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New Perspectives Pitch Lab 2021: Seeking Non-Fiction Social Impact Projects that Break Barriers

New Perspectives Pitch Lab, an initiative to empower non-fiction storytellers to pursue and build support for the stories they seek to tell, is calling for applications for the 2021 program.

Following the success of the inaugural New Perspectives Pitch Lab last year, AFTRS, Doc Society and the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC), in partnership with Screen NSW, are again looking for emerging non-fiction talent with a social impact project in development or production.

The New Perspectives program is a training initiative with a focus on stories that offer a rare insight into the often under-represented and overlooked, stories that break barriers and explore nuance over polarity.

In 2020, six teams successfully completed the New Perspectives Pitch lab workshop and all have subsequently been working on progressing their projects and careers. Three of the projects selected for the program last year have recently been announced as recipients of $10,000 each in philanthropic development and production grants from the Maitri Foundation’s Story Program to help them further develop their projects for the Australian and international marketplace.

New Perspectives Pitch Lab 2021 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.

The Pitch Lab itself consists of six online coaching and development 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 is on pitch training in order 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.

One team will be selected for pitching opportunities at the 2022 AIDC, to which they will be awarded two complimentary all-access passes. All teams will be able to apply for the FACTory pitch session at AIDC, for which application fees will be waived. In addition, each team will be assigned an industry mentor for 12 months.

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

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. Global Director, Malinda Wink, said, “We are thrilled to be working with AFTRS and AIDC to offer this Lab for the second year, and we are grateful for the continued support of Screen NSW to make this happen. It’s been wonderful to see how the 2020 cohort progressed after the Lab, and we look forward to engaging the 2021 projects with the mentoring, market feedback, strategic introductions and support that the Lab offers.”

AIDC is Australia’s premier event dedicated to supporting and elevating Australian documentary and factual storytelling across all forms. In 2022, AIDC is designed to be a hybrid event to take place at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), in Melbourne from Sunday 6 to Wednesday 9 March 2022, with the international marketplace held online from Thursday 10 to Friday 11 March 2022.

AIDC CEO/Creative Director, Natasha Gadd, said, “AIDC is committed to creating opportunities that enable new and diverse voices to tell stories that can impact real change. Along with our partners at AFTRS and Doc Society, we’re proud to back this commitment by supporting the New Perspectives Pitch Lab to give new creators the chance to develop their pitching skills and get these vital stories in front of the people and organisations that can make this happen.”

AFTRS Head of Documentary, Richard Welch, said, “AFTRS is excited to continue partnering with Doc Society, AIDC and Screen NSW on the 2021 New Perspectives Pitch Lab. In its inaugural year, the labs program helped develop some truly unique Australian stories with global potential and we’re thrilled to be supporting new creative voices once again.”

Head of Screen NSW, Grainne Brunsdon, said, “Once again, Screen NSW is proud to be in partnership with AFTRS, Doc Society and AIDC for the 2021 New Perspectives Pitch Lab. Now in its second year, Pitch Lab offers a series of direct and powerful story-pitching workshops to new diverse Australian story creators, to guide them towards stronger, more focussed stories that will ultimately have tangible social impacts for the wider audience and community.”

Applications close Friday 29 October. Learn more about the initiative and how to apply here.