The Watchdog Film Festival is all about celebrating quality film-making on topics of social and societal importance.
This festival accepts submissions from all over the world with a particular focus on investigative documentaries, exposés, journalism-related fiction films, and films that make the viewer question the traditions, practices, systems, and hierarchies within the contemporary world.
The festival event will be held in Brisbane, Australia and will screen around 40 films including smartphone films, documentaries, fiction films, student films, charity (not-for-profit company) made films, and corporation made films.
Filmmakers will have a great opportunity to network with industry professionals at this event and see some of the best investigations done in 2017 by filmmakers around the world.
RATIONALE FOR THIS FESTIVAL:
Investigative journalism is dying with massive redundancies across the media landscape. In some cases, citizens are filling some of that void by doing their own investigations into wrongdoings in society (i.e., see Dark Justice on YouTube for an example). However, in many cases, citizens are filming basic first-hand events and sharing these videos on social media without giving a wider context of the issue at hand. This film festival encourages citizens, filmmakers, and journalists to take the next step beyond filming the witnessed event on their mobile phone and turn it into a documentary or film that provides greater context of the issues that we face in our society. This can be done via documentary or fiction film as there are many ways to address the same issues. Once individuals start conceptualising societal issues through the lens or pen they become watchdogs over society, a very important role in a world where “alternative facts” (i.e., lies) are spread as news. We aim to celebrate excellence in watchdog-style films in the hope that citizen filmmakers and journalists aspire to improve their work and society.
While there will be many award categories at this festival that celebrate quality investigative exposés, documentary, corporate and social responsibility, local talent, students and so on, we also aim to highlight the importance of witness and citizen filmmaking. We often see short clips on social media that people have filmed using their mobile phones. They have an eye-witness account of events and provide a first-person-view (FPV). Most of these videos go online without context and nothing usually eventuates aside from online discussions. With a little tweaking, interviews, fact checking, and narration, some of these clips can be transformed into powerful documentaries. Think films of racist tirades on a train transformed into a short documentary on racism versus inclusivity (eg., https://youtu.be/ZBdYvN49eRU?t=122) (https://youtu.be/Dkm9CWiphWU?t=129) and moving into inclusive multiculturalism.
These smartphone films should have an important message or investigative framework but most don’t. We invite the average citizen to transform their smartphone clip into a short film and submit it to the Watchdog Film Festival.