Gold Coast Film Festival rolls out across town next week, and one of the highlights in the 2017 program is the new documentary season at Robina Town Centre’s Event Cinemas.
Four films explore real people, real life and real stories over two weekends at Robina.
Rich Haridy is Gold Coast Film Festival’s Program Director and he says documentaries have grown in their appeal over recent times.
“More and more we are seeking those real, human stories that stand apart from the gigantic artificial blockbusters of Hollywood,” he said.
“Digital video has evolved over the last ten to fifteen years allowing us to record things we never would’ve been able to before,” Rich said.
Everyone is filming everything
“Everyone is filming everything which gives documentary filmmakers the raw materials to tell stories they never have been able to before.”
Rich says the art of documentaries has come a long way in the last decade.
“These are certainly not the dry films we used to remember,” he said.
“We try to choose documentaries that have engaging, amazing, and exciting human stories. This year we’re excited to have found films that focus on everything from an indigenous ballet dancer to a young girl battling to become a weightlifter. These are vibrant, exciting and authentic stories that illuminate worlds we generally don’t get to experience,” Rich said.
Local director Jude Kalman travelled to Nigeria to interview families displace by crisis. Her film Uncontained Love: Love > Fear, which screens during Documentary Season at Robina tells those stories as well as that of a local family who have sent shipping containers to Nigeria filled with educational, household and medical supplies for those communities in need.
Like many documentaries, Uncontained Love: Love > Fear seeks to stimulate conversation. In this instance, about refugees and how we might respond to the needs of those most profoundly impacted by crisis in Africa.
Jude says she is both excited and frightened at the prospect of having her film screened at such a major event in her own hometown.
“I love what I do – telling stories,” she told More Gold Coast. “As a story teller you invite an audience to enter the world of your story. It’s a little confronting to invite people into that world but it’s also the point.”
“To have Uncontained Love premiered on the Gold Coast is awesome as it has a deep local connection,” she said. “The issues faced in the documentary, we all face… just on different levels.”
Uncontained Love is just one of four documentaries included in this year’s Gold Coast Film Festival, which will screen 32 feature films from 13 countries.
Iconic artist Brett Whitely is the subject of another documentary – Whitely – also screening during Documentary Season at Robina.
Known as a rebel, genius, visionary, Whitely reshaped the Australian arts landscape across the 1970s and 80s and this documentary chronicles his erotic and chaotic life with four decades of archival footage and stunningly intimate insights into the mind of a genius.
Supergirl is about eleven year old Naomi Kutin who dreams of becoming a champion power lifter. Raise in an Orthodox Jewish household, the film follows Naomi as she prepares for her Bar Mitzvah, confronts cyber bullying and trains to hold onto her status as the strongest girl in the world.
Ella Havelka is the first Indigenous dancer ever to join The Australian Ballet and this moving documentary, aptly named Ella, follows her journey from rural Australia to one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world. The film gives us a rare glimpse into the high-impact world of professional ballet while also presenting an intimate portrait of a young girl who is discovering her indigenous identity.
Gold Coast Film Festival has been turning film industry heads the world over with its progressive programming and support for women in film. And now it’s turning heads closer to home with its ambitious program of events for the 2017 Festival.
The festival, which runs 19 – 30 April includes eight Queensland, nine Australian and four world premieres, a floating cinema, the Women in Film lunch with Sue Maslin (Producer of The Dressmaker) and the launch of film tourism for the Gold Coast in the form of film location tours – a first for the city.
All-in-all, there’s 120 things to see and do across 13 locations. And if that’s not enough, you can participate in Q+A with directors and producers following their films. Jude Kalman (director Uncontained Love), Veronica Fury (Producer, Ella) and Douglas Watkin (Director, Ella) will answer questions after their films.
Documentary Season at Robina:
Uncontained Love: Love > Fear | Thursday 20 April, 6.30pm at Events Cinema Robina, featuring Q+A with Director Jude Kalman afterwards. Tickets.
Whitely | Sunday 23 April, 1.30pm at Events Cinema Robina and The Arts Centre Gold Coast Wednesday 26 April at 10.00am. Tickets.
Supergirl | Thursday 27 April, 6.30pm at Events Cinema Robina. Tickets.
Ella | Sunday 30 April at 2.00pm at Events Cinema Robina, featuring Q+A with Producer Veronia Fury and Director Douglas Watkin afterwards. Tickets.