Funding body Screen Australia has announced over AUD$2.5 million of funding for five documentaries through the Commissioned program and six through the Producer program. One documentary, Incarceration Nation, has received funding through the Indigenous Department.
The projects also include Tim Winton exploring the Western Australian reef in television series Ningaloo; a feature documentary about award-winning musician Courtney Barnett called Anonymous Club; and Rebuilding Mallacoota, a series delving into the bushfire recovery in coastal Victoria.
Screen Australia’s Head of Documentary, Bernadine Lim said, “Documentaries offer a unique opportunity to hold a mirror up to ourselves and reflect, understand and question. As we come to the end of 2020, a challenging year for so many, it’s clear that these compelling documentaries will shine a light on the important issues facing Australians including mental health, the impact of the devastating bushfires and the environment more broadly.”
Screen Australia’s Head of Indigenous, Penny Smallacombe said, “2020 saw the Black Lives Matter global movement unfold, and here at home the widespread support for Indigenous Lives Matter illustrated the ongoing injustices faced by Indigenous people with regards to the exceptionally high rates of incarceration in Australia, and the devastating Black Deaths in custody that have continued long after the Royal Commission in the 1980s. Incarceration Nation will be vital viewing for all Australian audiences.”
Screen Australia consulted widely and recently created new documentary guidelines, but due to COVID-19’s disruption it was decided it would be unhelpful to add any further change to the sector and introduce these at this time. Whilst the industry continues to adapt to COVID-19, the existing programs will remain for the rest of the 2020/21 financial year including PEP.