A feast of short documentaries will screen this weekend in Melbourne.

The selections are from the 2020 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, which was previously held online due to COVID-19 but whose films now find their way to Cinema Nova May 23rd.

Art, music, and culture docs are aplenty. Below are 7 picks we think you should add to your viewing list.

“Africa on Air” directed by Tom Lowe – An immersive, joyous, and eyeopening documentary on African culture and music in Melbourne featuring Stani Goma.

Synopsis: “As a community radio presenter with one of the only African music shows in Australia, Stani Goma is at the epicentre of Melbourne’s African culture and society. Since arriving in Melbourne nearly 30 years ago, this position has allowed Stani to witness change within Melbourne’s African population while also giving him influence over the soundtrack to that change. “Africa on Air” uses Stani’s unique perspective to understand where African culture in Melbourne has come from and where it is headed. It allows the viewer to peer into the lives of the listeners; introducing a range of characters whose rationales for listening to the show frame some of the broader issues surrounding African identity in Melbourne.”

“Chen” directed by Orit Novak – An insightful and moving look at the life of Australian Ballet principal artist Chengwu Guo .

Synopsis: “From poverty to principal. A story about one of Australia’s most talented ballet dancers.”

“Superheroes & Me” co-directed by Liam Burke and Mark Hellinger – The illuminating world of superheroes and those who love them is explored in this endearing heart-filled doc, a must-watch for any comic fan.

Synopsis: “An affectionate portrait of the many ways that superheroes inspire us. With contributions from superhero stars, comic creators, and costume-clad fans, “Superheroes & Me” unmasks how these escapist fantasies can bring people together and provide hope in difficult times.”

The Art of Doodling directed by Nicola Macindoe – Some people are good at doodling and some people are beyond good at doodling. Quirky and revealing, all who appreciate the talent behind the doodle will find joy in this short doc.

Synopsis: “Three quirky artists examine the random, universal activity that is doodling, and ask the question – is it it art?”

“Stay Sharp” directed by Lauren Hester – A fascinating look at the Sharpie subculture from the music to the fashion and how it still resonates today. An outstanding watch that will bring back memories for many.

Synopsis: “Stay Sharp is a short documentary exploring Melbourne’s iconic and often misunderstood Sharpie subculture of the 1970s, focusing on its resurgence in recent decades.”

“Bernard’s Dream” directed by Mayeta Clark – An inspiring look at the importance of cultural tradition. Viewers will be entranced by Bernard Tipiloura’s telling of tribal history.

Synopsis: “Bernard Tipiloura has a dream: to bring back the once-famous canoe festival between Bathurst and Melville Islands. We follow Bernard as he sets about building a canoe with a group of young men in Wurrumiyanga. Bernard reminisces about the past, and tells us his vision for the future.”

“The Changing Art of Skylar Ru Silva” directed by Tom Vogel – A thoughtful and compelling look at the artist Skylar Ru Silva as he discusses his work and artistic process.

Synopsis: “Artist Skylar Ru Silva explains how he is obsessed with creating. In the process of creating he paints over old works and does not have the attachment to his work like some other artists. The process means more to him than the actual end piece.”

See “Africa on Air” and “Superheroes & Me” screening during Shorts Session 1 at Cinema Nova May 23rd as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. “The Art of Doodling,” “Stay Sharp,” and “The Changing Art of Skylar Ru Silva” will screen in Session 2. “Chen” and “Bernard’s Dream” can be seen during Shorts Session 3. For more information on MDFF, visit: mdff.org.au.

Updated 05/21/2021