The 2016 Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) is now underway in Melbourne’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), bringing together more than 550 delegates from the documentary and factual screen content industry for a program of 55 sessions, screenings and networking events.
AIDC is proud to launch the conference by announcing Victorian documentary filmmaker Sonya Pemberton as the winner of the 2016 Stanley Hawes Award. The Award is presented annually to a person or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the documentary sector in Australia over a recognised period of time.
Ms. Pemberton receives the award for her extensive work producing documentary science programs on important social issues that are accessible, informative and entertaining, allowing the public to be better informed about issues surrounding topics like health, age and the environment.
At a time when gender equality sits high in the conscience of the Australian Film Industry, Sonya Pemberton stands out as a shining example of the contribution women make to the industry. Her receipt of the Stanley Hawes Award is an encouraging reflection of AIDC 2016’s attendance-by-gender split – 50% of speakers, 59% of decision makers and 55% of overall delegates at this year’s conference are women.
“Sonya’s extensive and exemplary body of work and her success at carving out a career in the highly specialised area of factual science content, demonstrates she is at the top of her game internationally. We are delighted to honour her commitment to her craft and her subject matter with the Stanley Hawes Award for 2016,” said AIDC Co-Chair Karena Slaninka.
As one of Australia’s leading factual television producers, Ms. Pemberton has written, directed and/or produced over 60 hours of broadcast documentary, and executive produced dozens of hours of award-winning factual series and one-off programs. Her productions have garnered over 70 major awards, including the Eureka Prize for Science Journalism in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2014. Her documentary Immortal won 2012 Best Science Film at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, 2011 Best Documentary and Health Journalist of the Year (National Press Club), and in 2012 the US News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Science Programming.
Ms. Pemberton held the position of Head of Specialist Factual at ABC Television from 2004-2007, moving on to establish Pemberton Films. In 2008 she wrote, directed and produced mental illness documentary Angels & Demons, and wrote, directed and produced eight further documentary projects from 2009-2011, including Elders with Andrew Denton and Catching Cancer. In 2011 she joined forces with CJZ to create Genepool Productions, and produced the acclaimed early childhood vaccination documentary Jabbed – Love, Fear and Vaccines. The US version, Vaccines – Calling The Shots, produced with PBS and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, generated huge audience engagement including 15 million online posts and 4.2 million tweets. Her most recent documentary, Uranium – Twisting The Dragon’s Tail, rated highly for SBS and won the 2015 ATOM Award for Best Documentary Series.
About AIDC: Established in 1987, the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) is the Asia-Pacific’s premier forum and marketplace for the documentary, factual and unscripted entertainment sector. Championing documentary filmmakers and celebrating all forms of factual screen and reality content, the event provides business and networking opportunities, technical and craft knowledge development, and an important forum for industry debate and discussion.