Documentary Australia Foundation
Documentary Australia Foundation Celebrates Ten Years of Storytelling For Social Impact

Documentary Australia Foundation Celebrates Ten Years of Storytelling For Social Impact

Dr MITZI GOLDMAN, CEO Documentary Australia Foundation
Pro Bono, 
Thursday 25 October 2018

As Documentary Australia Foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary, it wants to collaborate with the not-for-profit sector to help NFPs use storytelling to achieve their aims and objectives.

Are you working or advocating for social change? If so, we want to connect with you. Documentary Australia is focusing on deepening our engagement with a range of partners around key impact areas to connect philanthropists, funders, NFPs and other organisations with films that can help drive social change.

Documentary Australia places excellent films at the centre of social impact strategies that use storytelling as a core tool to engage audiences to act and advocate for a better world. Audience engagement with documentary is a priority of ours to bring awareness to key social issues. We do this in three ways: by supporting films in production, convening screenings and events and identifying, gathering and collaborating with key partners in the NFP sector on shared social change objectives.

Stories build understanding and inspire action that can be measured. Stories that speak from personal experience powerfully raise awareness, educate and provide a catalyst for NFPs to use in fundraising for their own objectives. They can unite organisations working on the same issues around a shared tool and amplify messages about our most challenging social issues.

Over the last decade, our world has seen a deepening wealth divide and growing structural inequality. There is a failure of political leadership, a loss of trust in the political process, less government funding and more need for social services. We've seen an undermining of rigorous public interest journalism and declining interest from the public broadcasters to support in-depth documentary storytelling in favour of commercially driven "reality" formats.

Since 2008, Documentary Australia has raised over $24 million for social issue documentaries and programs, supported hundreds of documentaries and built a community of close to 6,000 donors and individuals, gaining profile with the success of Good Pitch Australia (2014-16).

We've seen successful campaigns around films such as Gayby Baby, Frackmanand KaChing! Pokie Nation and real change as a result. The role of NFP organisations and advocates is critical to this success. Collaboration and collective commitment across sectors brings change. But it takes time and coordinated effort.

Over the next decade at Documentary Australia our focus will be building on the collective impact to date to strategically create collaborations with key organisations in the NFP sector. We will curate suites of excellent documentaries that align strongly with existing campaigns and inspire new ones.

Our future strategy is to find shared value that builds capacity in alignment with our seven focus areas: environment, Indigenous, health and wellbeing, human rights and social justice, youth and education, arts and women and girls.

With the NFP sector we are building an impact partner network to better connect and align partners with a curated selection of films in each of our focus areas. Connecting filmmakers to interested partners from the NFP sector to create long running impact campaigns will serve the mutual aims of charities and storytellers.

Through partnerships that share objectives, we will convene regular round table events to showcase the best stories that are developing sustainable impact campaigns and workshop how we can share value collectively. As the network builds, and if interest demands, we will move to holding an annual event that showcases the great examples of impact with successful partnership models.

Through these partnerships, NFP organisations will find resources that they may struggle to create themselves. Many do not find the bandwidth to pursue partnerships with storytellers. As a conduit organisation we facilitate these partnerships currently on a case-by-case basis around individual films. Going forward we invite NFP organisations to connect with us to identify potential synergies.

Documentary Australia offers understanding of philanthropic objectives coupled with unique expertise in documentary filmmaking, to the NFP sector who could benefit greatly from making storytelling integral to their daily communications. We curate a playlist of documentaries for each impact area with screening packs and discussion guides geared for workplaces to engage easily.

The model we have built over the last 10 years has proven itself with a generous embrace by philanthropy and the social sector. It has led to a consistent stream of donations and growing engagement with storytelling as a powerful way to reach people and to dignify subjects by acknowledging, listening and sharing their lived experiences. As we approach our next decade, there has never been a more important time to galvanise our community around the stories that make sense of our rapidly changing world. Documentaries allow us to share our expertise, passion and energy. Stories unite and move us to make change possible, together.

For further information about Documentary Australia Foundation, CLICK HERE.

This article was reprinted from PROBONO AUSTRALIA.