Nominees have been announced for the 2024 AACTA Award for Best Documentary.
The expansion of the Award from six to eight feature-length non-fiction ominees comes after a record number of 41 productions submitted for consideration, the most in AACTA history.
The nominees are:
– Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story
– Harley & Katya
– John Farnham: Finding The Voice
– The Dark Emu Story
– The Giants
– The Last Daughter
– This Is Going To Be Big
– To Never Forget
AACTA CEO, Damian Trewhella said, “It is a remarkable to see the record-breaking number of compelling entries received. It is a testament to the growth of the Australian screen industry and the heightened commitment to championing non-fiction stories. Each of the eight nominees demonstrate the power of storytelling, shedding light on diverse perspectives and driving meaningful conversations. Be sure to watch out for these fantastic documentaries.”
Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story
Director Paul Goldman’s Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story is a rare insight into how hitmaker and trailblazer Michael Gudinski inspired the soundtrack of a nation and revolutionised the Australian music industry. Filmed after the passing of Gudinksi, the film is told in his own words from over 850 pieces of archival material and 50 interviews including Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue and Dave Grohl.
Harley & Katya
Harley & Katya tells the story of Indigenous figure skater Harley Windsor from Western Sydney and Ekaterina “Katya” Alexandrovskaya from Moscow. Together they formed a magical partnership on ice, making history for Australia with Harley becoming Australia’s first Indigenous Winter Olympian. Unfortunately, their tale becomes a disturbing and profoundly moving study of elite athletes who rise to the top of their discipline, and the toll that such an ascent can take.
John Farnham: Finding The Voice
Poppy Stockell’s first theatrical feature John Farnham: Finding The Voice follows the untold story of Australian music icon John Farnham. Through home footage, rare concert archives and commentary from musical colleagues including Richard Marx, Celine Dion and the late Olivia Newton-John, the documentary follows the rise of Farnham from ‘60s pop fame to record-breaking success at the age of 38 with the release of Whispering Jack.
The Dark Emu Story
Based on the 2014 best-selling book, The Dark Emu Story explores the explosive claims that First Nations people were farmers who were part of a complex economic system that challenged Australia to rethink its history and ignited debate. From director Allan Clarke and produced by Blackfella Films it delves deep into the controversy, enlightens our understanding of Australian history and provides a platform for First Nations peoples to share their story.
Intertwining the life cycle of ancient trees with the life of Bob Brown, directors Laurence Billiet and Rachael Antony have created a cinematic portrait of the politician that required rigging large format cameras 100m up in the trees’ canopy and 3D scanning actual forest to create ‘spellbinding’ animations. The documentary explores Brown’s life, becoming the first openly gay member of parliament in Australia and leader of the Australian Greens during its establishment.
The Last Daughter
Director Brenda Matthews is a Wiradjuri woman who at two years old was taken from her family and placed with a white foster family. At seven, she was returned to her biological parents. The Last Daughter tells Brenda’s story as she attempts to search for her foster family with whom she had lost all contact with, in an attempt to learn the truth about her upbringing and reconcile the two sides of her family.
This Is Going To Be Big
In director Thomas Charles Hyland directorial debut, This Is Going To Be Big follows Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Specialist School as they arrange their John Farnham themed musical. Told from the perspective of a select number of students, the documentary is a peek behind the curtain as a cast of neurodivergent teens prepare to come of age and hit the stage. Students tell their own story, ensuring authentic and meaningful representation of the disability community on-screen.
To Never Forget
In this recreation of a photo from 1941, director Peter Hegedüs explores the story of the women captured in time during the Latvian Holocaust. Using new immersive 360 technology and aided by Ethel Davis, a 92-year-old Jewish Australian, the documentary exposes how the Holocaust continues to affect lives, families and geopolitics today.