From July 1st – 31st audiences across Australia can stream some amazing documentaries online at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.
This year’s online lineup includes a dynamic selection of international documentaries that will challenge your perception and open your eyes to unique issues and inspiring figures ready to enlighten and sow the seeds of conversation.
Below we’ve highlighted 8 must-see documentaries you’ll want to add to your personal MDFF must-watch list. There are many incredible films to choose from and we encourage you to check out the full online program here.
“Big Fight in Little Chinatown” directed by Karen Cho
Synopsis: “All across the globe, Chinatowns are under threat of disappearing – and along with them, the rich history of communities who fought from the margins for a place to belong. Big Fight in Little Chinatown is a story of community resistance and resilience. Set against the backdrop of the COVID pandemic and an unprecedented rise in anti-Asian racism, the documentary takes us into the lives of residents, businesses and community organizers whose neighborhoods are facing active erasure.”
“American: An Odyssey to 1947” directed by Danny Wu
Synopsis: “In the early 1940s, director Orson Welles navigates his meteoric Hollywood rise. As WWII begins, a Japanese American boy visits abroad and an African American soldier enlists in the army. As the story heads towards 1947, each character follows their own ambitions in search of their American identity.”
“A Boy Called Piano: The Story of Fa’amoana ‘John’ Luafutu” directed by Nina Nawalowalo
Synopsis: “The remarkable story of Fa’amoana’s time as a state ward in the 1960’s and the intergenerational impacts of these experiences.”
“Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter” directed by Rebecca Halpern
Synopsis: “Charlie Trotter revolutionized American cuisine but his quest for excellence cost him everything. Featuring Grant Achatz, Emeril Lagasse, and Wolfgang Puck.”
“The Illusion of Abundance” directed by Erika Gonzalez Ramirez and Matthieu Lietaert
Synopsis: “Carolina, Bertha and Maxima are leading today’s fight against modern conquistadors. Whereas governments and corporations, trapped in a global race towards unlimited growth, need to get the cheapest raw materials, these three women tell us a story of tireless courage: how to keep fighting to protect nature when your life is at risk?”
“Chopin. I Am Not Afraid of Darkness” directed by Joanna Kaczmarek
Synopsis: “An inspiring story about three pianists preparing to perform Chopin’s work in places associated with conflict and unimaginable suffering: Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland, the border between South and North Korea, and the city centre of Beirut. You might not expect to hear live music in these locations but music and its healing powers might be exactly what those places need. What emotions will it trigger in those who hear it and those who perform it?”
“Eat Bitter” directed by Pascale Appora-Gnekindy and Ningyi Sun
Synopsis: “Against the backdrop of civil war in the Central African Republic, a Chinese construction manager and local African laborer work on opposite ends of the spectrum to construct a sparkling new bank. As deadlines loom, unexpected twists threaten their jobs, relationships, and plans for a better life.”
“Cover Your Ears” directed by Sean Patrick Shaul
Synopsis: “When does free expression become obscenity? From poignant protest songs to fluffy Top 40 hits, music has always defined our culture. With such a powerful influence on all aspects of society, the messages and themes portrayed by musicians have long been considered dangerous to some. This documentary looks at how the censorship of music has shaped not only how we view art and how it’s made but who we are as consumers and free-thinkers.”