Documentary

Film Review: Maria by Callas (France, 2017) is a rich documentary that overstays its curtain call

February 4, 2019

Maria Callas is a legendary opera singer whose life often resembled a Greek tragedy. The documentary, Maria by Callas, captures some of this sadness and heartbreak in its two-hour runtime. This film is a complex and detailed one about an infamous prima donna that should appeal to opera aficionados. This documentary is directed by Tom […]

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Film Review: Free Solo (USA, 2018) an unflinching look at scaling a 3200 foot rock without a rope

January 11, 2019

Whether it be physical or academic it is without a doubt that greatness and feats of greatness require a certain level of determination, mental grit and skill that very few are willing to foster within themselves. Alex Honnold however meets those qualities in the unlikeliest of ways in documentary/semi biopic Free Solo, a story of […]

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Film Review: Fahrenheit 11/9 (USA, 2018) is a rousing call to action to take the world back from the dark side

November 2, 2018

Based on your personal feelings towards Donald Trump and the Republican Party, your reaction to (and presumably interest in) Fahrenheit 11/9, Michael Moore‘s latest bombastic documentary, is likely already predetermined. If you consider Trump to be a crusading saviour of the people and his presidency really is making America great again, maybe sit this one […]

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Jewish International Film Festival Review: The Twinning Reaction (USA, 2017) will leave you seeing red once you’ve seen double

October 27, 2018

Try to imagine something that could be your biggest joy and greatest nightmare. It’s not easy. But finding out you have an identical twin sibling has got to be up there. The Twinning Reaction is a documentary that covers a bizarre and bittersweet example of this with brutal honesty. The results are not what you’d […]

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Film Review: Intelligent Lives (USA, 2018) is a powerful impetus for change that demands your attention

September 21, 2018

At this very moment, there are 6.5 million Americans living with an intellectual disability. Only 15% of adults are gainfully employed with nearly 1 in 3 living below the poverty line. Their access to a proper education during their youth may provide a clue to these damning statistics. 17% of students with an intellectual disability are […]

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Film Review: I Am Paul Walker (USA, 2018) seeks to highlight the kind-natured generosity of a man who was more than his career

September 18, 2018

It goes without saying that Paul Walker was blessed with the type of face destined to be in front of the camera.  And as much as this dedicated documentary, I Am Paul Walker, celebrates his Californian-blessed aesthetics, it seeks more so to highlight that behind the tanned skin, sun-kissed blonde curls and baby blue eyes […]

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Jimmy Barnes just broke another Australian record (thanks to his new film)

August 27, 2018

After its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival, the new feature Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy was released on 220 Australian cinema screens last week, making it the biggest documentary release since Michael Jackson’s This Is It back in 2009, and the biggest ever release for an Australian documentary. From acclaimed director Mark Joffe (Jack […]

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ABC and Screen Australia announce four Art Bites projects

August 24, 2018

ABC and Screen Australia have announced four short-form documentary projects have received funding through ABC and Screen Australia’s Art Bites Initiative. This initiative is currently in its third year, encouraging filmmakers to produce a total of 6 x 5-minute documentary series for ABC’s online viewing platform ABC iView, based around art. Each team will receive […]

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Film Review: Whitney (UK/USA, 2018) is a bittersweet love letter celebrating the enigmatic star’s rise & tragic downfall

July 24, 2018

Whitney may not be the most necessary film but it’s certainly an entertaining one. This documentary comes hot on the heels of Whitney: Can I Be Me, but where this latest offering differs is in its unprecedented access to Whitney Houston’s family and friends. The result is an intimate and bittersweet portrait of her meteoric […]

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Film Review: Her Sound, Her Story (Australia, 2018) is an eye-opening look at women in Australian music

July 16, 2018

In the nineties, The Go-Betweens’ Lindy Morrison made the documentary, Australian Women In Rock & Pop Music- Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves. Fast forward to 2018 and the film Her Sound, Her Story documents many of the same issues that are still relevant. Gender disparity in the music industry is a pervasive issue with […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: McQueen (UK, 2018) is a heart-breaking work of staggering genius

June 18, 2018

Fashion designer (Lee) Alexander McQueen was a true artist. He would say, “If you want to know me, look at my work.” The documentary, McQueen captures some of his enigma by looking behind-the-scenes at his extraordinary talent and story. While you get some sense of what this artistic genius was like you also get the […]

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Netflix announces two new True Crime Documentary Series

April 23, 2018

Following the wildly popular Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country, comes two brand new true crime original documentary series, in Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist, and brand new episodes of the critically acclaimed series The Staircase, which will expand upon the exisiting original ten episodes. The Staircase will premiere […]

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Australian director Leigh Whannell among winners of the SXSW Film Festival Audience Awards

March 19, 2018

Taking place between 9-18 March, the 2018 South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas has come to a close, and with that, the Audience Award winners have officially been announced. The awards cover a range of categories, from documentary features to outstanding narrative structure and creativity. Amongst the list includes Australia director […]

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Screen Australia to fund an adaptation of Jimmy Barnes’ memoir Working Class Boy and 11 other Documentary projects

January 22, 2018

Screen Australia has announced funding for 12 documentary projects through the Documentary Producer and Commissioned programs. The list of projects includes an adaptation of Jimmy Barnes’ memoir Working Class Boy, The Fight, a feature length version of Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw’s award-winning short film of the same name, and a second season of Filthy […]

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Film Review: Big in Japan (Australia, 2017) is far more than one man’s vainglorious pursuit

December 26, 2017

Where most foreigners settling in Japan pass their time in Japanese pubs, English schools or seeking out every piece of longstanding architecture, David Elliot-Jones spent his trying to become famous. And you’ve probably never heard of the guy, but that doesn’t mean he failed. Big in Japan opens with a preface about the seemingly endless […]

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AMW Film Fest Review: Take Me To The River (USA, 2015) is a soaring celebration of blues, rap and soul music

November 1, 2017

If American music has a heart and soul then you would find it nestled between Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. The documentary film, Take Me To The River realises this and pays homage to the soul men and women that created those passionate and influential hits for the likes of Stax Records and their ilk. […]

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Netflix Review: Mockumentary American Vandal is the surprise of the season

September 4, 2017

When spoofing a film or television series, one could create a shot-for-shot parody of the source material, or merely utilise its formula. The latter approach is the preferred option for many, but that brings with it a need to produce original, compelling material that is worthy of viewing in its own right. Such an example […]

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Film Review: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (USA, 2017) might have been saved by Donald Trump

August 8, 2017

Donald Trump could have saved An Inconvenient Sequel. If Al Gore is the John Wayne of climate activism, as directors Bonni Cohen and John Shenk would have you believe, then Trump is Lee Marvin (AKA Bad M.F). This time it’s personal, as they say. As it turns out, we get very little Truth To Power, […]

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Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Review: The Slippers (Canada, 2016) is unbelievable, whimsical and charming

July 5, 2017

In the film, The Wizard of Oz Dorothy taps her ruby red slippers and says, “There’s no place like home.” But have you ever wondered where was home for those striking shoes? The documentary, The Slippers is a fascinating film that covers what became of this beloved slice of movie history in a story that […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Rumble (Canada, 2017) gives long-overdue credit to American Indians & their contributions to popular music

June 13, 2017

It seems that American Indians have been erased from the history books, including the chapters relating to contemporary music. Until now. The documentary, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World looks set to change all of that by celebrating the contributions of these individuals and finally giving credit where it’s due. The film is directed […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: A Modern Man (Denmark/Germany, 2017) leaves you asking, “Who is Charlie Siem?”

June 10, 2017

A Modern Man is a documentary about a handsome, contemporary classical violinist named Charlie Siem. But who is Messer Siem? Unfortunately that question is not really answered in this film because this British-Norwegian musician puts up a wall that is largely impenetrable. This film is directed by Eva Mulvad (The Good Life). It begins with […]

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Film Review: Becoming Bond (USA, 2017) is hilarious, original documentary filmmaking

May 6, 2017

Getting a release on Hulu today in the US is the hilarious documentary Becoming Bond, which screened at SXSW earlier this year. It takes a look at the life and times of Australia’s only Bond, George Lazenby, in his own words. The film takes the spirit of Drunk History to deliver an original and entertaining […]

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SXSW Film Review: Divine Divas (Brazil, 2017) is both a beautiful preservation and an accomplished slice of filmmaking

April 5, 2017

More a celebration of drag culture than a heavy-handed expose, Divine Divas proves a fascinating watch as it allows a peak behind the curtains of one of Brazil’s first establishments to showcase men dressed as women. In 1960’s Rio de Janeiro, the Rival Theatre – under the forward thinking of Americo Leal – was one […]

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SXSW Short Film Review: Tough (UK, 2016) redefines the documentary genre tag with inventive animation

April 3, 2017

A bold colour palette expressing traditional Chinese imagery overlays both the personal and political difficulties filmmaker Jennifer Zhang has with her mother in Tough, a short student film that redefines the documentary genre tag. In the space of four short minutes, Zhang manages to convey an alarmingly detailed view of her relationship with her mother, […]

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Film Review: The Eagle Huntress (G) (UK/MONG/USA, 2016) follows an inspiring subject

March 18, 2017

I have to admit, I don’t watch a lot of documentaries, but I’ve loved the ones I’ve seen. Some of them haven’t felt like documentaries at all, mainly because the stories behind them are a little too one-sided or hard to believe. Films like Super Size Me and Bowling for Columbine have been accused of being false, manipulative […]

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SXSW Film Review: Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (UK, 2017) is a love letter to NASA’s rocket men

March 18, 2017

Stop and take a moment to think about what you were doing at the age of 27 or what you will do if it’s yet to come. If you’re a musician it is likely that you are dead but if you were working at NASA during the Apollo era then you had a hand in […]

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SXSW Film Review: Through The Repellent Fence (USA, 2017) uses art to make an important political statement

March 12, 2017

As Donald Trump continues promoting his idea of building a wall between the US and Mexico it’s heartening to see that there are some people taking a different approach. Through The Repellent Fence: A Land Art Film is a documentary about a land art installation that attempted to reinforce the notion that borders are an […]

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Aussie director Matthew Salleh talks about his mouth-watering SXSW Premiere documentary Barbecue

March 4, 2017

Ahead of its premiere on Friday at SXSW in Austin, Texas, we caught up with Australian born, US based director Matthew Salleh to talk about his new documentary feature, Barbecue. The film takes us to 12 countries, from Shisanyama in South Africa, to Engangsgrill in Sweden and everywhere in between to talk about meat: how […]

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Ten things we learnt from the E-Team Sydney screening and Q & A

February 10, 2017

Sydney recently played host to a screening of the film, E-Team, a documentary about Human Rights Watch’s Emergency Team, a group of fearless individuals that visit the front lines in order to document atrocities that are occurring. There was also a Q & A after the film with Elaine Pearson, the Australian director of Human […]

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Film Review: Winter at Westbeth (Australia, 2016) is a love letter to the power of creativity & pursuing your passion.

February 5, 2017

Winter at Westbeth is a film that’s all about “the art.” And celebrating it at every age. This documentary looks at three young at heart, elderly, American artists who live in a vibrant, housing complex called Westbeth Artists Housing in New York. It is ultimately a film that is like a love letter to the […]

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