MDFF Review: Australia Burns… Silence of the Land

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Australia Burns… Silence of the Land

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Written and Directed by Shane McLachlan

Review by Gavin Bond

You have got to hand it to independent Aussie filmmaker Shane McLachlan.

Not only did the Sydney based documentarian completely self-fund the production of this timely environmentally themed documentary but he also served as writer, director, editor, and cinematographer.

After a successful Pozible crowdfunding campaign, he has now been able to premiere his resonant film and enter it in numerous film festivals across the country.

Hopefully, domestic audiences will get to see Australia Burns… Silence of the Land as it is a thought provoking and insightful examination of an impending environmental crisis.

As the title suggests, this doco chronicles the devastating effects of the catastrophic 2019- 20 bushfire season known as the Black Summer Bushfires.

In just one year, raging bushfires on the east coast of Australia scorched an estimated 18.6 million hectares, while destroying nearly 3,000 homes, killing 34 people and countless species of Australian fauna. 

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Through the use of startling firefighting vision and a series of revealing interviews with fire fighters, Australia Burns…Silence of the Land brings viewers face to face with the horrors of bushfires and the emotional damage caused by personal loss and grief.

Director McLachlan does not just concentrate on the carnage caused by the bushfires but examines the true cause of the tragedy and the dire future ramifications.

Not only is global warming a major contributing factor but the lack of affirmative action by the Australian government leaves the country vulnerable to inevitable future summer carnage.

While proceedings do become a little repetitive and overlong, Australia Burns… Silence of the Land features impressive post-production and sweeping drone footage.

Even more striking is McLachlan’s undeniable passion for his subject matter and his bravery to not shy away from political activism in the process.

Australia Burns… Silence of the Land will be screening as part of the 6th Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. The festival runs from the 1st -31st July 2021 Online and the 21st – 31st July 2021 In-Cinema at Cinema Nova as part of Documentary Month.

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