10 Must-See Short Documentaries From Emerging Australian Filmmakers

tracking farmer dave aftrs short documentary showcase sbs on demand

SBS has partnered with the Australian Film Television and Radio School to showcase some of Australia’s best-emerging filmmakers.

The collection, which is streaming for free now on SBS On Demand, includes 10 short-form documentaries produced by AFTRS students.

They were tasked with creating a documentary no longer than five minutes that explore the themes of culture and identity in Australia.

Highlights from the showcase include a documentary about a person living with Tourette’s Syndrome, an exploration of refugee and asylum seeker activism, as well as a dive into the drag king community.

There’s also an exploration of Indigenous food and plants in the Australian food scene, and a documentary about Farmer Dave, who is returning to Australian TVs shortly on Big Brother Australia: BB Royalty vs New Contenders.

“We are blown away by the calibre of talent in this showcase,” said Haidee Ireland, the Channel Manager of SBS On Demand and World Movies. “The creatives of these documentaries have handled a wide range of topics and issues with incredible care and thought, producing programs that are equal parts moving, informative and entertaining.”

Ireland continued: “There is an extraordinary pool of talent at AFTRS, who have uniquely Australian stories to share and we’re excited to be giving a platform to the next generation of distinctive documentary makers.

“It was a pleasure to collaborate with the team at AFTRS, who share our commitment to championing diverse stories and creatives.”

Meanwhile, Nell Greenwood, the CEO of AFTRS, called the collaboration with SBS On Demand “a wonderful opportunity for these brilliant films by AFTRS students to be discovered by viewers across Australia”.

“SBS has an impressive record for championing new Australian talent and, at AFTRS, we are proud of our own history of nurturing diverse Australian screen voices,” said Greenwood. “This is a terrific collaboration.”

Here are the 10 short-form documentaries, all of which are streaming now, on SBS On Demand.

Born at Eighteen

born at eighteen sbs on demand
Credit: SBS

Synopsis: Born at Eighteen highlights the underrepresented yet common experience of a delayed youth within the LGBTQIA+ community.

The documentary features interviews with two people from different generations as they share their own personal experiences with this phenomenon, as well as how it has affected them in their adult lives.

Watch Born at Eighteen on SBS On Demand.

Drawing the Line

drawing the line aftrs short documentary showcase sbs on demand

Synopsis: Drawing the Line is a powerful animated documentary told via Paralympic gold-medallist, Tiffany Thomas Kane, who was stripped and shoved into a cupboard when she was just fourteen years old.

Tiffany tells her story for the first time, taking the audience on a journey as she defies the odds to win gold for her country, proving to the bullies, and herself, that she’s stronger than they will ever be.

Watch Drawing the Line on SBS On Demand.

Gentle Torture

gentle torture aftrs short documentary showcase sbs on demand

Synopsis: Charismatic brave activist, Arad Nik, advocates his life for refugees and asylum seekers like him, enticing the public to hear his voice and make a change.

After 10 years of activism, Arad still has hope to end temporary visas for asylum seekers in Australia.

Watch Gentle Torture on SBS On Demand.

The King in Me

The King In Me aftrs short documentary showcase sbs on demand

Synopsis: The King in Me is a short documentary that gives us a closer look at the drag king community.

In the shadow of Drag Queens, the Kings show us what it is like to find yourself through the art of drag and to simply be human.

Watch The King in Me on SBS On Demand.

Little Cambodia

little cambodia aftrs short documentary showcase sbs on demand

Synopsis: The daughter of a Cambodian-Australian refugee seeks to understand how the Cambodian genocide, devastating many with famine, has impacted her family’s values towards Cambodian food and culture.

Her Aunty Phanny Bou, a survivor of the regime, explores the circumstances that led to her family’s congruous connection with food.

Watch Little Cambodia on SBS On Demand.

Native Food

native food aftrs short documentary showcase sbs on demand

Synopsis: Explores the uses, access and importance of Indigenous food and plants in modern Australian food culture through the work of 100% Indigenous-owned businesses, the Lillipad Café in Glebe, Sydney, and Jiwah Indigenous Gardens.

Watch Native Food on SBS On Demand.

Pills and Powder Milk

pills and powder milk aftrs short documentary showcase sbs on demand

Synopsis: Pills and Powder Milk is a poetic and participatory hybrid docu-drama about a Torres Strait Islander woman who uncovers her childhood memories and simultaneously discovers her trauma and her triggers.

Watch Pills and Powder Milk on SBS On Demand.

Silent Guitar

silent guitar aftrs short documentary showcase sbs on demand

Synopsis: Ngoc-Tuan Hoang tells the story of growing up in Nha Trang, a small beach town in the South of Vietnam.

In this impoverished town, entangled in the backwash of the Vietnam war, he finds a place of refuge through the classical guitar.

As his skills and passion for the art grow, he is torn between realising his dreams of becoming a musician or adhering to the expectations of his family and school to live a normal, inconspicuous life.

Watch Silent Guitar on SBS On Demand.

Talent Over Tourette’s

talent over tourette's aftrs short documentary showcase sbs on demand

Synopsis: Talent Over Tourette’s is a documentary exploring what it’s like to live with Tourette’s Syndrome and highlights the many talents of those with the condition.

Featuring three individuals who live with Tourette’s, the film discusses tics, hyperfocus and the misconceptions associated, while highlighting the positive outlooks on Tourette’s Syndrome.

Watch Talent Over Tourette’s on SBS On Demand.

Tracking Farmer Dave

tracking farmer dave aftrs short documentary showcase sbs on demand

Synopsis: Farmer Dave comes out to the city but finds his purpose when he tracks back to the Farm.

Watch Tracking Farmer Dave on SBS On Demand.