The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival kicks off today, and runs until 16 July in the Victorian capital. Melbourne’s premier international documentary festival has a massive selection of features and shorts playing over the next week
Below is a collection of 9 films we recommend, including a few that Festival director Lyndon Stone has recommended to us.
A full program can be found at mdff.org.au. The tickets are on sale now, so get in quickly.
One of the most iconic props in movie history, the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, get the spotlight as filmmaker Morgan White explores the strange but true story of the slippers in the eight decades since the release of the film.
Act of Kindness
Costa Botes and Sven Pannell head to Rwanda to track down the homeless samaritan who helped Pannell, a Kiwi traveller in Africa, escape from a run-in with rebels almost 10 years before. In doing so, he traces the history of a people who have thrived under conflict.
Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table
The titular chef is a restaurateur specialising in haute Louisiana Creole cuisine in New Orleans. Her food at the Commander’s Palace has been acclaimed all over the world. Leslie Iwerks, granddaughter of famed Disney animation legend and designer of Mickey Mouse Ub Iwerks, explores her Creole cooking.
One Big Home
The film followers a carpenter on the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard, where presidents and celebrities vacation, who is trying to put a stop to the trend of giant houses that he feels are ruining the community.
What is art and how does it relate to society? Is its value determined by its popularity or originality? Director Victor Kanefsky follows Cenedella, who has been labelled a ‘rebel’ by some and the ‘anti-Warhol’ by others.
The Bentley Effect
Following a series of films about small towns fighting big fracking giants in the US, including 2010’s award-winning Gasland, director Brendan Shoebridge brings the story closer to home, showcasing how a group of Australians set a legal precedent in fighting off gas companies in the Northern Rivers shire of Australia.
Every festival, there is a music documentary that everyone wants to see. This might be this year’s. Filmed over 10 years, filmmaker Mat de Koning followed his best friends in their Perth-based band The Screwtop Detonators. Showcasing the harsh realities of life on the road, we see what the band has to give up to earn success.
The Cinema Travellers
Earning a L’Œil d’or special mention at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya explore the travelling cinemas of India. As they fall into disrepair, the film chronicles the attempts to revive the once proud method of getting film to the remote areas of the country.
One Heart: One Spirit
Jack Thompson narrates a documentary that brings Aboriginal Australia and Native America together. It follows Kenneth Little Hawk, an elder Micmac/Mohawk performing artist, as he meets the 40,000 year old Yolngu nation located in northern Australia, one of the oldest surviving cultures on the planet.