Last month I was fortunate enough to be involved as a panellist in the Good Pitch documentary event in Sydney. I had the pleasure of pledging support to a powerful documentary about a Sudanese woman, Constance Okot, living with her six children in Wagga Wagga. This was one of the most remarkable events I have been to in my long career.
Good Pitch is an initiative that brings together documentary film-makers with foundations, NGOs, campaigners, philanthropists, policymakers, brands and media around social and environmental issues. The aim is to forge partnerships and campaigns that are good for all involved. Partnerships that produce the documentaries are good for the films and film-makers and the outcomes hopefully promote important information and are good for society.
Good Pitch was by invitation only at the Sydney Opera House, where the producers and directors of six documentaries were given seven minutes to pitch their films and their social benefits of them. Attendees were then shown a three-minute trailer and members of an eight-person panel stated whether they were willing to work with the film-makers, and how.
In my capacity as SSI CEO, I was a panellist for the documentary Constance on the Edge. In the short pitch I watched, I saw a film about the courage and resilience of a woman who was trying to transcend her past experiences of being a refugee. This pitch showed the challenges faced by refugee women and their families, and the tenacity required for them to survive.
After the pitch, one person offered $50,000 and received rapturous applause, before he was outdone by someone who pledged $200,000, to more rapturous applause. The atmosphere was electric! More than $500,000 was raised for the film’s production.
In the 90 seconds I had to respond, I said this documentary was a wonderful fit for SSI and something our organisation would be thrilled to support. This film matches one of SSI’s key principles, that of meaningful social and economic participation and the right of all people to reach their full potential.
Opportunities for the voices of disadvantaged and marginalised people, like Constance, need to be created and supported. I told the producer of Constance on the Edge that SSI’s networks could facilitate local screenings and discussions on the issues covered in the documentary. This documentary could be a wonderful resource in assisting to shift negative and closed perceptions about refugees and their communities.
I was uplifted after this event and feeling positive about the many people in the community who want to support people from refugee backgrounds and help share their stories. Read more about the documentary here.