDC and Screen NSW have announced the social impact projects selected for the inaugural New Perspectives Pitch Lab.

The program consists of five coaching and development sessions and an online pitch event with mentors, including Malinda Wink, global director of Doc Society’s Good Pitch and Screen NSW investment manager Andrea Ulbrick. The sessions begin this week.

The focus on the pitch training is to support participants to develop strategies and pathways for non-traditional access to audience and finance for projects that have potential for an impact campaign.

The initiative was open to projects from across the non-fiction landscape, and encouraged “projects that offered a rare insight into the under-represented and overlooked; stories from those who see more than what’s shown in the common zeitgeist; stories that break barriers and explore nuance over polarity.”

One team will go on to be selected for pitching opportunities at AIDC 2021.

The selected projects:

Feature documentary The Valley, from writer/director Josie Hess (Morgana) and producer/writer Stephanie Sabrinskas about a regional Victorian town that sits on the precipice of Australia’s largest coal mine. In the wake of the industrial collapse, young female activists fight to rebuild a brighter future for their communities.

Gay Graves, by writer/researcher/host Holly Zwalf (Tea Change) and producer Erin McBean (Mother//Lover), a podcast series uncovering the hidden, forgotten, and never-before-told queer histories of Australia. From gay bushrangers, lesbian buskers, and techno-dancing bush hippies through to genderless Indigenous dreaming spirits and crossdressing husbands and wives, Zwalf and guests visit a new gravesite in each episode to scatter eco-friendly rainbow confetti and to (re)discover the LGBTQ+ histories buried there. The duo have previously worked together on podcast Dangerous Women.

Podcast iSpeak, by producer/writer Aven Yap (Mama’s Boy, The Yoga Revolution, Piona Mums) and sound engineer Chloe Turner, a podcast about how language shapes the human experience. By the end of this century, half of the world’s 7000 languages will become extinct. Which languages do we want to define our lives? Why do we speak the way we do? What will we lose when a language falls silent? iSpeak explores how we reckon with the rapidly changing ways we interact with language.

Make It Look Real, a feature documentary by producers Bethany Bruce (Martha: A Picture Story, Accumulations) and Daniel Joyce (Martha: A Picture Story, Barbecue, Meatwork, Big Bad Love, Maddie Parry: Tough Jobs) and director Kate Blackmore (The Woman and The Car, The Movement). It follows an intimacy coordinator, who is hired to choreograph Hollywood sex scenes and keep actors safe on set. She sets out 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. Bruce and Blackmore have previously collaborated on The Glass Bedroom and Video Becomes Us for the ABC.

Norita, by producers Rebecca Bennett (Ghosthunter) and Daniel Joyce and director Jayson McNamara (Messenger on a White Horse), is a feature documentary set in Argentina. In 1977, Nora Cortiñas’ son was kidnapped by Argentina’s dictatorship. During her 40 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.

The Removalist, a documentary from director Clare Lewis (If The Walls Could Talk) and producer Carolina Sorensen, unpacks Australia’s gender-based violence problem one box at a time. Lewis and Sowenson run company People Productions, who produced 2018’s There Goes Our Neighbourhood with Wildbear Entertainment and the upcoming I’m Wanita.  

Screen NSW head Grainne Brunsdon said: “The successful teams chosen for the inaugural New Perspectives Pitch Lab initiative all demonstrate tremendous talent, distinctive and diverse storytelling styles and imagination. Screen NSW is excited to be involved in the development and mentorship of these unique and sincere stories. We look forward to seeing how the stories develop in the labs and prepare to become tools of record or to drive policy change.”

Global director Good Pitch Malinda Wink, on behalf of Doc Society, said: “I’m looking forward to diving into these six projects covering a diversity of formats, subjects and storytellers from across Australia. Each project has great potential for impact and reaching audiences both here and abroad.”