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Six Oz docs get Good Pitch cash

Documentaries chronicling the execution of an Australian drug smuggler in Indonesia, organ and tissue donation and surviving childhood trauma are among six projects that will be funded by the third and final edition of Good Pitch Australia.

The Australian arm of the global documentary pitching event created by UK funding organisation Britdoc and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program has raised A$6.6m (US$5.1m) in philanthropic funding for the six docs.

Earlier this week, Ian Darling’s Shark Institute announced it would provide A$2m to fund the operations of Good Pitch Australia for the next five years, including supporting the 19 social-impact docs in its portfolio.

The final pitching event was held at the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday. Malinda Wink, executive director of Good Pitch Australia, said: “The scale of our ambition has been matched by the heart and generosity of our supporters, without whom none of this would be possible. This is an immense privilege and I am grateful for those who have embraced the opportunity to do things differently, work collaboratively and put storytelling at the centre.”

The funded projects include Guilty, an intimate portrait of Myuran Sukumaran, one of the ‘Bali Nine’ drug smugglers, who was executed by firing squad alongside fellow Australian Andrew Chan in April 2015.

Directed by Matthew Sleeth and Matthew Bate and produced by Maggie Miles and Rebecca Summerton, the film will call on Australia to back the campaign for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

Director/producer Richard Todd’s Dying to Live will look at seven-year-old Zaidee Turner, who died from a cerebral aneurysm and was only child aged under 16 in Victoria to donate her organs that year. Her organs saved the lives of six children and one adult, yet Australia has one of the lowest donor-participation rates in the developed world.

Ghosthunter will centre on a western Sydney security guard and part-time Ghosthunter who spent two decades searching for his absent father after surviving a violent childhood. The search triggers a manhunt and uncovers a horrific family secret. The director is Ben Lawrence and the producer is Rebecca Bennett.

Director/writer Damon Gameau and producer Nick Batzias, the creative team behind the Good Pitch-supported That Sugar Film, will collaborate on 2040, a science-fiction feature doc set in that year that looks back at watershed moments since 2019 and maps the actions needed across the fields of economics, climate, politics and design.

Beautiful Minds (working title) from director Ili Bare and producer Greer Simpkin, will examine the obstacles facing women in science, technology, engineering and maths and beyond, and the fulfilment of female potential in helping to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Director/producer Maya Newell, who made the Good Pitch-backed Gayby Baby, and producer Sophie Hyde will team up for Kids (working title), an observational doc that examines the ways in which indigenous families, often under extreme circumstances, strive to pass on cultural knowledge in Australia’s Northern Territory.



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