The border between fact and fiction is proving to be fertile
ground for today's filmmakers. The line between dramas and
documentaries has blurred, and new tags such as hybrid
documentaries and neo-realist features have emerged. Whatever you
call them, these films are innovative, dynamic and make for
fascinating viewing. We're also screening award winners and
audience favourites from overseas, films on social issues, art and
sport - in truth, something for every doco lover for sure.
Documentary maestro Frederick Wiseman's comprehensive and absorbing
portrait of an elite American university, California's
rabble-rousing Berkeley, has been hailed as 'one of his best' by
A classic true story of baseball that's not just about the game: In
'70s America, Bing Russell, father of actor Kurt, takes on a
down-at-heel minor-league team from Portland, Oregon and turns
their fortunes around.
Acclaimed choreographer and lesbian icon Elizabeth Streb (the
'Evel Knievel' of dance) and her company of extreme action dancers
are the focus of this intense documentary filled with
An award winner at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, The Case
Against 8 chronicles the moral battle over California's repeal
of same-sex marriage laws with the kind of heart-and-soul
filmmaking that such a topic demands.
Swedish filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson combines sometimes shocking
archival footage of the decolonisation of Africa with Franz Fanon's
anticolonial tract The Wretched of the Earth, spoken by
singer Lauryn Hill.
Thirty-two local film students and one Russian documentarian,
Victor Kossakovsky (¡Vivan las Antipodas!, SFF 2012),
create cinematic poetry from their footage of Barcelona's 2012
This documentary chronicles the long perverse legal and
bureaucratic battle for the bones of a dinosaur named Sue, the
largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found.
Designer Raf Simons has eight weeks to create his first Dior Haute
Couture collection. This highly entertaining and surprisingly
touching documentary follows his progress from concept to catwalk.
Two mavericks of the movie world - avant-garde film artist James
Benning and indie hero Richard Linklater (Slacker,
Boyhood) - talk life and movies in this award-winning
Dedicated, valiant teams of investigators from Human Rights Watch
head to the world's hotspots to document and expose human-rights
atrocities in this dynamic and inspiring documentary.
The latest film from Pan Nalin (Samsara) focuses on India's Kumbh Mela, the
biggest gathering of people on earth, and the ultimate pilgrimage
for 100 million Hindus.
This documentary charts the pleasurably perverse story of the only
studio in the USSR that produced commercials, filled with reams of
comical retro adverts - usually for products that didn't exist.
This insightful, visually stunning and witty documentary looks
behind the scenes at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna as it
reinvents itself for the 21st century. "As all-enveloping and
elegant as the establishment itself" - Variety
An Iranian expat filmmaker invites four religious leaders to his
family home to discuss on what terms believers and non-believers
could live together in this 2014 Cinéma Du Réel Grand Prize winner.
This is a fabulously entertaining story, packed with top-notch
interviews, of a legendary doomed project: cult director Alejandro
Jodorowsky's visionary interpretation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi
Studio Ghibli, the award-winning Japanese animation studio, and
the latest works of its genius founders Hayao Miyazaki (The
Wind Rises) and Isao Takahata (The Tale of The Princess
Kaguya), are the focus of this enchanting documentary.
Images © 2013 DWANGO
The life and times of influential film critic, TV presenter and
blogger Roger Ebert is documented by the award-winning Steve James
(Hoop Dreams, SFF 1994). This poignant tribute is a
must-see for movie lovers.
Radical cinema from Harvard's Sensory Ethnography Lab
(Leviathan): a dozen cable-car trips to a Nepalese
monastary, unedited and with little dialogue, offer a revealing and
This tragic story of a low-paid South African mining community
striking for a better life is made all the more poignant in the
light of that country's celebration of 20 years of freedom and
Direct from Cannes, prolific documentarian Frederick Wiseman's
latest is an epic cinematic essay about London's National Gallery,
acutely observing the roles of curators and conservators and
In his personal letter to Mandela - featuring interviews with
the Dalai Lama, Ariel Dorfman, Tariq Ali and others - director
Khalo Matabane tackles the question of whether his hero went too
far in his policy of reconciliation.
This striking and beautifully crafted documentary about two
Belgian mates who do little else but drink is a funny yet
disturbing look at male friendship.
Australia 31 - American Samoa 0. Remember that score line? Get
ready for Brazil 2014 with this charming close-to-home story of an
underdog team's determination to turn their luck around.
The Special Jury Prize winner at this year's Sundance Film Festival
is an unsettling, intimate portrait of a man of faith under
pressure and a deeply troubling picture of today's America.
This exhilarating and thoroughly enjoyable documentary looks behind
the scenes of one of the most momentous scientific feats of our
age: the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the 'God
This intimate film is an innovative interpretation of
singer-songwriter Edwyn Collins' life-changing experience - a
stroke that wiped clean his brain, except for two phrases: "the
possibilities are endless" and his wife's name.
Winner of a special jury prize at Cannes, this exquisite
documentary about the life and work of renowned Brazilian
photographer Sebastião Salgado was co-directed by Wim Wenders
(Pina, Buena Vista Social Club).
From director Julie Bertucelli (The Tree, SFF 2010)
comes a 21st century schoolbook full of insights into a
multicultural society, based around a class for new immigrants in
the north of Paris.
This heart-stirring documentary tells the story of Sepideh, a
determined teenaged girl from regional Iran, who yearns to be an
astronaut despite social mores and financial woes.
An intimate portrait of a Texan girl from a devout Christian family
on the cusp of adulthood, crafted with great sensitivity and
lyrical imagery by Italian filmmaker Roberto Minervini.
Filmmaker-critic Mark Cousins (The Story of Film: An
Odyssey) explores the portrayal of children in the movies in
his free-ranging, inimitable style, with countless clips to inspire
The directorial debut of Mike Myers (Austin Powers) is a
star-packed documentary about a legendary showbiz figure: Shep
Gordon, talent agent to the stars (Alice Cooper, Michael Douglas,
Sylvester Stallone, Blondie).
An inventor in Texas sets out to solve the riddle of Johannes
Vermeer's almost unbelievable ability to capture life on canvas.
This doco was directed by Teller, one half of magic duo Penn &
Oscar winner Errol Morris (The Fog of War, The Thin
Blue Line) quizzes former US Secretary of Defense - and
slippery wordsmith - Donald Rumsfeld on hot-potato topics from his
years in office, including the invasions of Iraq and
This innovative documentary explores the unsung life of Raphael
Lemkin, the linguist turned lawyer who created the word 'genocide'
and attempted to establish international law to fight mass
Filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal and visionary environmental
photographer Edward Burtynsky (Manufactured Landscapes)
reunite to document humanity's relationship with (and misuse of)
water in all its forms.