Katia Krafft wearing aluminized suit standing near lava burst at Krafla Volcano, Iceland. (Credit: Image'Est)

Australian International Documentary Conference Reveals 2023 Theme And First Look At Program Line-Up


The Southern Hemisphere’s premier industry forum and marketplace for documentary and factual content – the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) – today announces the first confirmed guests and theme for its 2023 conference. AIDC 2023 will take place in-person from 5-8 March 2023 at ACMI, Melbourne, followed by an online international marketplace, 9-11 March 2023.  

American documentary filmmaker Sara Dosa, director of the award-winning feature doc Fire of Love (Nat Geo/Madman), about volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft, is the first speaker to be announced for the 2023 line-up, and will lead AIDC’s Spotlight program with a very special In Conversation session. Fire of Love has recently been listed as a frontrunner in the 2023 Oscars race by Indiewire, Variety, and the Hollywood Reporter, and has recently been nominated for seven US Critics Choice Awards including Best Documentary Feature and Best Director. 

Also confirmed is Delhi-based filmmaker and writer Shaunak Sen, whose feature documentary All That Breathes won the L’Oeil d’Or (Golden Eye) for the best documentary at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance International Film Festival, and the Grierson Award in Documentary Competition at the BFI – London Film Festival. All That Breathes was selected for AIDC’s FACTory international pitching showcase in 2021 under the title Airborne and AIDC is thrilled to have Shaunak now join the conference as a speaker.

On the industry expertise front, Fatima Salaria, Managing Director of UK Production Company Naked Television, will bring her extensive knowledge of successful specialist factual and factual entertainment to Australian producers, having worked across programs like Grand Designs60 Days on the Streets,The Day I Picked My Parents, and the recently announced Planet Sex fronted by Cara Delevingne.  

Rounding out the first speaker announcement is Emmy Award-winning Moroccan-American filmmaker Rita Baghdadi, director of the acclaimed feature doc Sirens, about an all-female thrash metal band in Lebanon. The documentary has been an audience favourite at Sundance, Tribeca, Melbourne and Sydney film festivals, and won awards at Outfest, Sun Valley and Florida film festivals. Rita is also the co-founder of Lady & Bird Films (Subject, Tribeca 2022), a highly sought-after cinematographer, and the director of award-winning documentaries My Country No More and City Rising.


AIDC is proud to announce Agents of Change as the central theme for 2023, celebrating the people and the practices working to elevate documentary and factual storytelling. Through this theme, AIDC 2023 will highlight the changemakers of nonfiction storytelling, and bring focus to the champions of the craft leading the way for the creation of bold stories with real world impact.

AIDC CEO / Creative Director Natash Gadd, said, “During this time of cultural, political and social unrest, documentary filmmakers continue to document and explore the ever changing forces of the world around us. Far from passive observers, they are also active drivers of change both in the way we craft stories and the impact these stories create. AIDC’s 2023 theme, Agents of Change, spotlights the people, ideas and practices challenging and evolving the ways we create, share and experience nonfiction stories – from the visionaries to the provocateurs, innovators and iconoclasts. In a world of continuous disruption – both in our sector and society at large – join us at AIDC 2023 as we explore the legacy of those who paved the way, the new voices leading the charge, and what potential futures lie ahead!”

Under the theme Agents of Change, AIDC 2023 will explore the following subthemes through keynotes, industry panels and initiatives: Upcoming (new voices, new audiences), Breaking Ground (truth-telling, investigation and impact), Shifting Perspectives (craft, storytelling and representation), In Focus (advocacy, reform, ethics and integrity), and Future Horizons (innovation, technology, sustainability and regeneration).

The 2023 AIDC Marketplace & Industry Program will once again provide the widest array of business and project development opportunities for documentary and factual practitioners.
Confirmed attendees include representatives from 40 high profile broadcasters, streamers, distributors, sales agents and funding bodies, like: A+E Networks (USA), ABC (Australia), American Documentary/POV (USA), ARTE G.E.I.E (France), Autlook Filmsales (Austria), BBC Storyville (UK), Blue Ice Docs (Canada), CAA Media Finance (USA), CAT&Docs (France), CBC (Canada), Cinetic Media (USA), Chicken & Egg Pictures (USA), Dhaka DocLab (Bangladesh), DocPlay (Australia), Doc Society (Australia), Docs by the Sea (Indonesia), Dogwoof (UK), EBS (South Korea), Fremantle Australia (Australia), Hot Docs (Canada), Java Films (France), Journeyman Pictures (UK), Lightdox (Switzerland), Madman Entertainment (Australia), NHK (Japan), NITV (Australia), Off the Fence (Netherlands), Paramount ANZ (Australia), Participant (USA), Prime Video (Australia), Reservoir Docs (France), Sandbox Films (USA), Seesaw Pictures (South Korea), Sheffield Doc/Fest (UK), Stan (Australia), Sunny Side of the Doc (France), The Whickers (UK), TRT World (Turkey), Words + Pictures (USA).
AIDC’s centrepiece international pitching showcase, The FACTory, presented by VicScreen, is currently accepting submissions, with projects sought across three strands; the Central Showcase (for projects in development with international potential); New Talent Showcase (for projects by early-career filmmakers); and Rough Cut Showcase (for projects seeking sales, distribution, and exhibition opportunities). Selected projects will pitch live to decision makers during AIDC 2023.
Meetings between industry guests and accredited producers will take place through Cut to the Chase, presented by Xe Money Transfer, AIDC’s curated meetings program for Business Pass and All Access Pass-holders. Cut to the Chase matches producers and their projects to the most relevant commissioning editors, acquisitions executives, distributors, sales agents, financiers and funders, with local meetings taking place during AIDC and international meetings arranged online.
Run during Cut to the Chase, the DocPlay Originals Pitch returns to give project teams the opportunity to pitch to Australasian streaming platform DocPlay with unique home-grown, docu-series projects seeking equity investment. Key genres sought include true crime, music, science, Indigenous stories, technology and sport, and projects with international appeal or international partners attached are encouraged to apply.
Also returning as part of Cut to the Chase is The Post Lounge Doc Pitch, designed to support a standout documentary or factual project with up to $30,000 worth of development investment through post-production, to be used for a sizzle, teaser or pilot. Producers are now invited to submit a feature, one-off or series in development across any genre from ob-doc to factual entertainment, archival or true crime.
Nominations are also sought for the 2023 AIDC Awards, recognising outstanding completed works of new Australian documentary and factual content across six categories: Best Feature DocumentaryBest Documentary/Factual SeriesBest Documentary/Factual SingleBest Short-Form DocumentaryBest Audio Documentary ($3,000 cash prize presented by AFTRS), and Best Interactive/Immersive Documentary.
Capping it off is the Stanley Hawes Award, a $5,000 prize presented annually at AIDC for outstanding long-term contribution to the Australian documentary, factual or unscripted screen sector. The jury for the AIDC Awards will be announced next month, with 2023 AIDC Awards presentation taking place at ACMI on Wednesday 8 March 2023.
Building on a successful 2022 event, which saw over 640 Australian and international delegates take part, AIDC 2023 will continue to provide unparalleled networking, upskilling, and project development opportunities for a buoyant documentary and factual sector. Many more high-profile national and international speakers will be revealed soon.
Caroline Pitcher, CEO of VicScreen, said, “VicScreen has been a proud long-term partner of AIDC. The conference is an unmissable screen event – every year it uncovers striking ideas and inspires unforgettable filmmaking. VicScreen supported documentaries Clean and Franklin were previously pitched at the conference and have now both been nominated for Best Documentary at the 2022 AACTA Awards. We can’t wait to see the bold and meaningful stories come out of next year’s conference.”
Seb Chan, Director & CEO, ACMI, said: “Australia’s national museum of screen culture returns as a presenting partner of AIDC in 2023. The ACMI team takes enormous pride in supporting local and international documentary and factual practitioners to learn, network and be inspired via our state-of-the-art mutiplatform museum. Documentary and factual content creators are crucial to our understanding of a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world – supporting these practitioners to tell courageous stories has never been more important.”
Business Passes and All Access Passes for AIDC 2023 are now available, offering unlimited access to AIDC’s extensive marketplace and networking opportunities. AIDC has also released a Sessions Pass for those without marketplace needs, providing access only to the sessions program (to be revealed 25 January 2023).
Further announcements about AIDC initiatives and major new pitching opportunities will follow in the coming weeks, with the full session program to be revealed 25 January 2023. Registration for AIDC 2023 is now open via the website. 
Conference 5-8 March, ACMI, Melbourne
International Marketplace 9-11 March, Online
Press Release

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