At the heart of documentary is you.

The complex, strong, emotional, talented, and driven individual reading this.

Whether you’re the courageous soul bearing their story to the world in one of the documentaries listed below or you’re the filmmaker whose passion for storytelling leads to months and years of dedicated work making sure their subjects’ stories are told just precisely so, or you’re the documentary fan who finds connection and inspiration in all of the above, you are significant and by sharing your experiences, documenting them, and even perhaps by watching them and seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, you help make the human experience better and more kind for many.

The 11 shorts below screen at Cinema Nova May 23rd as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival and will expand your point of view and inspire you with their messages of perseverance, tolerance, and hope.

“True Vision” directed by Diana Fisk

Synopsis: “Two women on the opposite side of a diagnosis, “True Vision” is an exploration of how people deal with unexpected obstacles in their lives, and the perceptions that go hand in hand with diagnosis and disability.”

“Courage to Change” directed by Christian Buxton

Synopsis: “Carlo is talented surfer, skier and entrepreneur from Torquay with a beautiful wife and kids. From the outside his life appears to be the picture of happiness but the truth is Carlo has secretly struggled with depression for years. A house fire and and his business under threat will push him to finally reach for help.”

“MANUS” directed by Angus McDonald

Synopsis: “MANUS is a 13 minute documentary that shines a light on the plight hundreds of refugees & asylum seekers held captive offshore by the Australian Federal Government for over 6 years on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Hear the stories of the men on Manus in their own words from secretly captured footage.”

“Out of the Closets, Into the Streets” directed by Jary Nemo

Synopsis: “In 1970s Melbourne a group of students made a stand for gay pride at a time when homosexuality was criminalised and discrimination and abuse was widespread. When being gay meant hiding your true self. Where the act of coming out was a radical form of protest. “Out of the Closets, Into the Streets” explores the moment Melbourne’s gay and lesbian people found their voice through the Gay Liberation Movement. The story documents the moment gay and lesbian people took to the streets, coming out and proud and challenging the status quo.”

“Spirit” directed by Jane Dyson

Synopsis: “When Saraswati arrives as the first educated daughter-in-law in a Himalayan village, she wonders how she will ever feel at home. But faced with the skepticism of an older generation of women, she grows determined to succeed. As the village’s vibrant Pandav Lila festival approaches, this intimate film offers a window onto the daily work and spiritual practices that bind people to each other and the land. “Spirit” is an intimate story of longing and belonging from a remote community in the thralls of change.”

“Clay County” directed by Marcy McCall

Synopsis: “An award-winning documentary portrait of a rural county in the state of Georgia. Eighteen teenage boys attend a Male Awareness class sponsored by the school system where the dynamic instructor urges them to consider the honest lessons of Black American life. Shot in a cinema verité style, the camera follows the students on the bus, in the classroom, on the basketball court, and in the home of a student. This is life for what it is and not for what it symbolizes. Filmmaker Marcy McCall met the persons featured in the film during the 15-year period she lived in Georgia, where she worked for five years as a statewide education advocate.”

“Yellow” directed by Chris Franklin

Synopsis: “When Australian documentary photographer Andrew Chapman was invited to the Austin Hospital in Melbourne to photograph open heart surgery for TIME magazine, the transplant team in the operating theatre next door invited him to photograph them as well. Little did he know, this same surgical team would be saving his life 17 years later.”

“A Thousand Words Unspoken” directed by Derek Ho

Synopsis: “A Thousand Words Unspoken is a personal story about brotherly love and betrayal. It unpacks the reunion of two brothers Derek & Jeremiah, who took radically different paths in coming to terms with their sexual identities as gay men. Filmmaker Derek journeys back to Singapore in an attempt to disclose to Jeremiah a secret that has been deeply buried for the last thirty years.”

“After the Earthquake” directed by Mark Hellinger

Synopsis: “After the 2015 Nepalese earthquake thousands of houses were destroyed. Families were forced to build temporary housing to live in. Four years later nothing has changed. How do these people survive and what hope do they have?”

“A Woman’s Calling” directed by Ivy Staker

Synopsis: “Doomadgee women look beyond themselves, rekindling a sense of purpose by helping Papua New Guinea women in extreme poverty.”

“Hayat” directed by Rendah Haj

Synopsis: “Rahma, a single mother of four, encourages her children to maintain a strong sense of family, faith and cultural identity as she navigates personal difficulties and disconnect.”

See “Out of the Closets, Into the Streets” and “After the Earthquake” during Shorts Session 1 at Cinema Nova May 23rd as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. “Courage to Change” and “Spirit” can be seen in Shorts Session 2, “MANUS,” “True Vision,” and “Yellow” during Shorts Session 3, “A Thousand Words Unspoken,” Hayat,” and “A Woman’s Calling” in Shorts Session 4, and “Clay County” in Session 5. For more on MDFF, visit: