Perfect Strangers – film review


Perfect Strangers screened during the Palace Cinemas 2016 Italian Film Festival and was one of my favourite films last year.

It was a box office hit in Italy and the Tribeca Film Festival praised the script for it’s ‘masterful flow between comedy and drama’. Director Paola Genovese uses our obsession with smart phones and how our lives are ruled and/or ruined by them, as the diving board for a triple somersault into the Olympic size pool that floats human nature, relationships, communication and secrecy.

The action takes place at a dinner table. Seven friends, who seem to think they know each other very well, gather together for an evening meal at the home of a couple and their teenage daughter, the trio are obviously suffering some familial angst and not doing a great job at concealing it.

Let the games begin.

We gather the host and hostess have money, as their home is very comfortable and chic. Prior to the guests arriving we’re privy to a little inside info. We are shown some mysterious behaviour on behalf of a few of our diners and discover there’s trouble at mill. Why does one of the women take off her underwear and place it in a living room drawer before she leaves the house with her husband? Who is the mystery caller that forces the husband to take the call, out of earshot, in the bathroom?

Over the next 97 minutes we become the voyeur and witness the unravelling on a grand scale of lives, relationships and identities. Our hosts are the kind, loving and a little Zen, plastic surgeon husband married to the beautiful ice queen therapist. Their teenage daughter is trying to decide if she’s ready to relinquish her virginity. Couple one are the macho guy and his younger newish bride who looks like she could front an indie pop band. Couple two: the understated elegantly groomed and secret drinker married to the annoying and seemingly uptight angry bloke and finally, the beloved single friend who holds mythic status in all their eyes and is supposed to bring his new girlfriend to meet and greet for the first time.

We don’t know it yet, but we’re about to feast on a smorgasbord of secrets, lies, collusion, adultery, intolerance, legalities, perjury and homophobia. Nearly all of them are sitting on a mountain of hidden truths, and are practised at the art of falsity.

The blurb for the film says ‘Let’s play a game then. We’ll all put our phones on the table…’

Ice Queen hostess suggests a dinner game, they should all put their mobile phones, face up, on the table while they eat, drink and be merry, or otherwise. With a little hesitation from a few, eventually, they all commit.

The rules are that any text received must be read aloud. Any incoming call has to be answered and taken on speakerphone.

What follows is an outing par excellence of the real lives behind the façade that these friends present to the world and one another.

Sophisticated people have sophisticated means of keeping the wolves from their doors and this film is full of the clever manoeuvres that clever people use to avoid being caught out. It’s very edgy at times and I can’t imagine many of them would have tasted much of what they were eating.

Perfect Strangers is a smart, funny, sad and moving rumination on modern culture and how our humanity has been impacted by technology. Is the world of computers, iPads, mobile phones and social media turning us into creatures of deception, or is it just enabling our already alive and well, skewed desires? Is technology revealing ourselves to ourselves as we have always been, but now with endless opportunity to hide our shadows? Are our inner beasts more transparent or more easily hidden?

Who knows? What’s interesting is recognising in Genovese’s movie, the ability in all of us to stray, to create drama and chaos, get caught and potentially implode our lives.

The way this mod Shakespearian tale wraps up is brilliant.

Due for release January 26 at Palace Cinemas.





‘The Infiltrator’ sits comfortably next to ‘ This Is Spinal Tap’ and ‘The Browning Version.’ 3 films, different in content and style, but, to me, they are joined at the hip.

‘The Infiltrator,’ ‘The Browning Version’ and ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ nut their genres. They define a filmic style with finesse, accuracy and pathos. Humanity, vanity and life’s complexity are all on show, yet not quite hung out to dry.

‘The Browning Version’ portrays the melancholy garnered when reflections upon the value of one’s industry and achievement become swamped by a sense of misplaced loyalties and failure.

‘This Is Spinal Tap’ gelds the rock n’ roll cock rock musician like no other. As a film it rates 5 and a half stars out of 5.

Despite harboring certain minor flaws and clichés ‘The Infiltrator’ is a thoroughly worthwhile addition to its genre, centering upon the elimination of a criminal ring, in this instance, via implanting an undercover agent.

For me, this film works. The music is perfectly placed and never overdone. The acting, headed by ‘Breaking Bad’s’ Bryan Cranston, and powerfully supported by a great ensemble, is always believable and appropriate. The eye for detail re the casting, and the film’s look, is on the money.


Money is what this film is all about. ’10cc’ sing ‘The Things We Do For Love,’ well, that’s nothing compared to the things we do for money. ‘The Things We Do For Love’ lasts a little over 3 minutes. If they put the things we do for money to music, based on this film, it would be operatic in length. The main thing we learn about the breaking down of Escobar’s Colombian crew, as depicted in ‘The Infiltrator,’ is that the criminal world cannot thrive without the support of the legit, straight world, and, to a lesser extent, the other way around.

It is purely coincidental I happened to view this film about banking malpractice, at the very time our 4 major bank’s CEO’s had to endure the hell of enduring a 3 hour grilling at the hands of our politicians. 3 hours for grabbing billions off their customers, all in the name of the bottom line. My most recent film review, ‘8 Days A Week,’ focused on the Fab Four. If only the Major Four were more like the lads from Liverpool. If only!!!

I won’t go into any plot details. It follows the story of federal agent Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) as he infiltrates his way into the hearts and minds of several of Escobar’s significant business associates.  Mazur’s 1986 alto ego, money launderer Bob Musella goes on one hell of a ride. Chances are, you may already be aware of much that occurred when this castle of cocaine came crumbling down.

‘The Infiltrator’ excels in its understatement and subtlety.   Take a bow Brad Furman, directing a script by your mother, (Ellen Brown Furman,) no matter how talented your mother may be, cannot be easy. In the hands of Sylvester Stallone, gratuitous violence would have swamped any coherent story line. Mel Gibson would not have allowed the threat of violence to go unrealized. A death count in the thousands.

Furman keeps the exposed violence to a minimum. Violence underscores every moment. The potential for violence to breakout at any time is enough to keep you from falling asleep at the wheel.

There is a magnificent incident involving a cake. If only I’d been an extra in that scene. All lovers of chocolate cake should see the movie then indulge in a slice of their favorite Black Forest.

The only flat moments centre on Mazur’s home life. Middle class domesticity can’t compete with the adrenalin buzz found growing on trees in the nefarious realm of the drug lords. Furman, wisely, keeps these moments of domestic (bliss) to a minimum. Each foray into the world of mum, dad, kids, pets and a mortgage is necessary and pushes Mazur’s story along.

There is a wonderful scene where the agent’s real wife meets his undercover fiancé. Much is expressed engaging the power of rationed words. Facial expressions push the dialogue. Furman has learnt well. Less is more.

I was a sucker for ‘The Sopranos.’ I needed my fix of Tony and resented James Gandolfini not reprising Tony Soprano in every other character he portrayed. Ditto Eric Bana in ‘Chopper.’ No way known could Brad Pitt’s Achilles have defeated Bana’s ‘Chopper’ in their battle in ‘Troy.’

‘The Goodfellas’ had Liotta and De Niro. ‘The Godfather,’ Brando and Pacino. ‘Blow’ had Depp. ‘The Infiltrator’ has Cranston. All are magnificent, yet Cranston, due to the bland  look and feel of his characters, Mazur and Musella, does not dominate the screen in the way of the other lead actors. ‘The Infiltrator’ does not demand that of him. There are no puffy cheeked Brando moments. No passionate Pacino outbursts. No decadent Depp, or evil De Niro offerings. His performance more closely matches Liotta’s, but without the dissipation Liotta’s role required.

‘The Infiltrator’ belongs to its masterful direction, superbly backed up by the marvelous ensemble acting.

‘The Infiltrator’ 

Genre: Crime biography

Director: Brad Furman

CAST: Bryan Cranston; Juliet Aubrey; Diane Kruger; John Leguizamo; Joe Gilgun; Michael Pare; Benjamin Bratt; Amy Ryan; Simom Andreu; Ruben Orchandiano; Olympia Dukakis;

Writer: Ellen Brown Furman

Running time   127 minutes

Brad Furman is one of the Producers.

Bryan Cranston is an Executive Producer.

Suggests they both believe in this film.


Antenna Documentary Film Festival is off and running! Our second day of screenings kicks off this evening at 7pm with Servant or Slave, which is one of four films screening in the Australian Competition. Servant or Slave revisits the time of the Stolen Generation, when thousands of Aboriginal girls were taken from their families by the Australian Government and forced into servitude. The film sheds light on a still raw part of modern Australia’s history, the consequences of which are still felt today.

Films also screening tonight include They Call Us Monsters (SOLD OUT) and Shadow World, which is selling fast so get in quickly! Plenty more festival films are selling fast, including tomorrow’s screenings of Bobby Sands: 66 Days and Brothers.

Read on for festival highlights including a rundown on our inaugural Horizons exhibition, which kicks off today.



Today we launch our Horizons initiative, which this year takes the form of a virtual reality exhibition at Blank_Space Gallery in Surry Hills. Get ready to step inside stories from all corners of the globe, by putting on a headset and immersing yourself. Read more about the experiences on offer here.

Horizons is a free exhibition running 11am-7pm Wednesday to Friday, and 11am-6pm Saturday and Sunday. Antenna would like to thank our Horizons major partners SBSand AFTRS and supporting partner Start VR

Tomorrow’s highlights


At this Red Cross school in Denmark, each child has a harrowing tale of adversity and survival, having fled conflict zones with their families. AT HOME IN THE WORLD is an intimate and engaging film that provides a vital addition to the global conversation on the current refugee crisis.



Acclaimed filmmaker Chantal Akerman opens up about her career and her craft. Director Marianne Lambert explores the filmmaker’s oeuvre, presenting excerpts from many of her films and inviting Akerman, and her long-time editor and collaborator, to reveal her aesthetic approach and thinking.


A word from our Horizons major partner SBS

Did you know? SBS is bringing the world of VR to your phone through the SBS VR app – immersing you in a world of unique and diverse stories.

The new-look SBS VR app is free to download and is available for Apple iOS and Google Android devices.

Keep up to date with the latest festival news!

Monsieur Mayonnaise – fundraiser exclusive screening



26 September at 19:00–22:00

9 Gordon St, Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia 3185

Show Map

After 2 sellout screenings at the Melbourne International Film Festival and great reviews, Serge

Thomann is thrilled to announce that he is hosting a premiere of the new film ‘Monsieur Mayonnaise’ as a fundraiser for my Council election campaign.

As I am standing totally independently from any political parties or groups, I need to raise the money for my campaign myself.

Introduction by Santo Cilauro
Special guest appearance by Kate Ceberano AO

Special thank you to director Trevor Graham, producer Lisa Wang and cinematographer Jenni Meany for filming a great movie!

An incredible true tale of mayonnaise sandwiches, nazis and a hand-painted comic book!

Artist and filmmaker Philippe Mora (Mad Dog Morgan, MIFF 2015; Swastika, MIFF 1973) is producing a graphic novel about his late father, Georges, widely known in Melbourne as a beloved contemporary art patron and owner of bohemian eateries Mirka Café, Café Balzac and the Tolarno Restaurant and Galleries. Less known, however, is Georges’ astonishing history as part of the French resistance during World War II, his friendship with renowned mime Marcel Marceau (Philippe’s godfather), and how together they saved thousands of Jewish lives with a fiendishly simple trick involving baguettes and mayonnaise.

Bookings and more details at:


A Thin Life



Every now and then a hitherto unknown work, by a departed master of their craft, greets the light of day. Fortunately for all, Frank Howson in particular, we have not had to wait for Howson’s physical demise to enjoy this gem of a short film, “A Thin Life.”

After strong encouragement from MUFF Fest Director, Richard Wolstencroft, Howson and editor, Gary Robertson, fashioned 20 year old uncut negatives into this beguiling tale of isolation, paranoia and dissipation. Filmed in the moribund days of Howson’s company, Boulevard Films, “A Thin Life” is the perfect meeting place for Howson’s gift with dialogue  to be enriched by Tommy Dysart’s ability to layer dialogue with deeper and deeper nuance.

Howson is a sublime wordsmith. His great strength is in never rubbing the nose of his audience in his cleverness. His words always display respect for the intelligence of others and allow for interpretation. Passive slumber will not open the fullness of Howson’s offering. Stay open to the moment portrayed on the screen and its depth will reward you.

“All the tea in Romania. All the brains in New Zealand. All the coconut ice on a lamington.” As spoken by Dysart’s forlorn character, these absurd images play with our prejudices to the point where you question if you heard it correctly.


Shot in 3 days, Tommy Dysart’s performance is truly remarkable when you understand he learned his lines on set. His delivery lives where ability and uncertainty collide.

Dysart’s character is a decayed and desiccated mess of a man. He is closed to the present and his recollections are questionable on any level you may choose. One wonders how reliable a witness he is to his own life.


“A Thin Life” hopefully will find its audience. Mainstream it won’t be. Howson demands way too much from the audience for that. No music, other than melancholy piano at the intro and outro, to help jolly the observer along. Almost no action. No interplay between characters. The only olive branch Howson provides is a glimpse of feminine beauty, both clad and naked.

A sparse set, Howson’s beautiful facility with words, and Dysart’s powerful physical and aural presence is what you are offered to go on this journey. Believe me, it’s a journey more than worth the price of its ticket.


“A Thin Life” by “Shifty Brothers Production.”

Written and directed by Frank Howson

Edited by Gary Robertson

Cast: Tommy Dysart.   Connie Fortis

Incidental Music: Warren Wills. Song by Kole Dysart

Filmed: John Wheeler

“A Thin Life” opened this year’s MUFF Festival. Tommy Dysart won the award for Best Actor in a Short Film.

The film went down a hoot at the opening.

Look out for it!!!

Another work by Frank Howson, the musical chronicling the life of Bobby Darin “Dream lover” opens in Sydney October 6.

Look out for it!!!



Nathan Hall pictured directing during “Return of the Gweilo”.

Multi talented artist Nathan Hill, one of Melbourne’s hidden gems is to shine at MUFF on closing night with his latest feature film “Revenge of the Gweilo”, in which he directed and starred in.

Nathan Hill has begun making waves even back as a student at Footscray City College Film Dept. when Nathan Hill was accredited with pioneering the diploma program of two year to instilling the advanced diploma to a four year study “They used me as the first student to help pioneer the 3rd year, for which during that time I was almost alone in my work”. Nathan Hill culminated his film studies with the production of his first feature film, ‘Tomboys’ which went on to win at festivals in L.A.

Nathan Hill takes the film industry seriously.Nathan Hill takes the film industry seriously.

To date Nathan Hill has made an impressive eight feature films, many of which have won at festivals around the world, with ‘Revenge of the Gweilo’ having recently won best music score at the Prestige Awards in L.A. (composer-Gerard Mack), & Best Action Film at the 21st Indie Gathering International Film Festival USA & Official selection Action on Film in L.A. (the AOF).

Along with his passion for directing, Nathan is also an outstanding actor having featured in 15 feature films, 7 of those in lead roles, at one point went to extreme lengths of losing 15 kilos to authentically act the role of tortured character, in Nathan Hill’s first horror film, “The Tub”, nominated for an international award.

Nathan Hill as Joel Haydon in short film, "The Tub".Nathan Hill as Joel Haydon in short film, “The Tub”.

With a slew of commercials currently airing for RACV, Work Safe & Healthy Break, being the face of Monsterfest’s 2016 trailer, also starring festival creator Neil Foley and actor Glenn Maynard, he is also the casting director for ‘Cult Girls’ directed by Mark Bakaitis, starring Jane Badler & Dean Kirkright, and is in post production for his latest feature film ‘Colourblind’ (co-starring Jake Ryan & Anne Gauthier).

The time has come for the world to see a whole lot more of Nathan Hill with Channel 31 being a loyal supporter having aired ‘Running on Empty’ interviews with Nathan Hill three times this year and now will be raising Nathan Hill’s recognition further with showcasing 13 NHP films dating over the past 13 years, by airing one per week, on Monday nights for the last 13 weeks of the year.

Nathan Hill delivers a fly kick during filming for "Revenge of the Gweilo".Nathan Hill delivers a fly kick during filming for “Revenge of the Gweilo”.

The Melbourne Underground Film Festival will screen ‘Revenge of the Gweilo’ on closing night, 17th September, at 8pm Alex Theatre, 135 Fitzroy Street St Kilda 3182 (Richard Wolstencroft’s 17th year running), tickets available at the door and through Ticketek.

Aussie docs at Antenna


Here at Antenna we can’t help but beam with pride when we see the breadth of home-grown documentary talent, unearthing and creating stories both uniquely Australian and universally human. In 2016, Antenna presents 19 Australian documentaries in total, including four features, 14 shorts and one Virtual Reality experience.

Four Australian features are in the running for the prize for Best Australian Documentary, to be presented at closing night, and the directors will be holding Q&As after their screenings. SERVANT OR SLAVE (pictured above), directed by Steven McGregor, revisits the time of the Stolen Generation, when thousands of Aboriginal girls were taken from their families by the Australian Government and forced into servitude. The film sheds light on a still raw part of modern Australia’s history, the consequences of which are still felt today. Read on below for more info on the Australian features.

Antenna is also pleased to be presenting our Australian shorts program over two dedicated sessions on Sunday 16 October. The shorts competition showcases the best emerging and established Australian filmmaker talent, with films from some Antenna old friends as well as exciting new faces.



A powerful and moving film by Rosie Jones (THE TRIANGLE WARS, ANTENNA 2011). ‘The Family’ was a sinister apocalyptic cult active in Melbourne in the ’60s and ’70s. THE FAMILY pulls back the cover on the murky story of a still-operating sect, revealing the scars the victims carry to this day.



Australian director Jeff Daniels shadows brash and outspoken Shelley Rubin, leader of the Jewish Defense League – advocating any means necessary to prevent antisemitism. MOTHER WITH A GUN untangles her past and present to expose this unusual pathway to Jewish extremism.



Take one comic-book artist, send him on a journey following his father’s footsteps from French resistance to restaurant ownership in Melbourne, add a sprinkling of Nazis and coat liberally in mayonnaise. Artist and filmmaker Philippe Mora is producing a graphic novel about his late father, Georges, and his fascinating life.



Shorts take centre stage in two dedicated sessions on Sunday 16 October. Come and discover an eclectic mix of stories from the personal, to the quirky, to the scientific, to the global! There will be a short intermission between the sessions, buy tickets to one or both.




Queer Screen Film Fest features four outstanding feature-length documentaries,WEEKENDSDANNY SAYS, MAJOR, andSOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR (pictured above), which played at Tribeca and HotDocs 2016. Full program here.


Discover how AFTRS’ 2017 Grad Certs and newMA Screen (11 disciplines including Documentary) are designed to nurture the next generation of visionary screen and broadcast storytellers. Wed 21 Sept, 6-8pm. Check out details on the AFTRS website.

Please join us in celebrating Aussie documentary at Antenna – and make sure to book tickets early as many films will sell out fast!

Get in quickly to see these films on the big screen.


Get your program in tomorrow’s The Saturday Paper



Even in the digital age, there’s still nothing quite like perusing a printed festival program and circling the films you’re interested in with a pen. Tomorrow morning when you sit down to breakfast with your coffee and newspaper you can do exactly this, as a copy of the 2016 Antenna Documentary Film Festival program will be nestled snugly in the pages of your favourite weekend read, The Saturday Paper.

Great journalism and great documentaries make a natural pairing, which is why Schwartz Media, publishers of The Saturday Paper and the Monthly, sponsor Antenna and make the hard copy program available to you. So get your pens ready!



Antenna is partnering with The Saturday Paper to present THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES at the festival. You might have seen a dozen climate change docs, but you certainly haven’t seen this one. Director Jared P. Scott (REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM, Antenna 2015) takes a new tack, no melting glaciers and species die-offs to be seen. Instead he places in the interviewee’s chair people generally positioned as a conservative policymaker’s dream – military planners, marine brigadier generals, Pentagon insiders and veterans who have served in warzones. These are the people who will be on the frontline when climate stimulated conflict hits – wars over scarce resources, mass migrations creating population tensions. Together, they build a terrifying picture of a series of global humanitarian catastrophes, and draw a direct and unassailable line between them and our voracious energy consumption.

Screens Sunday 16 October, 5:15pm at Chauvel Cinema, Paddington


The Antenna Documentary Film Festival is on from
11-16 October 2016 in Sydney, then tours to Brisbane and Melbourne.

Janis Joplin and Sharon Jones add a feminist beat to the Melbourne Film Festival

Two of the twelve music documentaries featured in the Melbourne International Film Festival’s Backbeat program this year are about iconic female blues singers: Janis Joplin and Sharon Jones.Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015) is a posthumous look at arguably, the world’s first female rock icon while Miss Sharon Jones!(2015), the “female James Brown” is battling to keep her music alive after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2013.

The films, which had their Australian premiers at MIFF, challenge the misrepresentation and marginalisation of women in the music industry. They are also directed by award-winning women, Amy Berg and Barbara Kopple, in another industry where women struggle to get ahead.

Janis: Little Girl Blue is a nostalgic musical journey based on rare archive footage. It is laced with interviews with her younger siblings (Laura and Michael), but largely features members of her boy bands: firstly Big Brother and the Holding Company, and her later backing bands, Kozmic Blues Band, and the Full Tilt Boogie Band.

We follow Joplin’s upbringing in the small, conservative mining town of Port Arthur, Texas in the 1940s, leading to her student days at the University of Texas in the early 60s, and her debut in Austin’s burgeoning folksy blues college music scene.

Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015).

The images of Joplin’s involvement in the development of the San Francisco psychedelic sound during the mid-60s are a highlight of the film; while the scenes associated with her lonesome demise in Hollywood in 1970 are melancholic.

Joplin emerged as the premier blues vocalist of the 1960s. As Sheila Whiteley wrote in Women and Popular Music: Sexuality, Identity and Subjectivity(2000), Joplin’s recording of Little Girl Blue (1969) offered “a new delicate and compassionate insight into blueness”.

Nicknamed the Mother of the Blues, Joplin sang to her own Southern acoustic beat and inspired other female musicians, such as Sharon Jones, to combine rhythm and blues with extraordinary soul.

Miss Sharon Jones! is a medical mix tape of the 60-year-old singer’s struggle with cancer since 2013, her loyalty to her Brooklyn-based indie label, Daptone Records and life on the road with the Dap Kings, where – like Joplin – Jones was The Girl in the band.

Miss Sharon Jones! Cabin Creek Films

Jones learnt her craft as a gospel singer in church, and worked in various jobs (for example, as a prison warden), before a mid-life career break as a session backup singer for soul and funk legend, Lee Fields in 1996. Her band the Dap Kings, which formed in 2002, helped to rekindle a
renaissance in funk and soul music

Understandably, both documentaries differ in tone. Janis, Little Girl Blue laments the loss of a great talent at age 27. Joplin’s fourth (and most famous) album, Pearl, was released three months after her death from an accidental heroin overdose. It delivered a Number 1 Billboard hit with Me and Bobby McGee.

In contrast, Miss Sharon Jones! celebrates Jones as a soul survivor, who has cancer but is using music as a remedy.

Both stress that Joplin and Jones experienced marginalisation in the music industry, not only because of their gender, but also because of their appearance.

When the plain looking, slightly overweight and acne-scarred Joplin strutted her musical talent at University of Texas, she was nominated as the “Ugliest Man on campus”.

Later Joplin was criticised by feminists for exploiting her bisexuality at a time when popular culture was grappling with “the problems of image and the representation” of women. In her brief eight year career, Whitely argues, Joplin had “the balls to succeed in the brotherhood of rock”.

Miss Sharon Jones! (2015) Cabin Creek Films,

In a similar vein, Sharon Jones, who released her first record at age 40, was told she was “too old, too fat, too short, too black” to make it in the industry.

Yet both films hit high emotional notes. The highlight of Miss Sharon Jones! is watching her sixth album with the Dap Kings, Give The People What They Want, be nominated for the band’s first Grammy in the Best R&B album section.

Both these singers’ train-rattling, emotionally powerful voices became trademarks in an industry that prides itself on radicalism, yet silences woman from serious discussion and participation.


This article was written by Andrea Jean Baker
[Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Monash University]


Antenna News from our friends at Sydney Film Festival


The line-up includes subjects as diverse as refugee crises, an elusive endangered parrot and docu-fiction hybrids. The inimitable documentarian Werner Herzog – whose last Festival film was 2011’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams – turns his idiosyncratic gaze to the many oddities of the Internet age, with Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World. Two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple has two entries in the year’s line-up: Hot Type: 150 Years of the Nation, a tour of America’s oldest continuously published weekly magazine, and Miss Sharon Jones, which charts the eponymous singer’s life and music.Weiner, about Anthony Weiner’s now-infamous 2013 New York mayoral campaign, has been hailed as “the best documentary about a political campaign ever made.” And the Festival continues to be as supportive of world-renowned non-fiction filmmakers as homegrown ones. The Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary competition again features films from ten Australian directors, covering subjects as diverse as their makers. BOOK NOW!

Screening at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival are 65 documentaries from 27 countries in 31 languages. 59 are feature-length productions, 40% are directed by women filmmakers, 14 are Australian productions or co-productions, eight are world premieres, 52 are Australian premieres – and there’s one international premiere, for good measure. In short, it’s a broad representation of all that’s on trend in the documentary filmmaking world.


In this charming documentary, award-winning Sydney director Gillian Leahy (My Life Without Steve) combines her two great passions: dogs and film.



The moving story of two determined Indigenous women with a dream to make it to the Arnolds – an amateur bodybuilding competition being held in Australia for the first time.


SAT 11 JUN 8:50PM –
MON 13 JUN 6:15PM | DENDY OPERA QUAYSAn excitingly original hybrid documentary about four young couples in today’s Europe, viewed both in and out of the bedroom, by award-winning filmmaker Jan Gassman.BOOK NOW
SUN 19 JUN 5:15PM – EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE STWinner of the Golden Bear for Best Film at Berlinale: a striking Italian documentary exploring the tragic refugee crisis on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa.BOOK NOW
SUN 12 JUN 6:30PM | DENDY OPERA QUAYSSharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s film about honour killings in Pakistan won the 2016 Oscar for Best Documentary Short, and will screen in a double bill with her 2012 Oscar winner, Saving Face.BOOK NOW
SUN 19 JUN 6:15PM | DENDY OPERA QUAYSCelebrated documentarian Frederick Wiseman explores New York’s Jackson Heights – one of the world’s most diverse neighbourhoods – in his exquisite fly-on-the-wall style.BOOK NOW
SUN 12 JUN 1:00PM –
TUE 14 JUN 10:00AM – STATE THEATREThe fantastical and utterly unique imagery of Dutch medieval painter Jheronimus Bosch is celebrated and interrogated in this true-life whodunit from the obsessive world of art.BOOK NOW
THU 16 JUN 8:05PM –
SUN 19 JUN 12:05PM – DENDY OPERA QUAYSSundance award winner: a provocative interpretation of the events leading to the first televised suicide, directed by innovative US filmmaker Robert Greene (Actress).BOOK NOW
SAT 11 JUN 3:50PM – EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE STThe 2016 Teddy Award winner at Berlinale: a walk through New York City’s voguing ballroom scene, led with swagger by gatekeeper Twiggy Pucci Garçon.BOOK NOW









WED 15 JUN 8:20PM –
EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE STFilmed over three decades, this intimate documentary charts the life-story of Richard, a young man with a complex disability since birth.BOOK NOW
WED 8 JUN 6:15PM –
THU 9 JUN 3:55PM STATE THEATREWerner Herzog, director of such beloved classics of the non-fiction realm as Grizzly Man and Cave of Forgotten Dreams, turns his inimitable eye on the evolution of the Internet.BOOK NOW
SUN 19 JUN 11:00AM – EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE STAn award winner at Sundance 2016, Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams’ heart-warming documentary tells the unique story of a boy with autism and his love of Disney films.BOOK NOW











MON 13 JUN 6:20PM –
EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE STA David-and-Goliath battle between the residents of the Paga Hill settlement, Port Moresby, and the developers with plans for an international five-star hotel and marina.BOOK NOW
SUN 19 JUN 9:30AM STATE THEATREA beautiful and precise account of the world of blindness: an innovative visual recreation of the audio diaries of writer and theologian John Hull.BOOK NOW
FRI 10 JUN 6:30PM – EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE STA jaw-dropping documentary on the surprisingly sinister world of competitive endurance tickling, from New Zealand co-directors Dylan Reeve and journalist David Farrier.BOOK NOW
SUN 19 JUN 5:45PM EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE STAbsorbing exposé of Anthony ‘sexting scandal’ Weiner’s 2013 New York mayoral campaign: winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary – 2016 Sundance Film Festival.BOOK NOW