• Search Keywords

  • Year

  • Production Status

  • Genre

  • Co-production

  • SA Supported

  • Indigenous creative

  • Length

  • Technique


‘Documentary’ is defined in section 376-25 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA). This definition applies to projects that commenced principal photography on or after 1 July 2012.

For projects commencing before this date, we will utilise the test outlined by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in the Lush House case (EME Productions No 1 Pty Ltd v Screen Australia).

For certification as a documentary, you must be able to satisfy us that the project is a creative treatment of actuality that is not an infotainment or lifestyle program, or a magazine-style program.

In making this decision, we have regard to:

  • the extent and purpose of any contrived situation featured in the film
  • the extent to which the film explores an idea or a theme
  • the extent to which the film has an overall narrative structure, and
  • any other relevant matters.

Magazine and infotainment programs

A magazine-style program is not a documentary. It is a film that:

  • presents factual information
  • has two or more discrete parts, each dealing with a different subject or a different aspect of the same subject, and
  • does not contain an over-arching narrative structure or thesis.

An infotainment or lifestyle program is also not a documentary, and is defined in Schedule 6 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 as a program ‘...the sole or dominant purpose of which is to present factual information in an entertaining way, where there is a heavy emphasis on entertainment value’.

We're here to help

Even if you don't intend to apply for a Provisional Certificate, we recommend that you contact us early, ideally during pre-production.

This will help clarify any issues, particularly related to tracking expenditure, and make the eventual application process smoother.

See Contact us.