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12 Must-See Films at Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

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by Vanessa (subscribe)
WeekendNotes Chief Editor / Chief Writer / PR & Communications.
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One of the world's biggest showcases of documentaries

The Melbourne Documentary Film returns this July with a jam-packed program of premiere local and international documentaries direct from the international film festival circuit.

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is currently rated as the Documentary Film Festival of the Year (2018) by FilmDaily and named Top Documentary Film Festival in the Southern Hemisphere on Guide Doc.

In 2019, documentary lovers can look forward to a curated program of 20 well-made, compelling and thought-provoking documentary films, across a diverse range of genres. Screenings will take place in Backlot in Southbank and Cinema Nova in Carlton.


Here are 12 of the must-see films at this year's Melbourne Documentary Film Festival!

  • The Ghost of Peter Sellers - Australian Premiere

    A comedy genius, a hot new director and a 17th Century pirate film. What could possibly go wrong? The Ghost of Peter Sellers is a feature-length documentary directed by Peter Medak, about Peter Sellers' unreleased film, 'Ghost in the Noonday Sun. Filmed in 1973, it remains one of the biggest film productions ever undertaken in Cyprus.


  • F*ck You All: The Uwe Boll Story - Australian Premiere

    Go behind the lens with the most hated man in Hollywood. Honing his craft as an indie filmmaker in Germany in the early 90s, Uwe Boll never could have imagined the life that would lay itself out in front of him. He has experienced a storied career that has led to such highs as working with Oscar-winning actors and making films with 60 million dollar budgets, and has reached such lows as having actors publicly disparage their films with Boll and online petitions for him to stop making films reaching hundreds of thousands of signatures. None of this stopped Uwe from continuing to put out movie after movie, totalling 32 feature films before retiring and opening a successful high-end restaurant.


  • Funke

    When prodigious chef Evan Funke inexplicably walks away from his critically acclaimed restaurant, his life and career are thrust into a dark vortex. Years later, still healing from the pain of emotional and financial ruin, Evan begins mounting his comeback, eyeing the most competitive street in America as a stage for the dying art of handmade pasta. Reconnecting with the best artisan pasta makers in the world, Funke finds himself fighting to fulfil his artistic destiny, while battling the impossibly volatile LA restaurant industry.


  • Silent Forests - Australian Premiere

    Silent Forests is an intimate, character-driven portrait of conservationists and activists who are struggling to stop forest elephant poaching in Africa's Congo Basin region. After a study revealed that more than half the Central African forest elephant population has been lost to poaching in the last decade, there has been a concerted effort to save those that remain. Silent Forests explores this story through a range of dynamic subjects, including one of Cameroon's first female eco-guards, a grassroots wildlife law enforcement group, a Congolese biologist studying elephant behaviour, a reformed elephant poacher, and a team of anti-poaching sniffer dogs led by a Czech conservationist.


  • Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain -Australian Premiere

    Hacktivist and blockchain expert Lauri Love fights extradition in Trust Machine - his computer skills a threat to the US government. Tech innovators strike a raw nerve as banks and network pundits rush to condemn volatile cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology. Award-winning filmmaker Alex Winter reveals that proponents of the blockchain - a verified digital ledger - are already using the technology to change the world; fighting income inequality, the refugee crisis and world hunger.


  • Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me - Australian Premiere

    This documentary explores the rise of Teddy Pendergrass, the first male African American artist to record five consecutive platinum albums against the backdrop of 1960s America, and his comeback after a life-changing accident.


  • Davi's Way - Australian Premiere

    In Davi's Way, legendary actor/singer Robert Davi, is given one year to recreate Sinatra's fabled 'Main Event' concert in Madison Square Garden on Sinatra's 100th Birthday in this unpredictable, poignant and comedic documentary that starts to feel like a real life cross between Curb Your Enthusiasm and This Is Spinal Tap.


  • The Accidental Climber - Australian Premiere

    The Accidental Climber tells the story of Jim Geiger, a retired forest-ranger and amateur mountaineer from Sacramento, CA who at 68 years old, attempts to become the oldest American and first great grandfather to summit Mt. Everest. The film follows Jim as he embarks on a journey to transform from a weekend hiker to attempting one of the most extreme and physically demanding feats known to man. Driven by a desire to prove that age is just a number, Jim pushes his body to the limits in the quest to summit the world's tallest mountain.


  • KISS vs MCZ - Australian Premiere

    A fascinating documentary about two different cultures meeting through the power of music: legendary Rock band KISS vs. Japanese pop mega-star girls band Momoiro Clover Z (MCZ).


  • Dark Money - Australian Premiere

    Dark Money, a political thriller, examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. The film takes viewers to Montana—a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide—to follow an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the US Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Through this gripping story, Dark Money uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold. This Sundance award-winning documentary is directed/produced by Kimberly Reed (Prodigal Sons) and produced by Katy Chevigny (E-Team).


  • Homefront - Melbourne Premiere

    What happens when you destroy a war memorial and what do you put in its place? These questions faced Arts Officer, Colin James, and Project Manager and Artist, Amanda Gibson as they looked for ways to replace the much-loved Greensborough War Memorial statues, which had stood for 14 years in a local park. Homefront is a rare insider's view of a sculpture project where the people at the heart of these stories drove the design. Extraordinary footage documents the process of collecting the stories, designing sculptures and carving full-sized figures from blocks of raw cypress using chainsaws.


  • The Queens - Australian Premiere

    Part documentary classic, Paris is Burning, part current FX hit drama Pose, part reality show phenom RuPaul's Drag Race and part traditional beauty pageant like Miss America, The Queens explores the transgender subculture of competitive female impersonation. Along the way, this feature-length documentary delves into the rich history of Chicago's iconic female illusion show lounge, The Baton (entering its 50th year in 2019 at the same location), and the club's legendary offspring, the Miss Continental beauty pageant (an annual competition that has drawn transgender contestants from around the globe since 1980). The entertainers immersed in this fascinating close-knit community share the highs and lows of their lives as they compete for the coveted crown.


    Check the 2019 program at or download the guide here.

    Tickets are now on sale through - check out the session times - earlier bookings are advised as seating is strictly limited.

    What will you discover at Melbourne Documentary Film Festival? For all the latest on the program and to plan your experience, please visit

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    When: 19th - 30th July 2019
    Where: Backlot and Cinemas Nova
    Cost: $16-$21
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    by Vanessa on 08/06/2018
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