There are so many great documentaries around this year, and we
like to think that the cream of the doco crop is screening in this
year's SFF, with multiple winners from Sundance, SXSW and
Berlinale, and filmmaking talent from China to Malawi. Come see
what all the fuss is about and join the factual-film
This documentary follows three budding chess grandmasters,
sightless boys from different parts of India, as they battle their
opponents and inner demons at the World Junior Blind Chess
This delightful award-winning animated documentary (based on a
comic book) tells the childhood story of cartoonist and co-director
Jung, who was born in Korea but raised in Belgium by adoptive
In the emotional hit of Sundance 2013, the devastating
consequences of keeping five-tonne killer whales in captivity is
told through the story of one tragic beast, Tilikum. This ain't
This multiple award-winning documentary, filmed over several years,
tracks the uncertain lives and livelihoods of a border community on
the river Ganges, living on transient islands caused by India's
Olympic-contending American snowboarder Kevin Pearce pushes
himself to recover from a life-changing crash in a remarkable doco
from Lucy Walker (Waste Land) filled with awesome and
scary action footage.
The winner of the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary at Sundance
is a beautifully crafted portrait of the ups and downs in the
long-term relationship between two eccentric Japanese American
Champion ballroom dancer and instructor Pierre Dulaine endeavours
to teach Jewish and Palestinian boys and girls to dance together,
as well as decorum, etiquette and respect, in this inspiring doco.
This slick, rousing barnstormer of a doco about investigative
reporter Jeremy Scahill's attempts to bring to light the workings
of American covert operations in Afghanistan won a cinematography
award at Sundance.
The game-changing rise and the shocking and controversial downfall
of online music-sharing site Napster is the subject of Alex
Winter's utterly riveting documentary, featuring interviews with
musicians, label bosses and legal experts.
This powerful doco is a portrait of China's Shaolin Tagu Kung Fu
School, where three girls compete to be martial-arts champions with
20,000 other kids, facing a harsh routine in hopes of escaping
This outrageous doco spotlights New York's radical burlesque
performers like Dirty Martini and Julie Atlas Muz, who challenge
notions of gender and body type as they shed their glittering
Neo-hippie members of an environmentalist charity, who raise
money by selling homemade 'Fair Trade' porn on the internet, are
confronted with blunt reality when they head to the Amazon.
With unique access and a tender touch, documentarian Zhao Qi
follows three families of survivors as the Chinese government
rebuilds after a devastating earthquake in the mountainous north of
In this provocative documentary, Haitian activist and filmmaker
Raoul Peck confronts the ineffective bureaucracy and post-disaster
idealism that have hindered reconstruction of his country after the
deadly 2010 earthquake.
This documentary charts Danish architect Jan Gehl's mission to
reclaim our public spaces, to throw out car-driven urban design and
rebuild cities that suit pedestrians and cyclists.
The late, demented drag diva Divine, star of John Waters'
subversive cult classics Pink
Flamingoes and Polyester, as well as the enduring
hit Hairspray, is the subject
of a warmhearted tribute.
Georgian filmmaker Tinatin Gurchiani decided to make a documentary
about young people by announcing a casting call; the results, both
funny and tragic, offer a poignant picture of life in her country.
Nicolas Philibert, the award-winning director of To Be and
to Have, has turned his affectionate yet acute gaze on Radio
France in this beautifully crafted documentary featuring some
delightfully quirky characters.
This grassroots documentary covers four years in the life of a
gentle but determined English dairy farmer and his happy herd; the
result is a heartwarming tale of quiet resistance and
This ingenious documentary juxtaposes the life of a Mexican CSI
detective who deals with the grisly crimes of drug traffickers in
Ciudad Juárez with the LA-based singers who glorify them.
Slovenian scholar and pundit Slavoj Žižek - 'the Elvis of cultural
theory' - gives an exhilarating and hilarious lesson on film
history and ideology, delivered in costume on look-alike
Russian punk group Pussy Riot were arrested after protesting
against the Putin regime in a cathedral, sparking an international
campaign. This doco offers a glimpse of the girls behind the
Kalyanee Mam won a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance with her strikingly
beautiful directorial debut, which documents the impact of war and
climate change on the lives of Cambodians.
Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Joan Rivers and the Olsen sisters
are just some of the designers and celebrities who contribute to
this 'biopic' about the quintessential posh Manhattan department
Filmmaker Oskar Alegria determines to uncover the truth behind a
legendary Man Ray film on the Basque coast of Spain in this
brilliant and whimsically absurdist journey.
Veteran director Ken Loach has crafted a passionate and political
meditation on the heady postwar period in the UK, when there was
dancing in the streets and hope for a brighter future.
This dramatic and beautifully filmed doco combines survivor
interviews, re-enactments and actual footage to tell the tragic
story of the day 11 mountain climbers died on the world's
Political documentarian extraordinaire Alex Gibney (Taxi to
the Dark Side) tackles the sharing of classified documents by
Assange & Co., going beyond the controversial headlines to
analyse the characters and their global impact.
The career of filmmaker and photojournalist Tim Hetherington, an
Oscar® nominee for Restrepo who was tragically killed in
Libya in 2011, is explored by his co-directing partner Sebastian
The inspiring and affectionate portrait of a young Malawian who met
with sudden dizzying success after giving a TED talk about building
a homemade windmill won a Grand Jury Award at Sundance.
Legendary photographer William Yang leads us through the dazzlingly
decadent and creative '70s and '80s in Sydney's emerging arts and
queer scene. Presented in partnership with ABC TV Arts.