Malinda Wink.

Shark Island Institute is calling for applications for the new Shark Island Development Labs, a 12-month program for Australian documentary filmmakers with an investment of up to $25,000 per project.

Five teams will be selected each year to receive ongoing mentoring and support through a combination of residential story-telling workshops, one-on-one meetings and industry sessions.

The Labs are designed to hone the teams’ skills as independent story-tellers and social impact filmmakers and are led by the Shark Island Institute in collaboration with a network of global and local industry leaders.

The Shark Island Institute represents a continuation of founder Ian Darling’s long-term strategic investment in documentary storytelling in Australia – including the establishment of Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF) in 2008 and Good Pitch Australia in 2014 in partnership with DAF, Doc Society (formerly BRITDOC) and the Sundance Film Program.

Between 2014 – 2016 Good Pitch Australia raised more than $14 million in philanthropic grants for 19 social impact documentaries and their impact campaigns.

The Shark Island Development Labs are designed for feature documentary projects that are in early stage story development. The Institute team, headed by Darling and its newly appointed executive director Malinda Wink, is committed to the discovery and support of Australian filmmakers. Their preference is for projects that don’t yet have broadcast, distributor or EP attachment.

The Shark Island Institute will work with each team to optimise both distribution and potential for social impact for each project.

Malinda Wink said: “With Good Pitch Australia, we showed how documentary films can be a powerful platform to inform public consciousness, shift behaviour and lead policy change. The investment from the Shark Island Institute takes all that we have learned one step further. The Labs will be supporting independent Australian documentary filmmakers to find new ways to explore the difficult and urgent stories of our time.”

Applications are open until May 6. For more information and to apply please visit the Shark Island Institute website: or search and join the ‘Shark Island Development Labs’ Facebook Group.

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