There are times when the truth is stranger than fiction, and often it’s those circumstances where the best documentaries thrive. The balance of them, however, force us to educate ourselves rather than living in denial about what’s going on in our own world, no matter how much we’d like to pretend that it’s all sunshine and rainbows out there.
Continuing in their support of independent documentary filmmaking in Australia and worldwide, the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival brings us once again this year another affecting set of titles created for diverse audiences by diverse filmmakers. As we head into documentary month, online and nationwide right across Australia from the 1st – 31st July 2021 and in cinema from the 21st – 31st July 2021, we curated our top picks from this year’s proceedings.
Director: Chelsea Christer
Synopsis: If you’re a reader of our magazine in particular, this one is right up your alley. Through the eyes of each member of The Matches, Bleeding Audio tells the tale of the band’s triumphs and tribulations, from their victorious signing to Epitaph Records to their devastating break-up in 2009. Their contemporaries in blink-182, Hey Monday, Plain White T’s, Motion City Soundtrack and more weigh in, as the story elevates into an examination of what it means to be an artist that’s had their livelihood disrupted by the digital age.
TOPOWA! Never Give Up
Director: Philip Sansom & Inigo Gilmore
Synopsis: TOPOWA! Never Give Up follows the journey of 12 young musicians who venture from some of the toughest slums in Uganda to stages that they had never even dreamed of playing. Julius, Sumayya, Tadeo, Gilbert and the Brass for Africa band end up playing the performance of their lifetime after heading to the United Kingdom in pursuit of their music, but there’s so much more to the story than that. This is about teaching, about hope, about resilience, and most of all, celebrating music and life.
A Glitch in the Matrix
Director: Rodney Ascher
Synopsis: The idea that there’s something more to what we’re all doing down here on this Earth is comforting to some, but in A Glitch in the Matrix, the concept plays out more like a horror movie would. Exploring the question of whether or not we’re all living in a simulation, Ascher goes deep (some might say too deep) into how the hypothesis intertwines with testimony, philosophical evidence and scientific explanation. But if we were all living in a simulation, they wouldn’t want us finding out, would they?
WE ARE CONJOLA
Director: Ash Brennan
Synopsis: Director and filmmaker Ash Brennan lost his house in the Conjola Park Bushfire, but that wasn’t the only damage that he witnessed that day. WE ARE CONJOLA is more than just a story about fire – it’s about the abandonment of the people of Conjola by our government, both in the conditions leading up to the destruction and their response to a community waiting for help that never came. “The success of the film,” the team behind it commented, “will be measured by this atrocity never happening again.”
The Revolution Generation
Director: Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell
Synopsis: The fixation of other generations on painting millennials as lazy and apathetic about their future has been disproven time and time again over the last year, as rising up has become more important than ever in an increasingly unjust world. The Revolution Generation has been described as a manifesto for today’s youth, documenting how we can all contribute to change instead of sitting on the sidelines feeling helpless about the decisions made by those that came before us. Narrated by Michelle Rodriguez (Lost, Avatar, The Fast & Furious), it does make one point clearer than any others: the revolution has already begun.
Tickets to the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival are available now. Information on how to access the VOD stream can be found after the jump.