Mavis! and more light up the Summer Film Program for ACMI in Melbourne

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne has announced their Summer Film Program, and are set to host screenings of a selection of biographies, documentaries, punk classics and foreign language movies. The program begins December 2015 and runs until February 2016. Here’s a look at what has been revealed:


Seven years after the Watts riots, the 1972 Summer Festival reinvigorated public consciousness around issues of race in a legendary day-long concert that celebrated the music, people and pride of the black community of Watts and greater Los Angeles. ACMI will screen this special 35mm presentation of the legendary film featuring the Staple Singers and Richard Pryor. Staged by Memphis-based Stax Records, the event was a showcase for the label’s star power and a bold proclamation about African-American empowerment.

Mel Stuart, 1972, 98mins, USA, 35mm. Courtesy Sony Pictures

Dates: 27 Dec – 11 Jan


Mavis Staples

With a chart-topping career spanning over 60 years, the legendary soul singer Mavis Staples is a woman who shows no signs of slowing down. A performer since her teens, first with her family band The Staple Singers and then numerous solo ventures, her career is the stuff of music legend. Director Jessica Edwards offers an unguarded and joyous exploration of woman whose voice defined a generation, helped break the racial divide and continues to bring joy everywhere she goes. You can read our review of the film HERE and our interview with the director HERE.

Jessica Edwards, 2015, 81mins, USA, DCP. Courtesy Madman Entertainment

Dates: 27 Dec – 17 Jan


Winner of the Golden Bear for Best film at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, Offside) offers another clandestine cinematic jewel to international audiences. Banned from filmmaking since 2010 Panahi follows This is Not a Film and Closed Curtain with this playful and politically charged tale of a Tehran taxi driver (Panahi) as he goes about his daily rounds.

Jafar Panahi, 2015, 82mins, Iran, Farsi, DCP. Courtesy Madman Entertainment

Dates: 27 Dec – 17 Jan

Unclassified 18+


British painter David Hockney stands as the very embodiment post-war freedom. His distinctive artworks which grace the walls of the most prestigious international collections are bold, complex and chart a history lived on both sides of the Atlantic completely outside of the confines of societal conservatism. Through recollections from the artist, various subjects, friends and contemporaries, director Randall Wright weaves a portrait of the artist that is as effervescent and intelligent as the man himself. Screening at ACMI in its Australian premiere.

Randall Wright, 2014, 113mins, UK, DCP. Courtesy Festivals Agency

Dates: 12 Jan – 31 Jan


Cemetery of Splendour

History, dreams and contemporary politics coalesce in this gently comic tale from acclaimed film and visual artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives). Set in the director’s hometown in Northeast Thailand, he tells the story of a group of souls (earthly and otherwise) orbiting a military hospital where the soldiers are beset with a mass sleeping sickness and the ground below rages with ancient royal battles.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015, 122mins, Thailand, Thai with English subtitles, DCP. Courtesy Madman Entertainment

Dates: 13 Jan – 28 Jan

Unclassified 18+

Music maverick Bill Drummond has had his fair share of controversy as part of the legendary KLF, a wildly successful pop band that infamously ended when they filmed themselves burning 1 million pounds. His post KLF life has consisted of projects that directly challenge the music industry. Screening at ACMI in its Australian premiere, this engaging documentary follows Drummond as he attempts to pull off one of his most provocative stunts involving a choral project called The 17.

Stefan Schwietert, 2015, 86 mins, Switzerland, DCP. Courtesy Maximage

Dates: 17 Jan – 31 Jan


City of Gold

This deliciously charming portrait of LA Times Food Critic Jonathan Gold is a celebration of ethnic and culinary diversity in the writer’s hometown of Los Angeles. Director, Laura Gabbert immediately establishes a frame of reference for Gold’s unique brand of criticism. The film opens with the flyways and endless sprawl of L.A. zooming underneath overlaid with Gold’s review of a taco truck; it’s is educative, mouth-watering and full of deep emotion.

Laura Gabbert, 2015, 89 mins, DCP. Courtesy of Madman Entertainment.

Dates: 5 Feb – 27 Feb


Set in a small New Zealand dairy farming community, Christopher Pryor and Miriam Smith’s spirited documentary tells the story of a ragtag group of farmers who are having a bad season in the paddocks but are turning the tide on the rugby pitch. For the men of Reporoa, their rugby union team (and associated clubhouse) provides a much needed reprieve from the hardships of being a modern farmer.

Christopher Pryor and Miriam Smith, 2015, 91 mins, DCP. Courtesy of Madman Entertainment

Dates: 18 Feb – 27 Feb

ACMI’s Summer Films will screen from December 2015 to February 2016. For information on session times, head to the ACMI website.


This content has recently been ported from its original home on The Iris and may have formatting errors – images may not be showing up, or duplicated, and galleries may not be working. We are slowly fixing these issue. If you spot any major malfunctions making it impossible to read the content, however, please let us know at editor AT