International Documentaries

Today's documentary makers tackle the controversial and traditional with verve, respect and expertise. The line-up includes films directed by doco heros such as Steve James, Laura Poitras and Claude Lanzmann. 

78/52

A documentary tribute to a movie sequence: the infamous shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho gets the full-on geek cinephile treatment.

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Award-winning US documentarian Steve James (Hoop Dreams, SFF 1994; Life Itself, SFF 2014) is in top form in this captivating story of the only bank indicted following America's 2008 financial meltdown.

Austerlitz

A fixed camera films visitors to the sites of Nazi death camps, watching as they observe, and thereby questioning the nature of history and remembrance.

Beuys: Art as a Weapon

The life and work of iconoclast Joseph Beuys, a revolutionary German artist of the 1970s and ‘80s, celebrated for his artworks, performances and politics.

Big Time

Much sought-after Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People) embarks on his most ambitious project yet, NYC’s new World Trade Center, in this energetic documentary.

Chasing Coral

The Great Barrier Reef takes centre stage in this Sundance winner that raises awareness of the dire fate of coral reefs by filming the phenomenon “coral bleaching”.

Chauka Please Tell Us The Time

Manus Island is the setting for this unique collaboration between an Iranian-Kurdish journalist detainee and an Iranian-Dutch filmmaker, made with footage from a mobile phone.

Chicken People

An entertaining tale of passionate competitors and their race for poultry glory: there’s fowl language in this feathered version of Best in Show – but it’s the clucking kind!

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

The Jane in question is author and activist Jane Jacobs and her fight was to preserve New York’s historic neighbourhoods in the 1960s – a battle no less pertinent today.

Dream Empire

A prize-winning Kafkaesque story from western China’s real estate boom that involves a young, out-of-her-depth entrepreneur and the ‘rent-a-foreigner’ industry.

Dries

A year with fashion designer Dries Van Noten, rich with details of his fabulously innovative collections, from studio to catwalk, as well as his private life.

Elián

When a Cuban boy was rescued off the US coast in 1999, no one could have predicted the wide-reaching ramifications.

The Farthest

A passionate documentary on the science project of the 20th century, NASA's Voyager space program, and the far-reaching probes launched 40 years ago.

The Giant is Falling

Director Rehad Desai (Miners Shot Down, SFF 2014) looks back at South Africa's recent past, questioning why the optimism following Mandela's 1994 election win has floundered.

The Grown-Ups

Adults, but seldom treated as such: that's the dilemma facing this group of friends with Down syndrome, in this warm and compassionate documentary.

An Insignificant Man

A captivating portrait of political leader Arvind Kejriwal, aka “The Bernie Sanders of India”, filmed over one extremely eventful year as he seeks to disrupt Indian politics.

It's Not Yet Dark

The passionate story, narrated by Colin Farrell, of a young Irish filmmaker tragically diagnosed with motor neurone disease (ALS) yet fiercely determined to continue his career.

Last Men in Aleppo

An unforgettable and visceral portrait of White Helmet volunteers toiling amidst the rubble of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. A Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance.

McLaren

The incredible true story of the man behind one of the greatest brands in international motorsport, Bruce McLaren: the humble New Zealander who became a superstar of 1960s Formula One.

Mifune: The Last Samurai

A documentary portrait of Kurosawa's muse, Toshiro Mifune, who reinvented the modern movie samurai hero. Narrated by Keanu Reeves.

A Modern Man

Young, handsome, immensely rich, a virtuoso violinist and a Hugo Boss model: meet the man who appears to have everything, in this surprisingly charming documentary.

Motherland

A vibrant Sundance award-winning Filipino documentary filmed in the busiest maternity hospital in the world, that reveals an overcrowded, hectic and yet profoundly humane environment.

Napalm

Renowned French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann (Shoah), now 91, revisits a haunting North Korean encounter in his latest documentary direct from Cannes.

Nowhere to Hide

The top prize-winner at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam: four turbulent years in the life of resilient male nurse living in Iraq's 'triangle of death'.

The Opposition

A David-and-Goliath battle over a slice of Papua New Guinea paradise, Hollie Fifer's documentary finally reaches our screens following court action in Australia.

Risk

Filmed over six years, Laura Poitras's follow-up to her Oscar winning Citizenfour, is an arresting portrait of controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Sea Sorrow

At the age of 80, Oscar-winning actor and political activist Vanessa Redgrave has directed her first film, a heartfelt response to the refugee crisis. Selected for Cannes 2017.

Step

This uplifting story of a school step dance team on the verge of graduation won director Amanda Lipitz a Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at Sundance.

To Stay Alive - A Method

France's bestselling novelist, Michel Houellebecq, and music icon Iggy Pop join forces to discuss art and survival in this unique documentary based on the author's 1991 essay.

Untitled

In 2014, award-winning director Michael Glawogger died tragically whilst filming. His long-time editor, Monika Willi, has crafted his final footage into a striking documentary.

Waiting for Giraffes

An emotional story of collaboration and dedication set in a Palestinian West Bank zoo, which involves a cavalcade of animals, their devoted carers and enthusiastic visitors.

The War Show

A multi-award-winning documentary that chronicles Syrian radio DJ Zytoon's experiences following the 2011 Arab Spring, as hope gives way to grim reality.

Winnie

Winner of Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival, this is a fascinating portrait of South Africa's 'mother of the nation' Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

The Workers Cup

As they labour to build the facilities for Qatar's FIFA World Cup, migrant workers living in 21st century slave conditions participate in a soccer tournament of their own.

You Have No Idea How Much I Love You

A three-way conversation between an anxious mother, her twenty-something daughter, and a psychotherapist: a documentary that will resonate long after the credits have rolled.