AIDC: what to see at this year’s documentary conference

AIDC 2024, a must-see for documentary makers & lovers, is fast approaching. Here's what you need to know.

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) is returning to ACMI for 2024, promising a lineup of over 40 sessions, 70 speakers, and 100-plus industry figures all gathered in one place.

The four-day event will unfold at ACMI from March 3 to 6, 2024, with an online international marketplace slated for March 7-8.

‘Frontlines: Shaping the Future of Documentary & Factual,’ is the theme of this year’s conference, with a roster including both Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning filmmakers, innovative Australian and international storytellers, and influential business insiders.

Leading the charge in the Spotlight speaker lineup is R.J. Cutler and Trevor Smith of This Machine Filmworks, the brains behind acclaimed documentaries like The September Issue, Big Vape: The Rise & Fall of Juul, and Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry.

Read: DocPlay: new films streaming February 2024

Joining the spotlight are luminaries like Rachel Perkins, the founder of Blackfella Films, and Mstyslav Chernov, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and director of the Oscar-nominated documentary 20 Days in Mariupol.

Spotlight Sessions will also feature Kaouther Ben Hania, director of the Oscar-nominated Four Daughters, and Luke Lorentzen and Ashleigh McArthur, the creative minds behind the Oscar-shortlisted A Still Small Voice.

Beyond the spotlight, AIDC 2024 will dive deep into the business side of things with Shaminder Nahal of Channel 4, and conduct an exploration of score composition with Nainita Desai, an award-winning composer and sound designer.

The AIDC marketplace arena will host decision-makers from global streaming giants like Amazon Prime Video, Stan and Hulu, alongside representatives from broadcasters such as National Geographic, BBC Storyville, and DW. Studios and distributors like Time Studios, Red Bull Studios, and TVF International will also make their mark.

For those seeking funding avenues, AIDC 2024 will provide access to representatives from documentary development funds and foundations, including the International Documentary Association, Impact Partners, and Documentary Australia.

‘At AIDC 2024, we are framing the frontlines of our sector as both a site of progress and resistance where we shape what’s to come and defend what has come before,’ said Natasha Gadd, CEO/Creative Director of AIDC. ‘We are thrilled to announce such a world-class program of speakers, sessions, and screenings for the 2024 program, all of which are guaranteed to challenge, celebrate, and inspire.’

Read: The Theatre of War: Stanislava Pinchuk video art to premiere at ACMI

Here’s what you can see at the conference this year:

AIDC screenings for 2024

 Marungka tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black)

Aa special screening of Berlin Film Festival award-winner Marungka tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) featuring an extended Q&A with the filmmakers. 

ACMI Cinema 2, 2:15 – 3:15, Sunday 3 March.

Frontlines: Short Films curated by POV

A selection of award-winning short documentaries by independent filmmakers, curated by POV for ACMI and AIDC. These films traverse documentary form and topic, offering perspectives that animate, document, capture and illuminate their participants. 

ACMI Cinema 2, 3:45 – 5:15, Sunday 3 March.

Another Body

SXSW Special Jury Award-winner Another Body follows American college student Taylor’s search for answers and justice after she discovers deepfake pornography of herself circulating online. 

ACMI Cinema 2, 6:30 – 8:15, Sunday 3 March 2024

20 Days in Mariupol

Drawing on the daily news dispatches of Associated Press journalist and filmmaker Mstyslav Chernov, 20 Days in Mariupol is the Oscar-nominated telling of Russia’s invasion of Mariupol. 

ACMI Cinema 2, 6:30 – 8:30, Monday 4 March.

A Still Small Voice

Luke Lorentzen’s Oscar-shortlisted A Still Small Voice follows Mati, a chaplain completing a year-long hospital residency, as she learns to provide spiritual care to people confronting profound life changes. 

ACMI Cinema 2, 6:30 – 8:30 Tuesday 5 March 2024

Four Daughters

A gripping metafictional documentary, the Oscar-nominated Four Daughters tells the story of a Tunisian mother’s grief when two of her four daughters run away to join Islamic State in Libya. 

ACMI Cinema 2, 6:30 – 8:30, Wednesday 6 March 2024

AIDC takes place from 3-8 March 2024. For more information, head to the AIDC website.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports