Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

AIDC: Australian International Documentary Conference. Post #1. The Guardian’s Filters & Deals

The Guardian‘s Head of Documentaries is Charlie Phillips.

  • I caught up with him on the sunny terrace of Melbourne’s Federation Square.
  • It was one of lots of productive conversations with buyers and sellers that I enjoyed during Day 1 of AIDC.

Charlie recapped his hot buttons and key terms.

I found the information to be very instructive about the scale and editorial drivers of a global newspaper brand’s documentary project.


  • 20 acquisitions / year.
  • 20-30 minutes.
  • Typical fee: UK15,000.
  • Terms: worldwide, online, in perpetuity.
  • Story-driven feature journalism.
  • Like a Guardian long read magazine article.
  • Fast-paced.
  • A strong story arc that moves quickly and incorporates brilliant story-telling and characters rather than portraits.
  • Globally relevant.
  • Genres: Mainly social / political / current affairs / human interest.
  • No History. Sport & Culture among unlikely categories, unless they’re story-driven.
  • Distribution on Facebook, YouTube and other online platforms.

Recent Successes

  • Gun Nation (around 1 million views)
  • Desert Fire
  • Radical Brownies
  • And more here