Documentaries

Everything we commission in SBS Documentaries must reflect our Charter and explore multicultural Australia. Our Charter makes us distinctive and gives us a clear vision, this vision is enhanced by 4 key values: To provoke debate, push boundaries, surprise audiences, and inspire change. This ensures bold and distinctive documentaries that would only play on SBS.  We only commission hour long documentaries, either as singles or series.

History

We are actively looking for big bold series and singles that explore Australia's multicultural history. We'd encourage alternative forms of exploring this history be that through drama, a presenter, oral history or living history. We encourage fresh and innovative ways to bring the past to life. Scale, ambition and relevance are vital as we explore how our diverse and multicultural past is central to the makeup of Australia today.  

Science
We are focusing on medical stories and health issues that have cutting edge science and strong relevance to all Australians, and we must ensure diversity on screen, be that expert talent or any other contributors. Co-productions are always of interest to SBS, and typically science is a genre when co-productions are most common. For these, through necessity, we may expand our remit beyond issues of social cohesion in Australia if it is cost effective. This makes it all the more important for our science documentaries to embody our commissioning values, and ensure that they are truly distinctive.

Contemporary Documentaries
We are looking for creatively ambitious ideas that are big in scale that get us into contemporary issues of social cohesion in a memorable way. This can be anything from high concept constructed ideas, to observational documentaries.

Indigenous Documentaries
We are looking for documentaries that tackle big subjects and can make a difference. One quality which is important is to find a way of surprising audiences in terms of the story, and we would encourage innovative approaches to storytelling. 



Is Australia Racist?
Date my Race
First Contact Season 2
Untold Australia: Strictly Jewish




Diversity Talent Escalator
SBS and the screen agencies are collaborating to fund a new Diversity Talent Escalator to secure genuine,  flexible, on-the-job, paid learning and immersion for emerging screen practitioners from diverse backgrounds on ALL SBS commissioned programs including documentary, factual entertainment, food, comedy and/or drama programs.

Aside from practical training, the scheme will provide vital networking opportunities, hands-on experience/credit, and increase the chance of securing further work with other companies in the screen sector.

To find out more, contact your Commissioning Editor.


Untold Australia: Call out for new single documentaries

SBS is pleased to announce a call out for submissions for Season 4 of ‘Untold Australia.’
SBS is looking for one hour documentaries that explore hidden multicultural worlds. These can be hidden subcultures, unexplored areas of multicultural Australia, or an unexpected way of tackling contemporary issues. What they will all have in common is that they will be character-led worlds with unfolding, untold stories that will surprise and occasionally shock.

Season 1 of ‘Untold Australia’ ranged from looking for love in the Australian-Indian community, (Indian Wedding Race) an ultra-orthodox Jewish community in the heart of Melbourne, (Strictly Jewish) and Norfolk Island’s unique culture and its changing relationship with Australia (A Modern Mutiny) 

Season 2 is in production as a VR season in collaboration with Screen Queensland.  Season 3 is in full production with a new range of four more 1 hour Documentaries.

SBS Head of Documentaries, Joseph Maxwell said: “Untold Australia is a returning strand that allows a diversity of voices and stories to be explored. We are looking for more surprising and moving stories that give an insight into modern multicultural Australia.”

SBS are looking for a variety of tones and encourage proposals which are celebratory as well as issue- based. They will be observational documentaries and led by strong engaging characters. A short character reel is vital.

This season of up to 4 x 1 hours will screen on SBS from 2018.
SBS Documentaries welcomes proposals of a 3-5 pages and they must have accompanying pitch reels, (ideally 2 – 5 mins).

Successful pitches will be shortlisted for further funded development.

Proposals should be sent to SBS Documentaries

Julia Tamplenizza: Julia.Tamplenizza@sbs.com.au

Deadline for proposals is Friday 6th  October
Decision will be made by  Monday  30th October

Generally SBS expects that considerations regarding distribution have been factored in, and discussions regarding the marketing of the proposal will be included in your application.



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Our Team

John Godfrey

John Godfrey

Head of Unscripted

Chris Irvine

Chris Irvine

Head of Commercial and Production

Joseph Maxwell

Joseph Maxwell

Head of Documentaries

Susie Jones

Susie Jones

Commissioning Editor

Heather Oxenham

Heather Oxenham

Production Supervisor

Julia Tamplenizza

Production Coordinator

Bryony Tesoriero

Bryony Tesoriero

Assistant Commissioning