Your Planet Shorts

A Doc Society and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Climate Shorts Collaboration.

In March 2022, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) partnered with Doc Society to launch 'Your Planet Shorts,' an initiative addressing a void in Australia's media landscape. For over a decade, 'climate' struggled to find a place in media industry pitches. The collaborative experiment aimed to augment climate and environment content for the ABC Factual Department. It also aimed to support emerging filmmakers in crafting impactful character driven, climate solution oriented narratives. Simultaneously, for Doc Society, it served as a strategic test to elevate the priority of climate content in the Australian broadcasting system. The program was designed to support the filmmakers from concept to production, broadcast, festival premiere and impact.

Program Highlights

  • Filmmaker Selection: 11 filmmaking teams, including 4 First Nations teams, were chosen through a public call for applications, prioritising narratives from communities on the frontlines of the climate emergency.
  • Production Support: Each filmmaker received a $18,000 AUD production budget to create a 5-10 minute short film, complemented by a comprehensive three-lab series over 6 months covering story development to post-production and impact.
  • Premiere and Distribution: In 2023 the films premiered at the Sydney Film Festival, aired on ABC TV, streamed on iView and via ABC International, they broadcast across the Pacific.
    They reached further international audiences at festivals like Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (USA), Cinefest Oz Film Festival (Canada), and UlsanUlju Mountain Film Festival (South Korea). Regional impact screenings occurred at venues such as the Australian Museum and the New South Wales Department of Environment.
  • Strategic Audience Activation: Within the labs, the film teams were trained to understand target audiences and effectively employ strategies to engage them. As the short films centred on climate solutions and feasible actions to empower audiences to take proactive steps toward a sustainable future, the filmmakers were supported to retain the distribution rights for their impact activities.


Doc Society

  • Film project selection and Lab organisers
  • Creative and impact mentorship
  • Connections to global impact and media networks
  • Funded $140,000 USD towards impact activities for four film teams

Australian Broadcast Corporation

  • Fill project Selection and Executive Producing and commissioning all Selected Films
  • Creative and impact mentorship
  • Lab hosts within the ABC offices
  • Distributed on ABC TV in Australia, ABC International throughout the Pacific region and online streaming via their catch up service ABC iView.
  • Developed and fostered partnerships with five State and Territory Screen Agencies, Shark Island Foundation, Australian Museum, Sydney Film Festivals
  • Commissioned an impact curriculum as a resource for the ABC educational portal.
  • Organised the premiere of all films at Sydney Film Festival and the Australian Museum with invited audience of climate leaders.

Australia State Screen Agencies:

  • Film project selection within their state.
  • Funded of $18,000 AUD per project towards film production budget
  • Supported filmmakers' travel costs for the in-person lab in Sydney

Shark Island Foundation

  • Lab hosts within their Sydney screening room
  • Top up production grants of $25K to 2 of the 11 films

Sydney Film Festival

  • Hosted a climate showcase at their festival with all 11 short films being in competition for the Sustainable Film Award.

Australian Museum

  • Lab hosts within their Sydney Museum.
  • Hosted the second climate showcase in collaboration to an audience of climate and movement leaders.
  • Hosted a follow up screening at the Museum for the general public.


These impactful short films have resonated beyond the screen, making a lasting impact in communities and education:

  • All films broadcast on ABC TV + ABC iview weekly with an average audience of 78K.
  • The film Power To Country film focusing on sustainable energy solutions was nominated for the 2023 Sustainable Film Award at the Sydney Film Festival. It is driving a campaign to increase community donations and amplify awareness of innovative micro-grid solutions.
  • Roadkill Warriors - A film focusing on road safety for wildlife, has crafted an in-depth study guide and a child-friendly song to raise awareness. The film's impact screenings are planned in diverse settings, including communities, schools, and through local councils.
  • Another production, The Oyster Gardener, is focusing on marine ecosystems, creating curriculum resources for schools and fostering community engagement through outreach screening events.
  • Nyarrprarla Malaju? - The film is being used in local indigenous environmental ranger training sessions and community screenings in remote outback Australia.

Our Learning

Embarking on this initiative, we discovered some insights that will illuminate our future path towards similar partnerships:

Carefully choosing films from diverse Australian regions cultivated meaningful connections with communities deeply affected by climate change. This highlighted the significance of amplifying the voices on the frontlines. The funding model, backed by Australian State and Territory Agencies and the Shark Island Institute, serves as a compass for sustainability in future climate storytelling ventures. Focusing on characters and solutions in storytelling deepened the resonance with audiences, showcasing the profound impact of relatable narratives in driving real change. The impact lab empowered advocacy organisations to actively shape the films' social strategies, reflecting a collaborative model that embraces diverse voices, unlocking the potential for transformative storytelling in the climate discourse.

Suggestions for Broadcasters:

  • Pioneering Climate Content Commissioning:
    Showcase the success of commissioning narratives on the climate crisis directly from affected communities, told by those communities.
  • Nurturing New Voices:
    Elevate new narratives from those most affected, fostering diversified and inclusive climate-related stories.
  • Impactful Storytelling:
    Embrace short films as powerful tools for impactful climate narratives, offering diverse perspectives for authenticity.
  • Frontline Narratives for Mainstream Impact:
    Source stories from frontline communities to shape mainstream narratives and cultural perspectives.
  • Promoting Solution-Focused Narratives:
    Actively promote content focusing on solutions, feasible actions, and positive initiatives to empower audiences.
  • Inclusive Discourse:
    Engage with climate leaders as distribution and impact partners to further audience reach and promote climate discussions that balance inclusivity without alienating viewers, fostering open dialogue.

Being part of this film has been extraordinary for our main character, Jolie. Overwhelmed by the response, she's more driven than ever to make an impact in her community and the ecosystems she's passionate about. The experience has opened new opportunities for her as a young woman entering the world of science.

Julia Loersch

The Oyster Gardener