Good Pitch Australia took place in Sydney on November 8th for the third and final time. It was a joint venture between Ian Darling’s Shark Island Institute and the Documentary Australia Foundation. It will by no means disappear after this year, however; Darling has committed more than $2 million over the next five years to support the ongoing activities of the organization, specifically focusing on the 19 projects, allowing them to build upon the coalitions that have been nurtured and to really bloom as full blown engines of change.
While every Good Pitch event, whether it takes place in New York or elsewhere, is unique and brings together key partners and potential funders around six to eight films, Good Pitch Australia has delivered at a standard that is unusually high. As I saw one funder after the other coming to the microphone and committing funds to at least one, and often multiple projects, it became clear that it’s Ian Darling who has become a real force in the documentary world there, harnessing his business contacts and philanthropic life in the service of strong films that take on and explore a range of issues of interest to the broad community. This year for example, more than $7 million was raised. The foundation for this kind of success took a full year to build and support with a broad range of 200 strategic partnerships between community groups, the corporate sector, not for profits and policy makers. Films were supported that explored survivors of childhood abuse, organ transplantation, tipping the gender balance in STEM fields, capital punishment and the importance of carrying on the traditions of indigenous people.
All of the coalitions around these films were well represented in the Sydney Opera House on this one November day, but what we saw – the amazing level of success financially that will literally change the trajectory for these six filmmaking teams – represents the culmination of a huge amount of hard work over the course of the year, led by Melinda Wink and of course by Ian Darling.
It was amazing to be there, and I was particularly struck by the audience enthusiasm which was both for huge gifts and for small gifts, made with equally great levels of commitment. Each Good Pitch event is local, Good Pitch Australia seemed to be especially well thought out within a vibrant documentary and corporate community. Congratulations to the whole team, the filmmakers and the change makers involved.