AustLit logo
Best Feature Documentary
Subcategory of Film Critics Circle of Australia
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2019

joint winner form y separately published work icon The Final Quarter ( dir. Ian Darling ) Australia : Shark Island Productions , 2019 15991571 2019 single work film/TV biography

'Cheers turned to boos in the final years of AFL champion footballer Adam Goodes' career when he publicly called out racism. This impassioned film tracks Australia's heated response.

'The Indigenous leader and Sydney Swans player became a lightning rod for an intense public debate and widespread media commentary that divided the country. In the last three years of his career, Goodes was named Australian of the Year, accused of staging for free kicks, and performed an on-field war dance celebration. When the football crowds turned on him, the Brownlow medallist left his beloved game. Director Ian Darling’s (Suzy and the Simple Man, SFF 2016) film is crafted using only archival footage aired at the time, which has been expertly edited: a technique seen most recently in documentaries such as Amy and Senna. The result is a powerful film that holds a mirror to Australia and suggests we reconsider what happened on and off the football field.'

Source: Sydney Film Festival.

Year: 2018

joint winner form y separately published work icon Backtrack Boys Catherine Scott , ( dir. Catherine Scott ) Australia : Infinity Pictures , 2018 18634504 2018 single work film/TV

'A group of troubled boys are on a perilous course towards jail until they meet up with the free-wheeling jackaroo, Bernie Shakeshaft, and hit the road with his legendary dog jumping team.

'This observational documentary, filmed over two years, follows boys in a youth program that Bernie runs from a shed on the outskirts of Armidale, a rural town in Australia. On the road, the boys find their voice, make great friendships and the dogs become national champions. But as the boy’s sleep under the stars at night the trauma is never too far away.

'With their survival and futures at stake they must constantly step up, push themselves, support each other and some days can be hard. This inspiring coming of age story reveals the challenges and triumphs these boys face as they try to find their place in the world, and the dogs that help tame their wild ways.'

Source: Production blurb.

joint winner form y separately published work icon Gurrumul The Documentary of Dr G Yunupingu’s Life Paul Williams , ( dir. Paul Williams ) Australia : Resolution Media , 2017 11950250 2017 single work film/TV

'A soaring, evocative audio-visual journey into the life, culture and landscapes of one of Australia’s most beloved singers – Dr G Yunupingu.

'Blind from birth, Dr G Yunupingu found his identity through song and the haunting voice that has already become legend. His debut album introduced Australia to the Songlines and culture of his Elcho Island community, but Dr G Yunupingu found himself increasingly torn between city and country, present and past, self and the community to which he owed so much.

'From director and close friend Paul Williams comes a profound exploration of the life and music of this most revered of Australian artists. Co-produced by Dr G Yunupingu himself, the film uses the tools of his music – chord, melody, song – and the sounds of the land to craft an audio-first cinematic experience of beauty and power, offering a rare insight into a reclusive master who spoke in his own inimitable language.' (Production summary)

Year: 2007

winner form y separately published work icon Forbidden Lie$ Anna Broinowski , Australia : Palace Films , 2007 Z1277577 2007 single work film/TV

'In July 2004, Norma Khouri, best-selling author of 'Forbidden Love', was exposed as a fake. She'd won fame and fortune as a Jordanian virgin with a fatwah on her head for her campaign against honour killings. But she was really Norma Bagain, an alleged Chicago con artist on the run from the FBI for $1 million of fraud. Spinning murder, greed and literary scandal into a web that entangles us all, FORBIDDEN LIE$ is a real-life thriller for our time.'

Source: Screen Australia.