GUIDELINES: Pitch Australiana

October 10, 2019, 6:28am
Shooting Cats and Burlesque Boys

VICE Australia, Screen Australia, and the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) are returning for a third year to co-present Pitch Australiana, a pitching competition offering local filmmakers the chance to win a $50,000 commission for a short form documentary for Vice’s tentpole series, Australiana.

Australiana delves beyond the pillars of our national identity to present a raw and diverse portrait of modern Australia. Stories should focus on the perspectives of individuals, communities, and subcultures from across the country that are overlooked or ignored, offering a voice to those on the fringes of our society.


Submissions for the series are now being sought, with up to four Australian film teams being selected to pitch their idea to industry professionals at AIDC in March 2020, and the opportunity to participate in professional development training in the lead-up to the event.

The winning project will receive a $50,000 commission, as well as complimentary access to VICE’s services, and be released online through leading global media company VICE as part of their digital series, Australiana.

Pitches must be suitable for online audiences, capable of making an immediate impact and creating instant curiosity with VICE’s audience. The VICE audience are primarily 16-34 years old with a fierce hunger and curiosity about the world they live. They come to VICE for provocative storytelling through direct access to the people experiencing it. VICE’s global audience wants to be shown, not told.

Specifically, we are looking for:

- Documentary storytelling, not reportage
- Immersive storytelling, told through action and experience
- Unique and intimate access to characters and locations
- Unique stories overlooked by mainstream media
- Strong stories with ability to hold attention for 20+ minutes
- Stories that will resonate with VICE’s audiences locally and globally

It’s important that pitches demonstrate an understanding of the global VICE brand and documentary style. We highly recommend watching VICE’s Australiana series and global documentary content of relevant lengths.


The pitch
Up to four shortlisted applicants will participate in a live pitch session to be held in Melbourne as part of AIDC on Wednesday 4 March, 2020. They will be required to present a 7-minute pitch, including up to 3 minutes of supporting video to a panel of representatives from VICE and the wider documentary community. Screen Australia will provide the four finalists with complimentary day passes to attend AIDC to pitch. They will also be provided with assistance to develop their pitch in the lead up to the event, with a pitch training professional development event taking place in Melbourne on Tuesday 3 March 2020 with multi-award-winning writer, director and producer Matt Bate (Closer Productions).

The final documentary will premier online through VICE, promoted and supported by their network. The documentary will also be broadcast on SBS VICELAND.

What funding is available?
Screen Australia will commit $30,000 and VICE Australia will commit $20,000, meaning a total of $50,000 funding is available for the production of one documentary.

Who can apply?
Applicant teams must consist of a director or producer, one of whom has at least one documentary screen credit in their respective role on a project that has been broadcast and/or screened at a recognised film festival or distributed on a significant curated online platform. A list of recognised festivals is available at


Applicant teams must also meet the general eligibility requirements set out in Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade.

What materials do you need to apply?
A completed application form, available here.

A 4-page (max) outline of the proposed documentary, including:
- a story overview
- indicative shoot beats
- 2 sentence (max) character profiles
- status of any essential access (characters, locations etc.)
- any key narrative milestones/dates
- reference images and links

Information about the team (1 page per person), including:
- 200 word biographies for any key creative (essential for director/producer)
- short CVs of the team, including relevant prior credits, and any other key personnel (DP, editor)
- example links of the director and producers previous work (a complete film, not a showreel) supplied via an active screening link

Supporting material, including:
- 3 minutes (max) of footage that demonstrates character, access and storyline via a screening link, such as vimeo
- budget
- written confirmation of key access to characters or locations (if available)

Where do you apply?
All materials must be sent in one email to ahead of the application deadline, 17:00 AEDT Friday 13 December 2019. Materials should be supplied as attachments, or via non-expirable links (not in the body of the email).

What is the assessment process?
Pitches will be reviewed by both VICE and Screen Australia before being shortlisted based on the assessment criteria.


All applicants will be notified in writing of the decision in mid-January 2020.

VICE acknowledges and appreciates the effort that goes into pitches, but given the anticipated volume of applications will not be able to provide individual feedback on each pitch.

What are the assessment criteria?
Each pitch will be assessed taking into consideration the below criteria:
- the creative strength of the pitch, and its ability to successfully engage VICE’s audience
- the capability of the team to successfully deliver the pitched documentary
- project viability in terms of the proposed budget, financing strategy, and schedule

Key dates
14 October 2019: Applications open
13 December 2019: Applications close
Mid January 2020: Applicants advised of final decision
3 March 2020: Pitch training day for successful projects
4 March 2020: Live pitch at AIDC
End of March 2020: Successful project notified

Check out the previous winners of Pitch Australiana below: