The Social Impact Filmmaker


The Social Impact Filmmaker

Tuesday 11 March • AFTRS • 6pm for 6:30

WHERE: AFTRS, Entertainment Quarter, 130 Bent St, Moore Park (Parking discounted after 6pm.)


ENTRY: Donation $7.

RSVP not required, but be early to ensure your seat. Please invite your friends too! This event is open to the public.


The last few years have seen a rise in production of documentaries aiming to create change on particular social issues. New approaches to create social impact and ways to engage audiences are being developed alongside rapid shifts in funding and distribution. MARY MEETS MOHAMMAD and I AM A GIRL are two recent films that have successfully used social media. Filmmakers Heather Kirkpatrick, Rebecca Barry and Ester Harding will show clips and discuss their innovative strategies in this session hosted by Tom Zubrycki and Rod Freedman. MARY MEETS MOHAMMAD is a feature documentary by Tasmanian filmmaker Heather Kirkpatrick. Heather released the self-funded film theatrically in 2013. It has screened in over 180 locations nationwide and is self-distributed with publicity focused mainly on social media and a broad social impact outreach program. Its gross box office of over $150,000 ranked it 15th of all Australian films last year. The film was a 2013 F4 finalist and a 2013 Walkley Award Finalist.

MARY MEETS MOHAMMAD puts a human face on asylum seekers and throws light on the debate about mandatory detention in Australia. Through broad outreach, the film hopes to shift public perception on the issue. Heather will explore the making and distributing of her film from raising finance, to building a movement and network of volunteers, budget tips and how to self manage a theatrical release. She will also outline her community and regional screening strategy and the vital role of social media in publicising the film.

I AM A GIRL is a feature documentary by Rebecca Barry. Launched in cinemas in August 2013 with philanthropic funding support and awareness raised exclusively through social media, IAAG enjoyed a sold-out opening weekend. Palace Cinemas picked up the film for a national theatrical release and Cinema Nova in Melbourne programmed it for 5 consecutive weeks. Since then, more than 50 community groups have hosted screenings of the film, enabling them to raise some $60,000 in charitable donations for their cause. IAAG was nominated for four 2014 AACTA Awards, including Best Feature Documentary. I AM A GIRL explores the reality of what it means to be a girl in the 21st century. The film has been made to contribute to the conversation around women’s rights globally and locally. Rebecca Barry and co-producer Ester Harding will share information about the realities of philanthropic financing, the flexibility this affords with distribution, lessons from a self-managed release and tips for activating your audience to ‘Do Something’.

I AM A GIRL screens on Wednesday 5 March at 8.30pm on ABC2.



Heather Kirkpatrick is an independent filmmaker, journalist and outdoor instructor. Heather studied postgraduate Convergent Journalism and travelled solo through the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda filming stories of war-displaced people. Mary Meets Mohammad is her first documentary. A short version screened on ABC Compass was co-produced by Tom Zubrycki.

Rebecca Barry is an award-winning filmmaker. She directed and shot the popular series Inspiring Teachers (SBS) and directed the public-polarising Footy Chicks (SBS). She has directed Logie and AACTA nominated series drama for major broadcasters. Recent productions include I Am A Girl and ratings success The Surgery Ship (SBS) with her production company Media Stockade.

Ester Harding is an award winning all-media producer of documentary and drama films with a passion for social-impact storytelling. Her previous screen credits include Bush Slam (ABC), Goa Hippy Tribe and After Six-Four, (SBS Online), all media documentary Storm Surfers 3D (SPAA Awards 2012 Interactive Producer of the Year, with Firelight Productions) and the short drama films Make Me and Liv. In 2012, she line- produced The Surgery Ship (SBS) and co-produced I Am A Girl with Media Stockade.