Call out: NITV’s short documentary film initiative Our Stories

What is ‘Our Stories’?

The aim of Our Stories is to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the opportunity to produce factual stories from the diverse communities that make up Australia. The initiative will involve support from the development stage through to the final delivery of the project, and gives emerging filmmakers an invaluable national television platform to showcase stories from around Australia.

Completed films are intended for broadcast on NITV and available to view on SBS On Demand.

Explore programs made in previous years here.  

What are we looking for in Our Stories?

We’re looking for factual stories that will resonate with NITV audiences. Whilst nationwide, NITV gives special emphasis to regional and remote stories.

2019 is the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages and applicants are encouraged to use this as inspiration.


NITV will provide funding to successful applicants in the form of a presale, which will give you funds to make your film and provide NITV with the rights to broadcast the documentary on TV and on SBS On Demand.

The amounts will be:


  • $25,000 presale per documentary; or
  • $27,000 presale per documentary (only available for documentaries with at least 80% of content in language)

We want to receive proposals from new and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander filmmakers who either do not have a credit, or do not have a credit/s for a project longer than 15-minutes. More experienced filmmakers with credits may be part of the team if they are mentoring an emerging filmmaker.

We require at least two out of three creatives (producer, director and writer) to be Indigenous.


If you have previously received funding from NITV, you must be up to date with all the obligations set out in your contract. For example, you cannot submit an Our Stories proposal this year if you were funded last year but haven’t yet delivered your documentary. If you’re not sure whether you have an outstanding project with NITV, please contact

How to submit an application

Submit your application using our online form, which can be found here.

You will need to prepare and attach the following documents with your application:

  • 1 x one page pitch document with a synopsis about the film and a creative statement from you;
  • 1 x 2-min clip that showcases your skillset as a producer/director/writer. This may be a showreel, or a piece to camera or trailer about your film; and
  • 1 x budget for your documentary using this template:
  • If applicable: documentation and/or ICIP statement of any clearances or permissions obtained.

You can submit up to three applications per person or company.

Please submit a separate application form for each entry.

Application deadline

Applications now open

Applications close: Thursday 14 November 2019


All documentaries are to be delivered by September 2020.

Your application will be assessed by the NITV Commissions team. All applications will be reviewed by Indigenous assessors.


Decisions on applications may take up to 6–8 weeks.


If your application is successful, you will need to show that you have the relevant rights and permissions to make and screen the documentary. As explained in further detail below, this might include things such as licences or rights assignments for music or other original material that you do not own, or location filming permissions, or agreements with actors or presenters.

(a) intellectual property rights (including copyright, performers’ rights and moral rights);

(b) Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property rights Indigenous cultural and intellectual property (ICIP). This refers to things like dances, song cycles, landscapes, stories, images and other objects that are part of Indigenous people’s cultural heritage. The right to use these in your film will have to be negotiated by you with the relevant community;

(c) rights in relation to any creative contribution embodied in the Program (including scripts, sound recordings, musical works, literary works, artistic works, audio visual material, photographs, the Program name, performances or other contribution of services) including any musical work proposed to be used as the opening and/or closing theme for the Program; and

(d) rights from persons appearing in the program, including in relation to likeness, voice and performance; to enable NITV to fully and properly exercise the rights granted to NITV.


Copyright of the finished film will be owned by the filmmaker. NITV will enter into a presale agreement with the successful filmmakers to acquire a licence to broadcast the documentary on TV, online and other relevant platforms, but we do not own the film. These rights will be set out in your agreement with NITV.

Links and Resources

The Greater Perspective Protocol and guidelines for the production of film and television on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


SBS Charter

SBS Codes of Practice set out the policies SBS uses to guide its programming, including programming for NITV.

SBS Editorial Guidelines explain the principles that guide SBS's editorial processes, including editorial responsibility, conflicts of interest, and commercial and external funding relationships. Two of these guidelines are specific to NITV, relating to in-language and children’s programming.

Screen Australia has useful guides on how to create a script layout, synopsis, outline and treatment.

Application Form

You can submit your application here.