What we loved at the Australian International Documentary Conference.

This week Clothesline were fortunate enough to attend Australian International Documentary Conference. AIDC is Australia's premier event for documentary, factual and unscripted screen content. These were our highlights:

1.Alan Hicks talking about his documentary, Quincy.

This was the first time I had heard about Aussie film maker, Alan Hicks. A bit of a background on Alan: As a young surfer/ jazz drummer from sunny Wollongong he got a scholarship to study jazz in New York. Moving to the big apple, he started to form friendships in the jazz world. One particular friendship with jazz legend, Clark Terry, changed everything. He saw a story forming with Clark and believed that it needed to be shared with the world. Having never produced a film/doco/ actually anything before he got a team together and started shooting. He crowd funded and got enough coin together to produce “Keep on keeping on.” It did really bloody well and it was through this doco that he started a friendship with the legendary, Quincy Jones. Quincy became mates with Alan and also his daughter, Rashida Jones. They loved what Alan produced for Clark and asked him to help them create a doco on Quincy. One Grammy award later for Best Music Film, and Alan Hicks is now traveling the globe talking about his doco and the way he approaches his work. His key message was about approaching storytelling or the story arc like a song or good album that you just can’t put down. He draws on rhythm and pacing to weave footage, live performances and archive vision into his films. An interesting take on the story process.

2. Conversation with the Producer of documentary series, Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane

One morning Walkley winning Producer, Caro Meldrum-Hana, received a letter in the post. It was a letter that would change the course of her life. It was from convicted baby murderer, Keli Lane, claiming innocence and wanting Caro’s help to tell her story . What do you do? Keli Lane is behind bars, so the only way Caro can communicate with her is via phone, in six minute blocks. Despite this massive hurdle, Caro decides to take the story on and investigate Lane’s claims of wrongful conviction. Resulting in a documentary series that went to air on the ABC in 2018 receiving huge audiences and uncovering new information and holes in the case. This conversation was intriguing. Hearing the behind the scenes notes from the doco, learning how Caro coped with dealing with such a traumatic story and how she was able to stay independent and unbiased despite getting to know Keli and her family and friends very well.

3. Impact documentary: Surviving R.Kelly

Director, Tamra Simmons, spoke about her documentary series, Surviving R.Kelly. It’s a shocking and complex story about liberating women trapped in relationships with Kelly, exposing sexual harassment and assault in the music industry and exploring the issue of how black women are often ignored when they are sexually assaulted. Tamra’s work has had such a huge impact, on Kelly and sexual assault in the music industry. And the story isn’t over with new developments happening in the R.Kelly case continually.

Jac Tonks