SBS shows The Australian Wars and The Swap win MIPCOM awards

Two SBS documentaries have received international recognition at the annual MIPCOM Awards in France.

SBS documentaries The Australian Wars and The Swap have won international recognition at the annual MIPCOM Awards in Cannes, France.

The Australian Wars received the 2023 Content Innovation Award for Representation and Inclusion – Unscripted, at the MIPCOM awards ceremony held in Cannes overnight.

The SBS series, produced by Blackfella Films, explores and confronts the story of the bloody battles fought on Australian soil as the colonial frontier pushed forward, and First Nations people resisted. Directed and presented by filmmaker Rachel Perkins, the three-part series covers part of Australian history not commonly known or understood, at a historic moment for the nation.

Since its premiere on SBS in October 2022, the show has received much critical acclaim for its craft, impact, and vital contribution to truth telling, with awards including the 2023 TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Factual or Documentary Program, the Digital History Prize at the New South Wales Premier’s History Awards; Gold (History & Society) at the 2023 New York Festival Awards; and becoming the Australian representative in three Asian 2023 Academy Creative Awards categories (Best Factual Presenter, Bet Direction Non-Fiction, and Best Documentary Series).

The series is also a finalist in the upcoming 2023 Walkley Awards, to be announced in November. It is also set to appear on screens internationally, selling to networks in Canada, New Zealand, Asia and the United Kingdom. 

The Swap, produced by Southern Pictures for SBS, premiered in March 2023.

SBS’s documentary series The Swap was also recognised, receiving the MIPCOM CANNES Diversify TV Award for Representation of Race and Ethnicity (Non-Scripted) at the ceremony, the only Australian production to be recognised in the category.

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Produced by Southern Pictures for SBS, the three-part series documents an experiment, pioneered by Ali Kadri, the CEO of the Islamic College of Brisbane, that sees 12 students and families from different cultures, religions and backgrounds thrown into each other’s worlds. Covering one school term, the three-part series follows the students as they experience the anxiety, excitement and wonder of spending time at each other’s schools and with each other’s families and communities, breaking down social barriers and building acceptance, respect and understanding along the way.

SBS Director of Television Kathryn Fink said: ‘We’re exceptionally proud to see these ground-breaking and uniquely Australian stories being recognised for their compelling and impactful storytelling, continuing our legacy in documentaries that challenge perceptions and ignite important discussion, and that also make for inspiring and entertaining television for local and global audiences.’

The Content Innovation Awards, in partnership with MIPCOM, celebrate significant contributions to the transformation of the global television industry, recognising those at the forefront of innovation. The Australian Wars was also shortlisted for Best Documentary Series at the awards, with The Swap also shortlisted in the Representation and Inclusion Award – Unscripted category, while SBS original series Safe Home (Kindling Pictures and Banijay Rights for SBS), was shortlisted for the Best New Scripted Award. 

The MIPCOM CANNES Diversify TV Awards are dedicated to championing and promoting diversity and inclusion in all its forms across the international television industry. They aim to bring attention to programs that embrace excellent representation in exemplary shows, across a range of categories for scripted and unscripted content.

The Australian Wars and The Swap are both available to stream free on SBS On Demand.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites