Documentaries are powerful things. You can finish one and feel inspired, numb, outraged or horrified. Whether you’re watching it to learn more about nature, science, history or politics, documentaries are a great way to educate yourself about the world. And the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is the perfect place to find some good content. It’s currently running online for the whole month of July, but you can also catch some screenings in person at Cinema Nova, from July 21 to 31.
What can you see?
This is the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival’s seventh iteration, and it features documentaries that were showcased in places like South By Southwest, Copenhagen International Documentary Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival and more.
There’s over 120 documentaries, web series, VR and shorts to discover, including seven world premieres. There’s 24 Australian feature length documentaries to discover, and ten of them are from Victoria.
The festival’s top picks this year are:
- The Tunnel: The Other Side of Darkness – a ‘making of’ documentary about The Tunnel, a notorious Australian film.
- The Power of Activism – follows six female activists and their fight against climate change
- Diseln’Dub – Aussie musicians reinvent Midnight Oil’s iconic songs in dub-reggae style and reflect on their legacy.
- Abby’s List: A Dogumentary – Abby the Whippet and her human Mark embark on a bucket list trip, that started as a three-week journey and stretched out over three years instead. Proceeds from the streams this year will go towards a dog charity in Melbourne.
- Doctor Who Am I – an infamous screenwriter for Doctor Who is reluctantly pulled back into the American fandom.
- FoodForest – landscape architect Louis De Jaeger outlines how food forests can save the earth from suffocation, reverse global warming and still produce an abundance of food.
- Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters – this documentary is about Mike Mignola, and the creation of his comic book universe around Hellboy.
- Pushing The Boundaries: The Mavis Bramston Story – Carol Raye became the first female television executive in Australia when she created The Mavis Bramston Show in 1964. This show tackled subjects like sexuality, politics, religion, women’s rights and racism.
- Frank Miller – American Genius – follows the career of comic book writer/artist Frank Miller, and his influence on art, storytelling, culture and politics.
- A Fire Inside – the selfless acts of everyday people during Australia’s apocalyptic bushfires defined the spirit of a nation, but took a toll of their own.
Another special event this year includes Cats of Malta, which will screen at Fed Square on Monday July 25. This feature length documentary explores stray cats, and cat culture in Malta. This will play for free at 6:30pm.
During the festival, there will also be free Masterclasses about documentaries over Zoom. Sign up to a class by registering at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The classes are:
- Focus on Drone Filmmaking for Documentary Filmmakers, with Brett Hunter from Gizmo Drones at 9am on July 30
- Introduction to Documentary Photography with Walkley winner Barat Ali Batoor at 10am on July 30
- Music Documentaries with Penelope Spheeris on July 31
- Documentary Open Mic – A review of rough cuts, trailers and feedback on short documentary with Helen Gaynor, Andrew Garton and Heather McIntosh on July 31
For more information about the festival, click here.