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Media Centre

29 08 2017 - Media release

The Guardian and Screen Australia partner for online documentary initiative


Guardian Documentary The Fight / Photo credit Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw

The Guardian and Screen Australia have partnered for a new initiative which will fund up to three commissioned documentaries, providing Australian filmmakers with the opportunity to reach an international audience via one of the world’s leading English-language news sites.

The successful projects will be between 15-30 minutes in length with either a local or international focus. The short documentaries should bring a fresh perspective to contemporary stories of global significance for the Guardian audience.

The Guardian and Screen Australia will provide a funding pool of up to $126,500 to fund up to three documentary films. The Guardian will contribute a fixed amount of $36,500 and Screen Australia will contribute a minimum of $36,500 and up to $90,000.

The opportunity is open to all levels of documentary filmmakers, from emerging to highly experienced.

The successful documentaries will be available to stream for free on the Guardian’s Australian, UK, US and international sites.

“Partnering with the Guardian on this initiative enables us to provide both a larger funding pool and guaranteed international reach for Australian filmmakers,” said Liz Stevens, Senior Manager of Documentary at Screen Australia. “The recent success of Casting JonBenet, That Sugar Film and Barbecue demonstrates that global stories told through a unique Australian gaze are resonating with audiences around the world.”

Charlie Phillips, Head of Documentaries at the Guardian said, “Global stories are at the heart of what we commission for Guardian documentaries and we’re excited to work together closely with the documentary talent we know Australia has in spades to bring new and surprising stories to our audience.”

Lenore Taylor, Editor at Guardian Australia said, “I’m very happy that our international scale combined with local insight and documentary expertise can offer a platform for Australian talent and Australian stories to reach global audiences.”

After the Guardian exclusivity period of three years, filmmakers are free to distribute their films as they wish. The projects will be supported by the Guardian’s Head of Documentaries, and a Screen Australia Investment Development Manager.

Screen Australia and the Guardian’s online documentary initiative joins a growing list of media partnerships Screen Australia has formed to offer documentary makers a direct path to audience, including Art Bites and Love Bites with the ABC, and Doco180 with WHIMN.

The deadline for applications is 3 November 2017. For more information see the program guidelines.

Successful applicants will be announced in February 2018.

Previous Australian films commissioned by Guardian Documentaries include The Fight directed by Violeta Ayala and produced by Dan Fallshaw, whose most recent film Cocaine Prison will screen at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and The Island directed by Gabrielle Brady and produced by Alex Kelly.

The Guardian contribution is in GBP. AUD amount stated is based on current foreign exchange rate as at 28/08/2017.

About Guardian News & Media

Guardian News & Media (GNM) publishes theguardian.com, one of the world’s leading English-language newspaper websites. Traffic from outside of the UK now represents around two-thirds of the Guardian’s total digital audience. In the UK, GNM publishes the Guardian newspaper six days a week, first published in 1821, and the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper, The Observer.

The Guardian is renowned for its agenda-setting journalism including, most recently, the Panama Papers investigation as well as the Pulitzer Prize and Emmy-winning NSA revelations.


The deadline for applications is 3 November 2017. For more information see the program guidelines

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