Antenna Documentary Film Festival Opens Soon

Scott Wallace
3rd Oct 2016

With a program that challenges conceptions and conventions of the world around us, Antenna Documentary Film Festival will once again be screening the very best in non-fiction cinema, together with the Antenna doctalk series, tribute screenings, virtual reality program, special events and international guests. The festival launches in Sydney on Tuesday 11, continuing until Sunday 16 October, before heading interstate with a selection of ten film highlights of this year’s program to to Brisbane (26-30 Oct) and Melbourne (2-6 Nov).

This year may be Antenna’s most ambitious program yet, filled with 39 features from 18 countries, 14 shorts and 6 Virtual Reality experiences. The virtual reality experiences in particular are sure to offer attendees a new way of looking at the world around them.

With the evolution of technology, so too evolves the way in which we tell stories. Antenna, partnering with SBS and AFTRS, launches its exciting new strand: Horizons, which brings the very latest emerging technologies to audiences. The virtual reality exhibition features some of the best VR documentaries – including Easter Rising: The Voice Of A Rebel, where the audience steps into one man’s memories and journeys back to a moment that changed Ireland’s history forever – the 1916 Easter Rising.

The Festival opens with the joyous, yet emotional portrait of a man stuck between two worlds. The Charro of Toluqulla tells the story of Jaime Garcia—a mariachi singer and braggart who lives his life like a chauvinistic vintage Mexican movie character, but with one difference: he is HIV-positive. Both director Jose Vilalobos and the Charro - Jaime Garcia are guests of the Festival and will introduce the film at the Opening Night ceremony.

Antenna mixes confronting documentaries with powerful personal stories that push boundaries and ask the tough questions. The Age Of Consequences takes a terrifying look at the climate change conflict nexus through the lens of US national security and global instability, and ponders the potential links between climate change and war. On a more personal note, Uncle Howard is an elegy to the filmmaker’s uncle who passed away from AIDS on the brink of becoming an acclaimed filmmaker himself. With plentiful footage of William Burroughs, Jim Jarmusch and Madonna, this film captures the vibrant art and gay scene in 1980’s New York.

Local documentaries in competition at the festival present different portraits on aspects of Australian life and history. Servant or Slave, directed by award winning filmmaker Steven McGregor, is told through the heartbreaking experiences of five indigenous women whose experiences mirror those of many thousands of Aboriginal girls, stolen from their parents, placed in institutions, and trained to serve white households. Another film in competition, The Family sheds light on one of Australia’s most notorious cults led by Anne Hamilton-Byrne: a beautiful, charismatic woman convinced she was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.

In partnership with the MCA, Art Docs is another new strand at this year’s festival, giving insight into some of the greatest creators of the last century. Burden, is a probing portrait of Chris Burden, a performance artist who pushed the limits of creative expression and risked his life in the name of art, while Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art unearths the aesthetic and intellectual motivations behind the land art movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Internationally revered Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who died in July this year, has created some of the most inventive and transcendent cinema of the past thirty years and this year, Antenna celebrates his life with a special screening of his most daring work, Close-Up. Another tribute in this year program is dedicated to Chantal Akerman, one of the boldest artists and visionaries of the 20th Century, with three special screenings that capture her aesthetically idiosyncratic approach to filmmaking including One Day Pina Asked…, an intimate collaboration between Akerman and choreographer Pina Bausch.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Tickets start at $16 for a concession, with full-priced tickets being $19.50. There are also multi-film packs available starting at $85 for 5 films, or $155 for 10 films.