Shark Island Institute Backs Six Aussie Docs


Shark Island Institute has selected six documentary projects to receive funding as part of the Shark Island Story Development and Impact Lab.

The Shark Island Story Development and Impact Lab is the first in a series of Labs designed to strengthen the skills of Australian documentary filmmakers. Each project, a social impact documentary feature currently in development, will receive up to $25,000 in development funding and intensive international and local mentorship over a 12-month period. The initial projects are Between Us, Caron: The Essential Story of Us, Democracy for Sale, Life After Juvie, Monuments: History Doesn’t Stand Still and The Investigative Artist.

Selected teams receive ongoing mentoring and support through two five-day, intensive, residential Story Development and Impact Labs in Kangaroo Valley. The Labs include one-on-one meetings and industry sessions. These particular Labs are designed to hone the teams’ skills as independent storytellers and enhance their social impact skills as filmmakers.

The Shark Island Story Development and Impact Lab is designed for feature documentary projects that are in early-stage story development. The Shark Island Institute team, headed by documentary filmmaker and Shark Island Institute founder Ian Darling, and executive director of Shark Island Institute, Malinda Wink, is committed to the discovery, development and support of Australian filmmakers. The Shark Island Institute will work with each team to optimize both distribution and the potential for social impact for each project.

For the Story Development and Impact Lab, the team from Shark Island Institute is collaborating with international mentors and leaders in documentary, including Kristin Feeley (Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program), Jenny Raskin (Impact Partners NYC) and Academy Award-winning writer Mark Monroe (Diamond Docs), for the first residential workshop in August.

The Labs initiative represents a continuation of founder Ian Darling’s long-term strategic investment in documentary storytelling in Australia, including the establishment of Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF) in 2008 and Good Pitch Australia in 2014.

Wink said, “Following on from our success at Good Pitch Australia, we’re inspired by the combination of storytelling talent and projects selected for our inaugural labs. Each promises to investigate the most pressing issues of our time that inform who we are and the path we have set as a country.”

Feeley added, “Sundance believes that art can change the way we reach people, so I’m excited to work with this carefully selected group of six teams who are championing under-represented voices and offering new perspectives. I feel honored to return to Australia to work with the Shark Island team as a mentor.”