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Punks, rebels, mavericks and renegades – The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival returns for its seventh edition this July with a quality program packed full of world class documentaries.
Cinema Australia has compiled your complete list of Australian documentaries screening during the festival which you can find below.
The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival will run from 1-31 July online, and 21-31 July at Cinema Nova in Carlton.
You can find out more about the festival here.
ONLINE 1-31 JULY
A New Dawn
The Cinematic Virtual Reality experience is an exploration of a former German industrial coal and steel production site, which transformed into a public park in 1994. The last shift was worked on the 4 April 1985 and the former ‘Wirtschaftswunder’ turned into an industrial wasteland. The ironworks are not only a symbol of ‘Wertewandel’, the change of values, but also symbolises our addiction to artificial energy and its transformation into wealth. As a side product of the last century’s heavy industry, we are now faced with a climate crisis.
A New Dawn is a memoryscape, which takes a critical approach and uses the Aurora Borealis as an audio-visual representation of life out of balance. Imagine the magnetic fields have shifted through climate change and the collision of electronically charged particles would happen in our proximity. The Aurora’s symbolise a geomagnetic storm caused by nature’s exclamation of the ecological crises.
Simultaneously the interpretation of Aurora’s in dreams signifies a positive outlook. A dream with an Aurora means important things will happen and ‘magnetic’ outcomes are about to appear on the horizon. While climate change appears to be a nightmare of the industrial past, this experience hopes to recalibrate our outlook. In Greek mythology Aurora refers to dawn, combing paste and present this VR memoryscape takes a position to make an argument about an innovative planet and that we must act in a holistic manner on the climate crises now.
Power of Activism
This film takes us on an emotional journey from sacred ground above Byron Bay to Antarctica, Indonesia to Pakistan, and is sure to light a fire under the strongest climate change denier. The Power Of Activism focuses on six highly spirited female activists as they are put under the microscope to ascertain the financial impact of their environmental solutions… and the results are astonishing. From shark conservation to indigenous practices, intensive farming to plastic pollution; all their ‘causes’ fall under the umbrella of “climate change”, but they should also fall under the umbrella of “saving tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars!”
Scattered People is an Australian documentary revealing the transformational and healing power of music – bringing together people, cultures and countries.
Saha and Mas, two young Iranian musicians flee their homeland and seek asylum in Australia. In immigration detention they encounter the Scattered People band – a small group of kindred spirits who play music and create songs with refugees and people seeking asylum. Following their journeys, we observe how music breaks down barriers and gives Saha and Mas purpose, helping to shape their identities and offering hope for the future.
Interviews and music from acclaimed musicians Missy Higgins, Michael Franti, John Butler, Archie Roach, Katie Noonan, Dan Sultan, Harry James Angus and Robbie James (GANGgajang), Scattered People explores how music can help unite, heal and restore our compassion for some of the most vulnerable people on our planet.
The Tunnel: The Other Side of Darkness
In 2011, a small group of Australian filmmakers set out to fund and produce Australia’s very first crowdfunded feature film by pre-selling each of the film’s 135,000 frames from their website.
They also planned to release it for free, day-and-date, around the world and all avenues – including for free on BitTorrent.
The traditional film world told them it would never work. An audience of over 25 million people later, The Tunnel remains one of the most seen (and most notorious!) Australian films in history.
Part ‘making-of’ documentary featuring never-before-seen footage from the film’s production, and part industry analysis on the fallout generated when these filmmakers stepped unwittingly on an industry landmine, this is the definitive tale of one of Australia’s most resourceful filmmaking teams.
Featuring interviews from the filmmakers as well as industry voices including Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project), Kiah Roache-Turner (Wyrmwood), Andrew Mackie (Transmission Films), Julie Kalceff (First Day, Starting From Now), Kirsty Stark (Stateless, Wastelander Panda), Megan Riakos (Crushed, Dark Whispers Volume 1) and more.
ENOUGH! Lebanon’s Darkest Hour
The eyes of the world were forced to turn their gaze upon Lebanon, not only because of the Beirut Port explosion that devastated this ancient city on 4th August 2020, but also because, sadly, Lebanon stands as an allegory for kleptocratic regimes that have seen a resurgence across the globe, and their catastrophic impact.
Before the explosion, the country was already cowering under the weight of decades of civil conflict, unrelenting regional turmoil but mostly from endemic, systemic corruption and pure greed.
This is the first feature documentary to be released since the explosion but is also the first film to capture exclusive and controversial interviews with many of the key political leaders (Prime Minister Saad Hariri, former Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Dr. Samir Geagea, Hezbollah Minister Mohammad Fneich, Former Justice Minister Salim Jreissati, Governor of the Central Bank, Riad Salame, among others) prior to the explosion. These are the very men responsible for much of Lebanon’s desecration.
This film puts the spotlight on this ruling class and the manifold issues facing the country. Through incisive interviews with whistle-blower, former Director-General of the Ministry of Finance, Alain Bifani, and academic and Middle East expert Thanassis Cambanis, the film blows the lid on the under-the-table, pie-sharing deals that have permitted many of these leaders, their families, and cronies to remain in power for decades.
The film addresses the revolution and the global social justice movement that was triggered in 2019 among the diaspora who rallied to support their families and friends back home. It provides a powerful insight into the complex traditional and emotional loyalties within human beings that still, to this day, threaten any chance for change and evolution.
The people have a chance to save themselves, their future, and their nation – national elections in May 2022. This film hopes to be the trigger that launches a global movement #freeandfairlebanon to force real change.
Seen through the eyes of Lebanese-Australian journalist and filmmaker, Daizy Gedeon, this film is the wake-up call for all people to stand against oppression and corruption by using their voice and democratic right to VOTE – VOTE FOR CHANGE!
14000 refugees are trapped in limbo; caught in the crossfire of Australia’s border policy and Indonesia’s indifference.
Freedom Street Documentary explores the harrowing plights of Joniad, Ashfaq and Azizah, three refugees who are affected by the consequences of Australia’s policies who are trapped in Indonesia. This feature-length documentary tells their moving stories whilst deconstructing Australia’s cruel border protection policy in a series of conversations with various experts, illuminating the issue in its entire (dark) historical and contemporary context.
The experts provide insight into Australia’s long history of border control and Australian-Indonesian relations which serve to contextualise the struggle of our three protagonists as they look towards an uncertain future. The documentary highlights the cost of Australia’s undemocratic policies both on the refugees and the Australian taxpayers over the years while urgently sounding the alarm for meaningful and humane solutions to an ever-worsening issue.
Thirty years after legendary Australian band Midnight Oil released global hit Diesel and Dust, Australian musician Declan Kelly brings together a diverse roster of musical artists to reinvent the Oil’s iconic songs in dub-reggae style. Touring from the sunny coast with epic performances at Bluesfest, the band road trip through the ancient outback desert to play for remote communities on dusty outdoor stages, and fly across the globe to historic Ariwa studios in London to mix with dub maestro Mad Professor.
The artists reflect on the enduring legacy of Midnight Oil’s protest hits such as The Dead Heart, and what it means to sing those words decades later, under the added weight of Indigenous experience. They ponder what has changed and what has remained the same, sharing stories of personal struggle and a journey to healing through music.
Live music film, documentary and road trip, Dieseln’Dub is a mesmerising stream of consciousness ride from stage to studio, from sparkling coast to the red heart of the central desert underscored by powerful songs like The Dead Heart, Beds are Burning, and Power and the Passion pumping through the screen in fresh new dub-reggae stylings.
Revelatory and uplifting, Dieseln’Dub is a fresh perspective on Australian culture with stunning live performances and beautiful imagery, profound Indigenous wisdom and startling personal reflection in a deeply enjoyable viewing experience.
Pushing The Boundaries: The Mavis Bramston Show
Television down under was less than a decade old when in 1964, Carol Raye, a UK-born actress and television presenter arrived in Australia from Kenya where she had established the first television station in the capital, Nairobi. Raye settled in Beecroft NSW close to the ATN Channel 7 television studios. Raye had completed a Producers’ course at the BBC and was looking for a role in production. Armed with her credentials, Raye met with Jim Oswin, the General Manager of Channel 7. Oswin employed Raye, who became the first female television executive in Australia. Raye saw that there was an opportunity to produce a show which dealt with biting political and topical satire which was a bold idea, particularly for a commercial network which had more to lose than, say, the politically fence-sitting ABC. Raye pitched the idea to Oswin. The risk was taken and the result was The Mavis Bramston Show, a ground-breaking show on ATN Channel 7 which held record-breaking ratings for two straight years… no seasons in those days – they did forty shows, an hour weekly, every year.
With Producer Raye at the helm, and with a team of splendid writers, and a legion of legal advisors to ward off the libel suits, the cast of three – Raye, the late Gordon Chater and Barry Creyton performed that weekly hour almost exclusively. June Salter became a regular guest, and Noeline Brown was the original face – and voice – of the show’s fictitious eponym. In 1965, others joined the cast, but they seldom numbered more than five or six.
Mavis was the mother of all Australian television comedy (comparable to the legendary UK program That Was The Week That Was), and the standard by which it is judged, even today. Interviews with Carol Raye, Barry Creyton, David Sale (writer and executive producer), lead writer, the brilliant Ken Shadie, Richard Walsh (writer and founder of OZ Magazine) Maggie Dence (Mavis #2), Bill Harding (writer), John-Michael Howson, Max Gillies, Lucky Starr, Anthony Ackroyd, Glenn A Baker, Peter Moon and TV and film historian Andrew Mercado take us on a trip that explores the phenomenon that Mavis was and its legacy.
The show aired from 1964 to1968. The 1964 / 65 episodes represent the original purpose: to do topical and political satire. As 1966 progressed, the show became a variety show minus the bite of the original and it was not renewed after 1968.
The documentary will explore the effect of Mavis Bramston on a rapidly changing Australian society and how this pioneering show set the scene for generations of satirical programs including: Fast Forward, Norman Gunston Show, The Gillies Report, Full Frontal, Frontline, The Big Gig, Clark & Dawe, The Chasers and Mad As Hell.
Who would you tell?
In October 1960, with the promise of a better future, three brothers from Malta were separated from their destitute family at a young age and sent to Tardun in Western Australia under the child migration scheme. What was supposed to be a second chance turned into a lifetime of regret, pain and missed opportunities that deeply affected their journey to adulthood.
Fifty years on, Raphael, Peter and Manny reflect on their stolen childhood and how the sexual, emotional and physical abuse they experienced shaped their entire life. Through interviews and archive materials we will be transported back through their memories of abuse, homesickness and severed family ties. Their story unravels the historic failure of a scheme backed by two governments and the broken promises of the Catholic Organisation that received them
Remember Belsen focuses on the liberation of the ill-famed Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on 15 April 1945 with eye-witness accounts of this defining moment in history by five Jewish survivors, a cameraman who filmed it’s harrowing images and an Australian war artist who was the first to record the horrors of Belsen with his art. The importance of what was recorded at Belsen in 1945 was proof the Holocaust was undeniably real. Throughout this narrative, vignettes of interesting characters emerge, heroic, evil, enterprising and the artists. But even against such an inhospitable and mind-numbing landscape, several seeds of friendship are sown that many decades later, will blossom. Narrated by Australian actor, Tony Barry.
A Fire Inside
As the world looked on in horror at Australia’s apocalyptic bushfires, the selfless acts of everyday people defined the spirit of a nation, but took an astounding toll of their own.
No Bad Guys
Englewood in Southside Chicago began to be called Chiraq when there were more deaths reported there, annually, than US soldiers killed in the combined wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. George Gittoes who has spent the last 50 years covering wars as an artist, filmmaker and photographer turns his attention to the US and spends three years on May Block, the epicentre of gun violence. The situation gets too real when three of the characters are killed during filming. Between January and October 2021 there were 700-gun deaths and 3,766 wounding’s, doubling the casualty figures of 2018, when filming began.
No Bad Guys is an intimate and immersive, character-based film following the lives of both the gun carrying perpetrators and the bereaved families of the victims. When asked “Who are the Bad Guys doing this to you?” the repeated answer is “There are no Good Buys of Bad Guys – it is other guys on other blocks just like us.” Everyone wants to see an end to the violence while the cycle of revenge turns relentlessly.
May Block has a Guardian Angel, Kaylyn Prior who won the Mario Make me a model competition for her beatify and talent only to be killed on the street corner a few days after her triumph. The depth of feeling about her loss has not faded. The most conflicted of the film’s characters, Headshot, says “Kaylyn was smart, she could have done anything she put her mind to. She could have been the first black woman President.”
Southside Chicago has exported the greatest music the world has known. from Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters to Diana Washington and Jennifer Hudson. Music Director Hellen Rose has created a rich soundtrack for No Bad Guys showcasing local musicians from the young upcoming street freestyling stars Lil Mac and Lil Dave to Tamari T with his Exotic Funk band. The film builds to the hope offered in a converted firehouse where the Music Box foundation work to find a solution to the violence by replacing guns with guitars.
The hope of the film is that audiences will grow to love the characters and see that there are no bad guys, just people like them seeking a way out of the violence
Just after midnight on March 10, 1945, the US launched a massive air raid on Tokyo, unleashing a firestorm on this dense area of wooden and paper houses. By sunrise, more than 100,000 people were dead, and a quarter of the city destroyed—the most destructive air raid in history.
Unlike their loved ones, Mr Hoshino, Mrs Kiyooka and Mr Tsukiyama emerged alive. For years they have campaigned for a public memorial, a museum, and some token compensation for civilians who lost everything. But the Japanese government has refused to formally acknowledge their appeals, and after seven decades, they find themselves cast aside—while former soldiers have been treated generously by the state.
Paper City follows the survivors as they launch a final campaign to leave behind a record of this forgotten tragedy—before the last of them passes away. Weaving harrowing testimonies, rarely-seen archive, and modern-day advocacy, it’s an exploration of trauma, remembrance and the state’s role in gatekeeping accounts of history.
IN CINEMA 21-31 JULY
This intimate, in-depth look at India Angel’s songwriting process and celebrated debut single ‘Move On.’ reveals the emotional and vulnerable road from pen and paper to commercial success.
Making Wonder’ follows Melbourne based singer/songwriter Stephen Grady into the studio at the start of the 2020 pandemic. Grady attempts to record his latest full length album, ‘Wonder’, in just 3 days
PATOU: In Black in White
With a career that spans over four decades and across the globe, Jamaican singer Pat Powell (Patou) is one of Australia’s most accomplished yet hidden vocal talents. He is the artist that everyone wants to work with – the singer’s singer who sings with 15 bands, including the ARIA award-winning Melbourne Ska Orchestra. Born in the UK to Jamaican parents, Pat left the racism of the UK as soon as he could, although ‘stupidly’ found his way to Australia with its own racism issues. Father to four children from different mothers with varying ethnic backgrounds, Pat’s children all identify differently and raise a discussion about racism and where identity comes from.
Australia My Home: An Albanian Migration
The instability and horrors that accompanied the 20th Century were a major cause of human exodus, and Australia became the preferred destination for many of those who wanted to start anew.
This film depicts the stories of three generations of Albanian migrants to Australia, their sacrifices and contribution towards their adopted country, as well as the strength of our cultural identity in the face of longing and separation. Their tales illustrate the experiences of all those who abandoned their families and fatherland in order to build a new home in a remote corner of the Earth, and they are not necessarily unique to Albanians.
Their accounts juxtapose with the endless spaces, unique nature, and prehistoric creatures that roamed this fascinating land for millenia, a land that to this day has the propensity to confront and mesmerize.
Filmed in the course of one year in two continents , this documentary depicts how our protagonists became a bridge between two vastly different cultures , and for at least one of them presented the first opportunity to connect with long lost relatives after nearly a century.
In a small town outside Melbourne, a community of unlikely activists fight climate change with their sewing machines – making reusable bags out of recycled fabrics.
These Walls celebrates the defining uniqueness and timeless manner of the architectural designs of the brutalist style that encompasses the characteristics of the monolithic appearance and transcends the journey of life within the spaces.
Santra A Tale of India
This film presents my impressions on how I felt while traveling through India featuring footage of people, places and landscapes. From the chaotic cities to natural spectacles; the film shows how people are ultimately interconnected within India’s diverse surroundings.
Passionate and quirky bike mechanic, Ian Downing, works on bikes of all types, from basic entry-level to high-end performance. Ian has been riding bikes and working on them since the 1970s, and his passion for bikes only continues to grow. He has focused all of his passion and experience into a unique bicycle repair shop set to become a local institution, a legacy where people connect over a shared zest for bikes
Bruce Lee’s motto, “being water”, was adopted by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. It inspired a fluid, adaptive and mobile response when it came time to face the once-respected Hong Kong police force. Protestors encouraged each other to be Strong like ice; Flow like water; Gather like dew; Disperse like fog. LIKE WATER is a ‘recycled cinema’ essay drawing on archival footage found on YouTube and archive.org with artwork courtesy of Badiucao.
It’s a borderless hommage to poutines created in less than favourable conditions. Go beyond the fact that most of these poutines are blasphemous to the original recipe and travel around the world with this weird cultural exchange. Poutiner, it’s 21 poutines clumsily assembled with local ingredients in 14 different countries by a guy who simply got lost on the way to the restaurant. http://www.poutiner.com
Teddy was just 7 years old in 1974 when his mother, Aunty Jan Chessells a prominent member of the Aboriginal community, moved herself and her four boys to Brunswick. The Chessells were the first Aboriginal family to move to Brunswick. While Aunty Jan was fighting for equality for the Koori people, the boys played. 47 years later and still at the same address Teddy shares a few of the stories that shaped him.
Gone With the Wing
From renowned adventure filmmakers Safari Productions and cinematographer Hamish Pattison comes Andrew Englisch’s world first attempt to cross treacherous Bass Strait on his Wing Foil. A stunning, intimate and raw portrait of Andrew’s journey to raise himself out of the depths of depression and be the first person to cross one of the most dangerous stretches of water on the planet, despite only learning to wing foil 12 months earlier and before his 55th birthday. Gone With The Wing is both an inspiring portrait of an ‘Old Bugger’ who pushed himself to the limits mentally and physically and an epic adventure in one of the world’s most rugged, wild and beautiful regions. The result is an inspiring triumph of the human spirit.
My Mother the Action Star
Maria Tran is a Western Sydney-based actor, martial artist and director. She is a leading action star in Asia and has worked with Hollywood luminaries such as Jackie Chan and Roger Corman but it’s been a hard road, especially for a young Australian Vietnamese woman in the male- dominated, often sexist industry that is action films. Most of Maria’s work has been overseas as, despite its enormous popularity globally, Australia doesn’t produce action films—let alone female-centric ones.
Phosphenes: the colours we see when you close your eyes tightly or press them with your fingers. Inviting you to close your eyes, Phosphenes exposes the porous nature of the body’s boundaries, exploring how we come to ‘see’ our body through the eyes and touch of another. Using the eyes like hands, bodies loom too close to the camera, becoming subsumed by colour and disappearing into disjointedness.
Yeah Roy! Skating, Squatting, and Music in Melbourne
This documentary captures Melbourne’s underground squatting, skating and music scenes. In 2012, a group of skaters and BMX riders from Fitzroy transformed a derelict inner city building into a space for art, punk gigs, skating and riding. After getting kicked out by the owners, Aladdin, one of the skaters, searched Melbourne for new abandoned spaces to continue living his dream. This is his search to reclaim a lost paradise, featuring skating and music from some of Melbourne’s best skaters and local bands.
The David Scott Story
Melbourne activist David Scott spent a lifetime fighting poverty, was a pioneering advocate for East Timor, and created an enduring legacy in social justice and environmental reform. Through the recollections of people who knew him this gentle, reflective story unpacks David Scott’s life. Beautifully crafted, the film is a powerful visual reminder of the social transformations of late 20th century Australia.
Unknown Melbourne is a YouTube documentary series hosted by award-winning educator and designer Julian O’Shea, exploring and explaining the hidden side of the city. Explaining the bridge that keep being hit by trucks, to the pedestrian crossing button that features in a hit song – these unknown stories give an insight into the design, history and fascinating stories of the city of Melbourne.
Snapshots never tell the full picture. Some say life is predestined. Perhaps it is. Some people are born into opportunity, health, wealth. They are born to be remembered. Others live within the limits of being born ordinary, but may earn their place in the hearts and minds of those around them. If you had the chance to meet someone who will be remembered for 1000 years or more, what do you think you’d talk about? And in that moment, would there be someone else you’d rather be with? The happiest snapshots are the hardest to look at when there is one person missing from the picture.
The lived experience of asylum seekers and refugees during Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdowns, shared in their own words, and the efforts of a small team of social workers seeking to unburden an already vulnerable community now left behind.
A poet’s story of his upbringing and troubled relationship with his mother is set against fragmented imagery and one of the poet’s written works, The Magical Crow.
Recounting his love of the water, Ray Lewis, OAM, snorkels among the vibrant sea life of the marine sanctuary he has helped to protect.
Where the Water Starts
Listed as a national heritage area in 2008 the Australian Alps is the birthplace of some of our iconic rivers. The trampling of hard hoofed animals is endangering the headwaters of the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers and the thirty four threatened native species of plants and mammals that live in this unique and sensitive habitat. A law protecting feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park and the ongoing impacts of climate change are taking their toll. Where The Water Starts reveals how these challenges are seen by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who were born or live in the southern mountains area, or who care deeply about it. The film brings together respected Aboriginal community leaders as well as business people, a local farmer, a scientist, a former parks officer and an academic. It explores our shared colonial and Indigenous histories and identities. Revealing the beliefs of its core interviewees, it focuses on the themes of caring for Country as a shared responsibility of all Australians; that the best of Aboriginal connection and the best of regenerative science can work together for a better future for the alpine environment and the planet.
Wallace explores a hypothetical final day of his life as he comes into terms with death whilst obtaining closure from his loved ones.
Flight of the Honeysucker
Flight of the Helmeted Honeyeater is a documentary focussing on this critically endangered bird and the volunteers giving up their time to save this Victorian treasure.
Inspired to amplify the urgent call-to-action by climate activists, a small group of makers set their minds to creating an artwork that could not be ignored. The result is an extraordinary 4-metre tall Burning Koala animatronic puppet. This short film captures the koala’s maiden outing, a funeral march for the 3 billion animals lost in the Black Summer bushfires. Accompanied by the haunting presence of Extinction Rebellion’s Red Rebels, the Burning Koala brought passers-by into a state of shock and mourning, as it made its way along the St Kilda beach in Boon Wurrung country.
India’s New Game
Australian Rules football is taking off in in India, follow the first ever Indian team to compete on home soil in an Australian Rules match.
Vanitas is a son’s belated eulogy to his long-dead Anglo-Indian father whose modest aspirations were crushed by bad luck, ill-health and racism. The film explores the often-combative and testy relationship between these two immigrants through animation, music and spoken-word narration. The work resonates with Lauren Berlant’s concept of ‘cruel optimism’ – that is, the investment in dreams and life goals that generate anxiety, dissatisfaction and despair.
I’ll Stand With You
A short film dedicated to taking a stance against racism in sport.
‘Baba’, which means ‘Dad’ in Arabic, tells the heartwarming story of Mohamad Abbas Dirani, a Lebanese-Australian immigrant, and his ambitions as a young shepherd. Mohammad was the eldest of 10 children, and was ordered to be the family’s main bread winner at the age of 7. He never imagined adversity knocking at his doorstep so early
A Tough Gig
A short documentary about Megan- a Mental Health nurse who describes the daily violence she experiences working in a mental health unit and her resulting Chronic Fatigue.
The MV Portland
This documentary tells the story of the MV Portland. It’s about Australian seafarers, safest in the world, being replaced by foreign crew at $2.20 per hour. It’s pure corporate greed trying to smash the workers. It’s about workers fighting back and why they stood up for their rights “and every Aussie battler out there
Aparicio Leon showed up to work one day only to be taken away to be put in prison, leaving his family questioning where he had disappeared to and if he was even still alive. He reflects on his journey of survival through Chile in 1970 and what the conditions were like after he was released from jail. How did the Leon family survive and immigrate Australia
Ruby moved to Melbourne to start living the life she wanted to lead, but her family back home has other plans. Marriage in her culture is a family affair where everyone is involved. Ruby’s family have been on the hunt for someone to “take care of her” for years now but Ruby is in no rush to settle. RUBY is a 5 min documentary that depicts the pressure Ruby feels from her family to marry who they choose or to find her own way.
A family gathers around the dinner table to share a traditional meal of polenta. Originally a peasantry dish passed down through family lines, the serving of polenta provides a space for communal gathering and intergenerational connection.
Living Structures – The Architecture for Life
This documentary film provides a thought-provoking narrative questioning the current state of our built environment, challenging the status quo to consider how we need to include the structures of nature to create places of belonging. Human beings are intrinsically connected and linked to visible and non-visible geometric forms and patterns in nature – the living structures. In order to create healthy living environments in our cities and buildings, we need to include the principles of connecting to place, of belonging, of attachment to the natural world – biophilia – our innate connection to nature.
When dry lightning ignites a destructive bushfire atop of Mount Canobolas threatening 156 houses and vital multi-million-dollar infrastructure, 120 volunteer firefighters deploy to stop the blaze before devastation consumes their entire community. Capturing two rural fire brigades in action on the frontlines, Lidster and Clifton Grove-Ophir, we follow their dangerous journey to protect a beloved home against a ferocious fire front during the deadly heat of an Australian summer
THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE meets THE ATOMIC CAFE in this archive-based feature documentary that views the dramatic climax of the Cold War through the lens of a commercial television network, as it narrowly succeeds in producing America’s most watched, most controversial made-for-TV-movie, THE DAY AFTER (1983). This film addresses a universal challenge – grasping how vast global issues such as climate change, the refugee crisis and in this case nuclear proliferation affect us personally. We have much to learn from how this television network took a subject so terrifying, so unpalatable and turned it into prime-time family viewing. With irreverent humor and sobering apocalyptic vision, this film reveals how a commercial broadcaster seized a moment of unprecedented television viewership, made an emotional connection with an audience of over 100 million and forced an urgent conversation with the US President on his policy towards nuclear proliferation.
Strong plot points are illustrated through immersive archive and contemporary interviews with the larger than life subjects who were there – a TV-executive with unprecedented vision aspiring to produce a politically controversial movie, a headstrong Hollywood director aiming to unseat a president, a family- friendly commercial network struggling to think out of its conservative box, an actor-turned-president who is both moved and threatened by this TV-movie, and a White House debating the merits and messaging of a public response.
The Land Speaks
‘The Land Speaks,’ a student-led short Documentary film, focuses on friends Pairrebeene/Trawlwoolway artist Lisa Kennedy and Environmentalist/Educator Bryan Watterson as they unpack their feelings of personal, environmental, creative, cultural and familial connection evoked from their land in Toora, South Gippsland which they have been returning to a state of biodiversity for the past 20 years.
Living in the Time of Dying
Living in The Time of Dying is an unflinching look at what it means to be living in the midst of climate catastrophe and finding purpose and meaning within it. Recognising the magnitude of the climate crisis we are facing, independent filmmaker Michael Shaw, sells his house to travel around the world looking for answers. Pretty soon we begin to see how deep the predicament goes along with the systems and ways of thinking that brought us here. Stan Rushworth, a Native American Elder, brings an especially enlightening viewpoint to these questions. It becomes clear that climate change is going to ruin our way of life but this then opens up a whole new set of questions: How did we get here? How do we choose to live and what actions make sense at this time? The people interviewed in the documentary, all highly regarded and well known spokespeople on the issue, argue it’s too late to stop catastrophic climate change but in no way too late to regain a renewed life giving relationship with our world.
Green is the New Black
Green Is The New Black is a story of passion and purpose behind an ambitious environmental feat of one of Australia’s leading heavy music acts, In Hearts Wake. Their fiercely loyal following has been forged from their relentless world–touring ethic, passionate ecological advocacy and hard-hitting, melodic-driven music. The band have received four top-5 records, an ARIA nomination for Best Hard Rock album, 110 million digital streams and over 100,000 records sold worldwide. But the more they recorded and toured the planet, the clearer it became: they were unwittingly threatening the very thing they sought to protect. The band vowed to record, release and perform their next album, (Kaliyuga), in a radically new and sustainable way. Green is the New Black is a carbon off-set documentary that captures the twists and turns of the band’s urgent mission to stop at nothing as they face backlash, bushfires and an unprecedented global pandemic.
Tracking the life of Australian chainsaw artist Leigh Conkie, ‘Leigh’ is a portrait of a man who has used his experiences of abuse, destruction and loss to craft a life of service, connection and meaning.
After losing her artist-father to Alzheimer’s, journalist Renée Brack confronts her own fears by undergoing medical experiments as a human lab rat, risking her career & dignity to find out if she too has early signs of the disease. While on this precarious journey with devastating revelations, she discovers wonderful ways to stay connected to people we love living with dementia.
A Certain Mother
A Certain Mother interweaves the stories of four women from across Australia as they navigate the challenges of parenthood – offering an intimate look into social issues, and a snapshot of motherhood today. From the Dandenong Ranges, through rural pastures, to Sydney’s northern beaches – a single day unfolds for four women in the throes of motherhood. Whilst tending to the relentless demands of the day, they are determined to rise above the struggles that parenthood had brought close to them. Whether faced with disability, or their own anxieties, a weight-preoccupied teen or the biases of others, they are forced to deconstruct and redefine some of our culture’s most sacred ideals.
The Memories That Make Us
Memories That Make Us is a poetic, ethnographic documentary that draws on the individual and collective memories of ordinary Italian migrants who made Victoria, Australia their home after the end of the second world war.
My Fight is a documentary about the journey and battle of Mitchell Bath, a young Australian who became addicted to one of the most dangerous drugs in the world today.Growing up, Mitch struggled fitting in with his peers and this insecurity left him open to be bullied at school. During this struggle he fell into the wrong crowd. he sought acceptance in the company of new found friends who offered him an escape from his everyday struggle. This led him down the path experimenting with drugs, eventually becoming addicted to one of the most dangerous drugs in the world.
This documentary involves heart braking interviews with Mitch, his devoted father, his boxing coach and the CEO of the mental health rehabilitation institution.
The Healing is an inspiring documentary about transformation and getting a second chance in life. It explores a life-saving equine welfare program that brings traumatised ex-racehorses and traumatised military veterans together to help heal each other.
Cuba My Soul
Some twenty years after The Buena Vista Social Club, traditional Cuban music lives on, but it’s facing a threat from foreign styles and a disinterested youth. We interviewed many of Cuba’s best and legendary artists and explored Cuban music, past and present. We invited several of our artists to perform in a live concert which delivered virtuoso performances and a brilliant and captivating soundtrack.