The 65th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism are now open for entries, for work published or broadcast by Australian journalists between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020. 

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Entries close midnight August 31.

2020 Walkley Documentary Award: Eligibility and How to Enter

Entries for the 2020 Walkley Award for Documentary are open from Wednesday, July 1. Entries can comprise any nonfiction film made for cinema, broadcast or web release with a running time of at least 40 minutes and a maximum time of three hours, not including entirely scripted or improvised fictionalisations of actual events. If the documentary is part of a series that exceeds the three-hour limit entrants must choose the three hours of content they wish to be judged on (i.e. the first three episodes).

Entries that have appeared within regularly scheduled television current affairs programs must be documentary in nature and execution.

Number of entrants: The named entrant(s) should be the individual(s) most involved in the key journalistic and creative aspects of the filmmaking process. A maximum of three people may be designated as entrants, at least one of whom must be the credited director who exercised directorial control.

Entrants to the Documentary category must submit their entries through the online form. We no longer require disc copies of your work.

Congratulations to Stan Grant and team, winners of the 2019 Walkley Documentary Awards

The remarkable story of Indigenous AFL player Adam Goodes is at the heart of The Australian Dream. Writer Stan Grant and the filmmaking team use Goodes’ experience as the prism through which to tell a deeper and even more powerful story about race, identity and belonging. Reflecting in detail on the 2013, 2014 and 2015 AFL seasons, and the events that led Goodes to leave the game, the documentary asks fundamental questions about the nature of racism and discrimination in society today.

Stan Grant, a proud Wiradjuri man, has more than 30 years’ experience in radio and television news and current affairs. Grant spent 10 years as a senior international correspondent for CNN in Asia and the Middle East. He won the 2015 Walkley Award for Coverage of Indigenous Affairs and his book, Talking to My Country, won the 2016 Walkley Book Award.

Title

“The Australian Dream”

Publication

GoodThing Productions, Passion Pictures UK and ABC

Year

2019

Category

Documentary award

Judges’ comments:

“The Australian Dream is exceptional because it confronts sports-obsessed white Australia with both its overt and subconscious racism. The documentary exposes the context in which white Australians, thinking they were merely barracking robustly for their footy team, were unaware of what had actually influenced their words and actions. Stan Grant’s own profound insights as an Indigenous Australian have helped enable this documentary to confront non-Indigenous Australia with its wilful ignorance. It makes an inspiring contribution to reconciliation.”

2018 Walkley Documentary Award-winner

Myanmar’s Killing Fields, Evan Williams, Eve Lucas and Georgina Davies, Dateline, SBS

Through exclusive access to videos and members of the Rohingya network who risked jail and execution, Evan Williams, Eve Lucas and Georgina Davies were able to prove that violence unleashed by the Myanmar army in late August 2017 was part of a long-standing campaign by the  military to systematically force all of the Rohingya out of the country permanently. They started with videos of civilians wounded and killed by the Myanmar forces as they fled their burning villages. Then they spent six months finding the people in those videos, cross-checking multiple accounts and sources. The documentary is being used as a key reference point by investigators from the US State Department and the UN Fact Finding Mission.

About the winners

Evan Williams has more than 20 years’ experience as a TV news and current affairs reporter and producer. From 1992 to 1997 he was the ABC’s correspondent in South East Asia and then worked as a reporter on Foreign Correspondent. He reports regularly on SBS Dateline.

Eve Lucas is a freelance producer specialising in international current affairs. She produced a documentary that won a 2014 Emmy Award. In 2013, Lucas filmed and directed for Al Jazeera’s 101 East series in Tajikistan and Sri Lanka. She has worked as a field producer for SBS Dateline throughout Europe.

Georgina Davies has been making longform programs for 20 years. She started as a researcher on Seven’s Today Tonight, worked at BBC Current Affairs in London, and joined SBS Dateline in 2015. She became series producer in 2017 and acting executive producer in October 2018.

View Winner Profile

Past winners

2017 Winners

A Sense of Self

Martin Butler, Liz Jackson, Bentley Dean and Tania Nehme, ABC TV

Award-winning television journalist Liz Jackson is no stranger to making incisive reports, but this film was new territory. Jackson had the role of both subject and storyteller in this account of her descent into Parkinson’s disease. Made by three close friends and co-directors – Jackson, her husband Martin Butler and director of photography Bentley Dean – A Sense of Self is built on a foundation of trust that allowed for a truly raw, intimate and compelling documentary about degenerative disease and its effects on a family. It’s fearless reporting, with heartbreak and humour, and touched a nerve with more than a million Australians.

2016 Winners

Hitting Home

Sarah Ferguson, Nial Fulton and Ivan O’Mahoney

Hitting Home went beyond an excellent news/current affairs story. It both exploited the momentum at the time of broadcast around domestic violence and propelled the issue much further, engaging viewers in complexities of gender control and violence, viscerally confronting male perpetrators and showing impact on families. It revealed compassionately that domestic violence affects all classes of women. A powerful window into a national crisis and a call to arms.

2015 Winner

Only the Dead

Michael Ware

Only the Dead is Australian correspondent Michael Ware’s documentary retrospective of seven years, beginning with the “Coalition of the Willing’s” invasion of Iraq in 2003. It records the birth of the Islamic State in 2003, reveals a US war crime committed by soldiers in 2007, and takes you to the front lines of the conflict’s greatest battles. The film also crosses over to the other side, to insurgent training camps and attacks against US forces. Ware’s work as a frontline reporter resulted in his extraordinary access to the creator of IS, Abu Mousab al Zarqawi, and IS’s videoed atrocities of suicide bombings in Baghdad and the first of its ritualised beheadings.