Films by Section

Framing Reality

Another Country

Molly Reynolds

Australian Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil (Charlie’s Country) returns to his Arnhem Land hometown with filmmaker Molly Reynolds to explain ‘what happened to my culture when it was interrupted by your culture’.

Ants on a Shrimp: Noma in Tokyo

Maurice Dekkers

Copenhagen-based Noma and celebrated chef-owner René Redzepi relocate the restaurant and its entire staff to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo for five sold-out weeks of spectacular lunches and dinners with specially created menus.

Ants on a Shrimp: Noma in Tokyo

Maurice Dekkers

Copenhagen-based Noma and celebrated chef-owner René Redzepi relocate the restaurant and its entire staff to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo for five sold-out weeks of spectacular lunches and dinners with specially created menus.

Chasing Asylum

Eva Orner

Defying the media bans inside the camps, this combination of whistle-blower testimony and illegal footage leaves no doubt about the cruel reality of Australia’s off-shore refugee detention centres.

Doglegs

Heath Cozens

Guest expat Kiwi filmmaker Heath Cozens presents his provocative documentary about members of a Tokyo fight club where the disabled enter the ring to battle each other and the able-bodied.

The Eagle Huntress

Otto Bell

A 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl breaks a gender barrier to follow her father and train hunting eagles in this spectacular and entertaining documentary.

Embrace

Taryn Brumfitt

“Body confidence does not come from trying to achieve ‘the perfect body’. It comes from embracing the one you’ve already got.” Australian body image activist Taryn Brumfitt exemplifies her message in this lively doco.

The Event

Sobytie

Sergei Loznitsa

Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa follows his monumental documentary Maïdan with this found-footage epic vividly recalling popular optimism at the failed coup of August 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Union.

Fire at Sea

Fuocoammare

Gianfranco Rosi

Gianfranco Rosi’s doco captures traditional life on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa alongside the compassionate, high-tech response to the boatloads of refugees finding landfall there. Best Film, Berlin Film Festival 2016.

The First Monday in May

Andrew Rossi

Behind the scenes at the New York Met’s sumptuous 2015 Costume Institute show ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ and its Anna Wintour-spearheaded opening ball, the celebrity packed Met Gala.

A Flickering Truth

Pietra Brettkelly

New Zealand filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly’s moving portrayal of one man’s journey to restore thousands of hours of film heritage in post-Taliban Afghanistan, a journey that uncovers the very nearly forgotten history of his ravaged country.

Free to Run

Pierre Morath

Rich with clips and lively interviews, this doco traces the running movement over the past 50 years – the struggle for the right to run, especially for women, then the explosion of grassroots road races and marathons.

Heart of a Dog

Laurie Anderson

An enchanted cinematic essay by legendary performance artist Laurie Anderson. A self-narrated punk meditation on love and death; exquisitely crafted and effortlessly profound.

Hotel Coolgardie

Pete Gleeson

Two Finnish backpackers take jobs as live-in barmaids in an Australian outback pub and are gobsmacked by the rampant sexism of the boss and clientele in this alarming fly-on-the-wall doco.

In Jackson Heights

Frederick Wiseman

Successive generations of immigrant Americans mix it up in veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s celebration of a community fighting gentrification in New York’s most ethnically and culturally diverse neighbourhood.

Lampedusa in Winter

Jakob Brossmann

Austrian filmmaker Jakob Brossmann captures a complex portrait of a tiny Mediterranean island community, its formidable mayor facing economic downturn and the burden of providing a temporary haven to countless refugees.

Le Ride

Phil Keoghan

Amazing Race supremo Phil Keoghan jumps onto a 1928 bike to ride the Tour de France as experienced by Kiwi Harry Watson, one of the first English-speaking cyclists to enter, let alone complete the race.

Life, Animated

Roger Ross Williams

This incredibly moving and fascinating doco takes us into the interior life of autistic Owen Suskind, and explores how his love of Disney animated features gave him the tools as a child to communicate with the world.

The Lives of Thérèse

Les vies de Thérèse

Sébastien Lifshitz

Filmed over the last months of her life, this compelling and inspiring portrait of the French feminist thinker and activist Thérèse Clerc celebrates her extraordinary evolution and vital legacy.

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog, director of such notable classics of the non-fiction realm as Grizzly Man, turns his inimitable eye on the galloping evolution of the internet, its geniuses and its ominous implications for creation at large.

Miss Sharon Jones!

Barbara Kopple

Academy Award-winning documentary maker Barbara Kopple delivers definitive proof, from show-stopping testimony in a small South Carolina church to Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre, that nobody raises the roof like Sharon Jones.

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

Morgan Neville

On a quest to uncover Leonard Bernstein’s ‘universal language of music’, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma travels the old ‘Silk Road’ with virtuoso musicians from diverse instrumental traditions to collaborate on rousing new musical explorations.

Notes on Blindness

Peter Middleton, James Spinney

Over three years, writer and theologian John Hull kept a series of audio diaries recounting his experience after losing his eyesight. This inventive documentary transposes his perceptions to film with startling success.

Nuts!

Penny Lane

Loaded with wry humour and surprising rug-pulls, Penny Lane’s supremely strange biography of 1920s impotence-cure mogul J.R. Brinkley is the documentary oddity every festival watch-list needs at least one of.

Obit

Vanessa Gould

Vanessa Gould’s fond and fascinating documentary introduces us to the unseen women and men responsible for crafting the obituaries of the New York Times.

Our Last Tango

Un tango más

German Kral

In their heyday, Buenos Aires octogenarians María Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes were the Ginger and Fred of tango. In this dance-filled doco they recall their 50-year career and their often stormy personal life.

The Road

Zhang Zanbo

This doco provides an astonishingly revealing picture of the construction of a section of China’s massive Xu-Huai Highway, as seen by dislocated locals, exploited migrant workers and the embattled construction company.

Shadow World

Johan Grimonprez

Based on a behind-the-scenes exposé written by former South African politician Andrew Feinstein, this excoriating doco from Johan Grimonprez offers a superb and succinct examination of the global arms trade.

Tomorrow

Demain

Cyril Dion, Mélanie Laurent

In ten countries around the world this stimulating French doco (and box office hit) finds concrete examples of solutions to environmental and social challenges in agriculture, energy, economy, education and governance.

Under the Sun

V luchakh solnca

Vitaly Mansky

Shot with the permission and supervision of Pyongyang authorities, Under the Sun turns a North Korean propaganda exercise into a deep-cover documentary about life inside one of the world’s most repressive nations.

Unlocking the Cage

Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker

After a lifetime of preparation, US animal protection attorney Steven Wise builds a groundbreaking suit seeking legal autonomy for chimpanzee clients. Expertly documented by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker.

Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt

Ada Ushpiz

This new documentary provides insight and historical perspective on the life and work of philosopher Hannah Arendt, illuminating her relevance to some of the most troubling phenomena of our own times.

Weiner

Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

An amazingly up-close and personal view inside the New York mayoral campaign that became a media frenzy when the charismatic candidate with the excruciatingly appropriate name couldn’t keep himself from sexting.

When Two Worlds Collide

Heidi Brandenburg Sierralta, Mathew Orzel

When mining and clear-cutting contracts threatened their native lands, indigenous Peruvians took to the streets. This film documents their years of struggle against the ruthless tactics of a furiously antagonistic government.

Wide Open Sky

Lisa Nicol

In this charming doco, gifted teacher and musician, Michelle Leonard, travels to under-resourced outback NSW auditioning children then schooling the chosen 130 to perform in the annual Moorambilla Voices choir.

Zero Days

Alex Gibney

Backed by insider analysis of the Stuxnet sabotage of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, Alex Gibney’s gripping new documentary argues that the architects of cyberwarfare have been both brilliant and insanely reckless.