Docos Down Under

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POV executive director Simon KilmurryPOV Executive Director Simon Kilmurry is in Adelaide, Australia this week attending a conference and film market.

The annual Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) in Adelaide is the only documentary marketplace and pitch market in this huge and very distant continent. Conference director Joost den Hartog is a veteran of the esteemed IDFA documentary forum in Amsterdam, and he has managed to corral an impressive range of influential documentary supporters from channels in North American and Europe as he tries to internationalize opportunities for Aussie “doco” makers (that’s what they call documentaries here). Some of the finest commissioning editors in the business gathered to attend the “Meet Market” with filmmakers from the region, including: Cynthia Kane (ITVS), Sarah Jane Flynn (Canwest Mediaworks), Barbara Truyen (VPRO) and from the U.K., Greg Sanderson (BBC Storyville) and Tabitha Jackson (More Four).

AIDC shwag

An assortment of DVDs and other schwag at the Australian International
Documentary Conference in Aidelaide.

Running concurrently were a series of panels, workshops and discussions, including a master class with Peter Gilbert, sessions on cross media projects with Sandi DuBowski as a mentor and a panel looking back at 25 years of Skylight Pictures with Pamela Yates and Paco De Onis moderated by Peter Wintonick.

The conference has had a history of moving around Australia from year to year. It is now set to stay in Adelaide for the next few years and the state government seems to be making a strong commitment to supporting film and filmmaking. Premiere Mike Rann announced a number of initiatives to expand support for the conference and to help regional filmmakers reach international audiences and retain more income from their films at the conference opening.

Running separately and starting just as AIDC ends is the Big Pond Adelaide Film Festival, which features fiction films and a pretty impressive lineup of docs, a lot of which will be familiar to those who follow the doc circuit.

It may be far away, but along with Hot Docs, Sheffield and IDFA, this is a market and region to watch for some interesting stories and films.

Simon Kilmurry
Simon Kilmurry
Simon served as chief operating officer of American Documentary for six years before assuming the role of executive director in Fall 2006. Since joining AmDoc in 1999, he has played a key role in helping to set strategic direction for the organization and implementing new initiatives, including the Diverse Voices Project, POV's co-production initiative in support of emerging filmmakers; POV's Borders, PBS' Webby Award-winning online series; and True Lives, a second-run series for independent documentaries on public television. In addition, he worked to secure pioneering partnerships with both Netflix and Docurama to expand the distribution opportunities for POV filmmakers and enhance branding for POV Previously, Simon was associate director at Teachers & Writers Collaborative, a nonprofit literary arts and education organization and publisher, where he is now a member of the board of directors. He has also served as a board member and treasurer for Elders Share the Arts and East Harlem Block Schools, and as an informal advisor and funding panel member for other organizations including the New York City Center for Arts Education, the Association for Independent Video and Filmmakers and New York State Council on the Arts. Simon attended the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Columbia University Business School's Institute for Not-for-Profit Management.