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August 2021
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Viewing films where genre is Documentary
Selling Fast
Ablaze

Ablaze

Tiriki Onus thought he knew his grandfather Bill, until an unearthed film reel suggests he might have been the first ever Aboriginal filmmaker.

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Accelerator Shorts 2

Accelerator Shorts 2

Short films by emerging filmmakers from Australia participating in the MIFF Accelerator Lab 2021. See the work of tomorrow’s hottest directors today.

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Ain't No Time for Women

Ain't No Time for Women

Hot Docs 2021’s Best Canadian Short Documentary winner turns the lens on Saïda’s, a salon where Tunisian women can talk politics while getting their hair done.

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All Light, Everywhere

All Light, Everywhere

A visionary exploration of the inherent biases in surveillance technology from one of North America’s most fascinating and inventive documentary filmmakers.

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Animation Shorts

Animation Shorts

Diverse new animated shorts from around the world and closer to home.
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Anonymous Club

Anonymous Club

Director Danny Cohen

Courtney Barnett pulls back the curtain in this intimate first-person exposition on creativity, vulnerability and artistic life on the road.

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Araatika: Rise Up!

Araatika: Rise Up!

For Indigenous Australian rugby league players, a pre-game ‘unity dance’ is an important step towards celebrating their cultures and combating entrenched racism.

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Babi Yar. Context

Babi Yar. Context

The perpetration and subsequent cover-up of one of the 20th century’s worst mass murders are examined in detail in Sergei Loznitsa’s remarkable archival collage.

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Bach-Hông

Bach-Hông

A young Vietnamese-French woman is faced with the communist takeover of Saigon on 30 April 1975.

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The Beloved

The Beloved

Commune or cult? This epic documentary illuminates the Rajneesh sannyasin movement in 1980s Fremantle, as told by those who lived through it.

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The Bends

The Bends

A mixed martial arts fighter discovers she’s pregnant in the lead-up to the most important fight of her career.

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Best MIFF Shorts

Best MIFF Shorts

A collection of the best short films of the festival, as chosen by the MIFF Shorts Awards Jury and the MIFF Shorts Programmer.

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Black Audio Film Collective

Black Audio Film Collective

Spurred by political unrest in Thatcher’s Britain, the Black Audio Film Collective’s experimental cinema challenges form and culture to dismantle stereotype.

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Blind Ambition

Blind Ambition

From Zimbabwe to South Africa and onto France, four refugees with a passion for wine dream big and defy expectations in this feel-good film of Olympic proportions.
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Bodies in Motion

Bodies in Motion

After 18 months and however many lockdowns later, bodies tremble for movement. But there is another performer on stage: the camera.
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Bonanza!

Bonanza!

Commissioned by Chunky Move, this playfully experimental work traverses ritual, body modification and algorithms.

Bridge to Sovietopia

Bridge to Sovietopia

Roam through Soviet ruins in this poetic dissection of a crumbled past and an always forward-looking future.

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Bulletproof

Bulletproof

Hot Docs award winner Todd Chandler examines disturbing evolutions in today’s USA, where schools operate in the shadow of mass shootings.

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Captains of Zaatari

Captains of Zaatari

This ode to sport and friendship takes us to the world’s largest Syrian refugee camp, where two soccer-obsessed teens see the game as their way out.

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Chef Antonio's Recipes for Revolution

Chef Antonio's Recipes for Revolution

This uplifting feast of a film goes behind the scenes of an Italian hotel-restaurant staffed by youngsters living with Down syndrome.

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City Hall

City Hall

Veteran filmmaker Frederick Wiseman offers a fascinating longform insight into the dramas, frustrations and triumphs of local government.

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Come Back Anytime

Come Back Anytime

Food lovers won’t be able to resist this tantalising story of a master ramen chef and his legendary Tokyo noodle shop.

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Cow

Cow

Festival favourite Andrea Arnold gets up close and personal with a dairy cow to unveil a surprising and unknown world.

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Devotion: A Film About Ogawa Productions

Devotion: A Film About Ogawa Productions

Legendary American lesbian feminist filmmaker Barbara Hammer turns her lens to the inner workings of Japanese filmmaking collective Ogawa Productions.

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Documentary Shorts

Documentary Shorts

Short documentaries from around the globe.
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Experimental Shorts

Experimental Shorts

Films that experiment with form, content and style.
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Faya Dayi

Faya Dayi

In an Ethiopian community dependent on its cash crop in more ways than one, a new generation’s furtive hopes slip through the cracks.

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Flee

Flee

This award-winning, stylistically bold documentary tells the story of an Afghan refugee’s coming home – and coming out – via animation and archival footage.

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Flow – Visions of Time

Flow – Visions of Time

Come face-to-face with the mysterious force that both surrounds us yet remains beyond our reach or comprehension.

Fortune!

Fortune!

Enter the mind of the world’s greatest con man – and get that dough.

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Freakscene – The Story of Dinosaur Jr.

Freakscene – The Story of Dinosaur Jr.

This riveting firsthand account tells the story behind the legendary band that helped inspire the alternative rock sound of the 90s.

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Freedom Swimmer

Freedom Swimmer

Olivia Martin McGuire parallels a grandfather’s journey to safety during the Cultural Revolution with his granddaughter’s fight for freedom in Hong Kong today.

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The Game

The Game

Director Roman Hodel

Step into a referee’s boots and onto the field to soak up the ecstasy and thrilling stakes of a soccer match.

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Geeta

Geeta

This true story of an acid attack survivor’s fight to alter her daughter’s destiny is an inspiring and heartwarming call-to-action.

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The Gig Is Up

The Gig Is Up

Subtitled A Very Human Tech Doc, this timely documentary exposes the true cost of the gig economy quietly powering our everyday lives.

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Girls | Museum

Girls | Museum

A guided tour through art history as seen through the female gaze – and a savvy, subversive rejoinder to centuries of representation from the eyes of the male beholder.

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Handsworth Songs

Handsworth Songs

Archival footage and media portrayal of violent civil disturbances in Birmingham are used to explore a broader picture of the Black experience in postwar Britain.

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Happy Valley

Happy Valley

Director Simon Liu

Shot on cold-hued 16mm, this mournful, restless ode to Hong Kong sketches the city’s fragile present and indefinite future.

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Hating Peter Tatchell

Hating Peter Tatchell

Presented by Sir Ian McKellen and co–executive-produced by Elton John, this unflinching portrait reveals a human rights activist at once revered and notorious.

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Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful

Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful

Misogynist or champion of women? This expansive portrait of a controversial fashion icon captures both light and shade.

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He's My Brother

He's My Brother

Winning a Special Mention at CPH:DOX, this moving, poignant film is a love letter to a deaf and blind brother from his younger sister.

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Hopper/Welles

Hopper/Welles

Dennis Hopper and Orson Welles meet for a free-ranging conversation on everything from politics and sex to the cinema itself in this unmissable slice of film history.
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The I and S of Lives

The I and S of Lives

Kevin Jerome Everson’s camera dances with a rollerskater in this mesmerising exercise in fluidity and embeddedness.

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I'm Wanita

I'm Wanita

Meet Australia’s self-crowned “Queen of Honky-Tonk”: renegade country singer Wanita was born ready.

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The Inheritance

The Inheritance

A collective springs to life in this radiant tribute to radical Black politics.

IOPU

IOPU

Moment and memory blend as you bear witness to a Samoan rite of passage.

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Is This Just a Story?

Is This Just a Story?

Yugantar’s most well-known film is a collaboration with the Hyderabad-based feminist activist collective Stree Shakti Sanghatana and an urgent treatise on domestic violence.

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Ithaka

Ithaka

The campaign to free Julian Assange takes on intimate dimensions in this documentary portrait of an elderly man’s fight to save his son.

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James & Isey

James & Isey

Ahead of her 100th birthday, Isey and her devoted son James prepare for the party of a lifetime.

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JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass

JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass

Oliver Stone knows who really killed the president. Now, his new documentary sets out to convince you.

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Karen Dalton: In My Own Time

Karen Dalton: In My Own Time

An engrossing profile of a little-known 60s blues and folk icon, executive-produced by Wim Wenders.

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The Kids

The Kids

Award-winning filmmaker Eddie Martin revisits the cultural landscape of Larry Clark’s iconic 90s film, which paved a bumpy path for its young stars’ future success.

Lagos at Large

Lagos at Large

Weave your way through the bustling streets and idyllic beaches of Lagos.

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Le temps perdu

Le temps perdu

A book group of Proust superfans elevate the art of collective reading and sharing to delightful new heights.

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Listen to the Beat of Our Images

Listen to the Beat of Our Images

As humans shoot for the stars, what do we lose along the way?

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Love in Bright Landscapes

Love in Bright Landscapes

An engrossing portrait of the rise and untimely demise of David McComb, the virtuosic frontman of Australian rock band The Triffids.

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Maat Means Land

Maat Means Land

Director Fox Maxy

Poised at the intersection of activism and art, wunderkind Fox Maxy’s TikTok-esque tapestry documents the injustice and legacy of colonisation.

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Madrid, Bad Life

Madrid, Bad Life

Over a hundred years since the publication of the sociological text, La mala vida en Madrid, that coined the term in Spain, what does it mean to be a ‘lowlife’?

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Maid Servant

Maid Servant

Yugantar focuses on female labour rights in Maid Servant (Molkarin, 1981), which features domestic workers in Pune.

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Mama

Mama

Director Li Dongmei

Göteborg’s 2021 Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award winner dives into personal memories that embody the persistence of life in the face of enormous tragedy.

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Marcelita

Marcelita

An elderly woman and her nephew wax nostalgic in this charming ode to times gone by.

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Maso and Miso Go Boating

Maso and Miso Go Boating

Les Insoumuses tackle the French media’s sexism by taking playful aim at a misogynistic episode of a popular TV program hosted by Bernard Pivot.

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MIFF Centrepiece Gala - Summer of Soul (...or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

MIFF Centrepiece Gala - Summer of Soul (...or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

The “Black Woodstock” of 1969, which was filmed but never seen, finally makes it to the big screen in this Sundance US Documentary Grand Jury Prize winner.

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Moments Like This Never Last

Moments Like This Never Last

Director Cheryl Dunn

Dash Snow epitomised “live fast, die young”, ascending from New York’s fringe to the major international art scene during his brief existence.

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The Monopoly of Violence

The Monopoly of Violence

This timely, intelligent and emotional examination of state-sanctioned violence reveals a disturbingly universal story.

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The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

An unsettling, melancholic portrait of what fame did to the talented young star of Death in Venice.

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Mr Bachmann and His Class

Mr Bachmann and His Class

Director Maria Speth

This sprawling, tender documentary captures the inspiring relationship between an unorthodox German schoolteacher and his culturally diverse teenage class.

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Multiply

Multiply

Director Rhys Graham

A 2020 large-scale participatory-dance work choreographed by the acclaimed Stephanie Lake expresses the inexpressible in lockdown.

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My Name Is Pauli Murray

My Name Is Pauli Murray

Before Thurgood Marshall, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rosa Parks, there was Pauli Murray. Remember their name.

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No Ordinary Man

No Ordinary Man

Maliciously outed after his death, musician Billy Tipton is now a transmasculine icon.

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North by Current

North by Current

Part road movie, part video essay, this lyrical tour-de-force from Angelo Madsen Minax finds catharsis in confronting family drama.

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Notturno

Notturno

From the director of Golden Bear winner Fire at Sea comes an achingly poetic, humane meditation on life in the shadow of war and the Islamic State.

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The Nowhere Inn

The Nowhere Inn

Director Bill Benz

Carrie Brownstein and St. Vincent play versions of themselves in this music mockumentary that explores the absurdities of fame and friendship.

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Off Country

Off Country

Indigenous teenagers navigate exams, social dramas and maintaining meaningful connections to home while at boarding school.

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One Thousand and One Attempts to Be an Ocean

One Thousand and One Attempts to Be an Ocean

Director Wang Yuyan

In the age of information overload, the challenge is to avoid drowning.

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Palazzo di Cozzo

Palazzo di Cozzo

Melbourne’s iconic baroque homewares mogul, Franco Cozzo, is the subject of this delightful portrait that offers insights into furniture, family and the migrant experience.

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Paper City

Paper City

Three elderly survivors of the 1945 firebombing of Tokyo fight against bureaucracy and indifference to ensure that the event and its victims are not forgotten.

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Piano Under the Stars

Piano Under the Stars

Be swept away by renowned Chilean composer Claudio Recabarren Madrid’s cosmic keys.

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Poleng

Poleng

Director Naina Sen

Naina Sen explores the relationship between biracial identity and generational belonging through traditional Balinese dance.

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Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché

Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché

A daughter explores her mother’s complex punk legacy in this no-holds-barred documentary.

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President

President

This tense and timely docu-thriller, which won a Sundance award for vérité filmmaking, plunges into the chaos of Zimbabwe’s first democratic elections.

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Radiograph of a Family

Radiograph of a Family

A deeply personal portrait becomes a reflection on Iran’s turbulent political history in this striking, formally innovative memoir.

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The Reason I Jump

The Reason I Jump

This Sundance 2020 Audience Award winner is a revelatory, immersive adaptation of Naoki Higashida’s memoir of a neurodiverse life.

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River

River

From mountain high to river deep, director Jennifer Peedom follows her 2017 MIFF hit Mountain with a stunning new cine-sonic journey along the world’s waterways.

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Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

An intimate portrait of the life and death of beloved globe-trotting television presenter Anthony Bourdain from the Oscar-winning director of 20 Feet from Stardom.

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Rock Bottom Riser

Rock Bottom Riser

Director Fern Silva

Erupting with unforgettable images of Hawaii, this boundary-breaking essay film captures the splendour and turbulent colonial history of the island nation.

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Sabaya

Sabaya

This daring Sundance Directing Award winner tracks a band of volunteers out to rescue ISIS sex slaves from an infamous Syrian border camp.

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Sanrizuka – Peasants of the Second Fortress

Sanrizuka – Peasants of the Second Fortress

Ogawa Productions’ first internationally successful film captures farmers in Sanrizuka, Japan, resisting a government takeover of their land.

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Set!

Set!

In the ruthless world of competitive table-setting, it’s knives at 20 places.

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Seven Songs for Malcolm X

Seven Songs for Malcolm X

Dramatic re-enactments, interviews and testimonies traverse and illuminate the life and death of Black American revolutionary Malcolm X.

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Sisters With Transistors

Sisters With Transistors

Director Lisa Rovner

Laurie Anderson narrates the untold history of the women who blazed a trail through electronic music.

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Spirits and Rocks: An Azorean Myth

Spirits and Rocks: An Azorean Myth

A meditative guide through the Azores archipelago’s history and its inhabitants’ connection to the volatile land.

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Stray

Stray

Hot Docs 2020’s Best International Feature Documentary winner offers a dog’s-eye view of life in Istanbul.

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Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

Sweep the clouds away with this joyous origin story of your favourite childhood TV show.

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Summer of Soul (...or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Summer of Soul (...or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

The “Black Woodstock” of 1969, which was filmed but never seen, finally makes it to the big screen in this Sundance US Documentary Grand Jury Prize winner.

Symphony

Symphony

Be swept up by Beethoven, Bernstein and Mahler in this joyous, majestic work.

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Taming the Garden

Taming the Garden

Like a real-life fairytale, Taming the Garden is the story of an unseen billionaire who ‘steals’ trees in his desire to build his own private Eden.

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This Rain Will Never Stop

This Rain Will Never Stop

Winner of Best First Appearance at IDFA 2020, this formally bold documentary traces a Kurdish-Ukrainian young man’s experiences of an endless cycle of war and peace.

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Those Left Waiting

Those Left Waiting

A screen experience like no other, this is the first ever live documentary filmed by refugees from around the world – edited and scored live on stage.

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Tobacco Ember

Tobacco Ember

Yugantar focuses on female labour rights in Tobacco Ember (Tambaku Chaakila Oob Ali, 1982), which features factory workers in Nipani.

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To Feather, to Wither

To Feather, to Wither

This cinematic insight into the craft of a taxidermist illuminates the relationship between artist and animal.

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Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free

Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free

Newly discovered archival footage provides a time capsule into the making of Tom Petty’s iconic 1994 album Wildflowers, revealing an artist at a career crossroads.

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Uluru & the Magician

Uluru & the Magician

A Sydney magician devises a stunt to disappear Uluru, but is his dream of making it big as illusory as his planned vanishing act?

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Under the Volcano

Under the Volcano

Director Gracie Otto

Go behind the music at the sunny Caribbean studio that birthed some of the biggest hits of the 1980s.

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The Village Detective: A Song Cycle

The Village Detective: A Song Cycle

Bill Morrison revisits lesser-known chapters of Soviet film history in this hypnotic fever dream that melds art and archive.

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Wash My Soul in the River's Flow

Wash My Soul in the River's Flow

Go behind the scenes, and onto the stage, of a legendary concert to discover the story of Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter, told in song.
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We Are the Thousand

We Are the Thousand

How do you get the world’s biggest rock band to play in your hometown? Become the world’s biggest rock band.

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The Witches of the Orient

The Witches of the Orient

The acclaimed filmmaker behind John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection serves up the story of the Japanese women’s volleyball team who became icons.
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With the Cattle

With the Cattle

A ruminative film on the interplay between bovine lives and human consumption.

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Wojnarowicz

Wojnarowicz

Director Chris McKim

Artist, outsider, writer, queer activist. David Wojnarowicz was all of these things and more, as Chris McKim captures in his fiery documentary.

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Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

From race to religion, flesh to nature, this comprehensive documentary explores how cinema exhumes the old traumas that modernity tries to bury.

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Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives

Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives

The first feature documentary made by queer filmmakers about queer life – by the Mariposa Film Group – captures an essential moment in the gay liberation movement.

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Year of the Everlasting Storm

Year of the Everlasting Storm

Jafar Panahi, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Laura Poitras and other global cinema heavyweights reflect on 2020 in this sweeping anthology film for the COVID age.

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Your Street

Your Street

Director Güzin Kar

Winner of Best Short Film at the Swiss Film Awards, this documentary observes the impact of time – and historical trauma – on one commemorative street.