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New Perspectives Pitch Lab

The New Perspectives Pitch Lab, presented by AFTRS, Doc Society and the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC), in partnership with Screen NSW, aims to empower emerging non-fiction storytellers to pursue and build support for the stories they seek to tell. This initiative is for emerging non-fiction talent with a social impact project in development or production.

We are looking for stories that offer a rare insight into the often under-represented and overlooked from those who see more than what’s being shown in the common zeitgeist. We’re looking for stories that break barriers and explore nuance over polarity.

The creators behind global initiatives such as Good Pitch, Climate Story Lab and the Impact Field Guide, Doc Society are dedicated to the impact of art and the art of impact.

We welcome projects from emerging storytellers or storytellers that are changing genre or platform on any theme or subject. We strongly encourage applications that explore issues such as democracy, environment, economic and racial justice.

The Pitch Lab is open to projects from across the non-fiction landscape – from observational, character-driven stories, to hybrid and essay films, to podcasts and series for television or online.

Our passion for non-fiction embraces the many faces of the form from personal, funny, investigative, comedic – all can play an important role as films of record to tools of personal and policy change.



  • The Pitch Lab consists of five online coaching sessions and an online pitch event with mentors including Malinda Wink, Global Director of Good Pitch, Doc Society.
  • Participants develop their project pitch in group and individual sessions and pitch to an industry panel for feedback.
  • 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. Individuals or teams of two can participate in the pitch lab.
  • 12-month mentoring will be provided after the lab for all five teams, which involves bi-monthly check-ins with a mentor who is matched with the project/platform.
  • One team will be selected for pitching opportunities at the 2022 AIDC conference, including two complimentary all-access passes.
  • All teams will have a fee waiver for ‘The Factory’ pitch at AIDC and an industry mentor for 12 months
  • There is no cost for the Pitch Lab, but all selected participants are required to attend all coaching sessions and commit to the pitch event.


The Pitch Lab is for individuals or teams who have an impact documentary project in development or production, who could benefit from assistance in developing a project pitch to traditional and non-traditional sources of funding and pathways to audience.

The Pitch Lab is reaching out to new and emerging storytellers from around the country, and also welcomes applications from journalists and fiction story-tellers that are changing genre or platform.

Applications are particularly encouraged from applicants and/or teams who identify as First Nations Australian, culturally and linguistically diverse, living with disability and/or LGBTQI+.

  • The impact documentary project can be short or long-form, a one-off film or series (online or broadcast), or a podcast.
  • The documentary project can be on any theme or subject – and we strongly encourage applications that explore issues such as democracy, environment, economic and racial justice.
  • Applicant teams must consist of at least one key team member with a screen credit in their respective role on a project that has been broadcast and/or screened at a recognised film festival or distributed on a significant curated online platform. A list of recognised festivals is available here.
  • Only Australian project teams can apply.
  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or over.
  • The project must be classified as no greater than MA.

You must be available to attend all the pitch lab dates below. Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 15 November and must accept the offer by Wednesday 17 November.


To apply, complete the online application form by Friday 29 October.

You will need to submit the title, format, logline and synopsis for your project. You’ll also need to explain who the target audience is, why it’s an important topic and why you are the right team to tell it. We’ll ask for details about what stage of the project you are at, and any info you can supply on schedule, budget, finance plan and chain of title. Also, make sure you have bios and contact details for your key team members, and you’ll be able to supply links to up to 15-minute total video samples to support your application.

Please email pitchlab@aftrs.edu.au with any questions. No late submissions will be accepted.


All sessions occur online in Australian Eastern Daylight Time. The dates are:

  • Session 1: Monday 22 November 9.30 am – 1.00 pm
  • Session 2: Monday 29 November 9.30 am – 1.00 pm
  • Session 3: Wednesday 1 December 9.30 am – 1.00 pm
  • Session 4: Monday 6 December 9.30 am – 1.00 pm (30-minute slots)
  • Session 5: Wednesday 8 9.30 – 1.00 pm (30-minute slots)
  • Session 6: Monday 13 December 10.00 am – 12.00 pm – PITCH SESSION
  • Session 7: Wednesday 15 December 10.00 am – 12.00 pm.


Projects will be chosen using the following criteria:

  • Strength of the project and potential for social impact
  • Background and experience of the applicant(s)
  • Clear identification of audience
  • Capacity of the team to manage the project and their ability to deliver
  • Other factors including diversity of slate and the gender and cultural diversity of the team may also influence final selection

In 2020 six teams successfully completed the New Perspectives Pitch lab workshop. Since the 2020 lab and the teams’ subsequent involvement with AIDC, all have been working on progressing their projects and careers. Three teams – Norita, Gay Graves and The Valley were each the lucky recipients of $10,000 philanthropic grants.

Here’s what the participants had to say:

“I think it gave us a huge sense of validation that the idea is solid and that the story has merit. I also learned a lot about what makes a good pitch and how to format a pitch in general. It was all really useful.”

- Josie Hess, ‘Coal Hole’

“The free entry to AIDC helped secure the Finch Media prize. The workshop has helped us to hone our philanthropic pitch and the push for donors is gaining momentum so I think it will become evident how helpful it was in time.”

- Daniel Joyce, ‘Norita’

“I believe that our involvement with New Perspectives played a huge role in us securing Development funding with Screen NSW and Screen Australia.”

- Caroline Sorensen, ‘The Removalists’

“I found the workshops very helpful and especially enjoyed being in a (virtual) room with other people so focused on social justice in one form or another. I found that so stimulating!”

- Holly Zwalf, ‘Gay Graves’

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