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Antenna Documentary Film Festival

Press Release Date: 7th September 2015

Antenna Documentary Film Festival Announces Full 2015 Program

Screening in Sydney from Tuesday 13 to Sunday 18 October, the Antenna Documentary Film Festival with its full program.

Antenna Documentary Film Festival Announces Full 2015 Program

Screening in Sydney from Tuesday 13 to Sunday 18 October, the Antenna Documentary Film Festival today announces its full program.

With 47 films from 21 countries, Antenna celebrates

its fifth year – bringing Sydneysiders the very best documentaries from Australia and around the world. From culturally confronting documentaries, innovative in style and exceptional in form, to emotionally evoking films, Antenna promises a festival with the richest and most diverse line-up yet.

"We have watched almost a thousand films in the last few months to select what I believe is a great representation of the most exciting films showing currently on the international circuit,” said Festival Director David Rokach.

Antenna kicks off Opening Night with the Australian premiere of Venice Film Festival winner On the Bride’s Side. A film that sounds like a romantic Euro-comedy as conceived by foreign policy reporters, Italian journalists disguise their Palestinian and Syrian refugee friends as a wedding party, then spirit them across Europe to asylum in Sweden. This emotionally charged journey juxtaposes the harsh system refugees face against the bravery and compassion of the journalists, who risked prison sentences in their attempts to get everyone to safety.

Another very topical film is the Hot Docs 2015 winner Warriors from the North offers chilling insight into the current trend of Western Muslim youth joining radical groups abroad. The film follows a father’s desperate

attempt to extract his son from Al-Shabab and bring him home, as well as a young Somali-born Dane whose two close friends killed themselves in suicide attacks in Mogadishu. Enlightening and agonising, the film’s subjects talk openly about religion, family, social isolation and culture shock.

As promised, Antenna brings its audiences a series of confronting documentaries through first-hand accounts. One of the Australian competition films this year, Molly Reynolds’ Another Country offers a personal account of the clash between Indigenous culture and government policy, with the help of legendary actor David Gulpilil. In Racing Extinction, Louie Psihoyos, Oscar-winning director of The Cove, urges audiences to join his mission to save the ocean. Using hidden cameras, Psihoyos exposes the illegal underground trade in endangered aquatic species, revealing the realities of mass extinction's impending doom.

Featuring the eminent and insightful intellectual Noam Chomsky, Requiem for the American Dream mourns the death of America’s egalitarianism with the deliberate concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the affluent. Filmed over four years, it captures Chomsky’s wisdom on the continuing erosion of America’s democracy, their capitalist system putting them on the leaderboard in terms of


Antenna keeps pushing boundaries with two films delving into private spaces. The Cult of JT Leroy follows the story of its mysterious literary namesake. Captivating readers and celebrities alike with a gritty memoir of his teen prostitution and heroin addiction, JT Leroy was catapulted to literary stardom at 19 years of age. But lurking just beneath the pages was a secret that would snowball into a scandal of grand proportions. The Ground We Won, on the other hand, is the story of a Kiwi town’s rugby team of farmers and their determination to redeem themselves after a series of bitter losses. With unprecedented access into men’s sacred spaces and rituals, the film offers refreshing insight into male sporting culture and the hierarchy, humour and debauchery it entails.

An example of soulful documentary filmmaking, Thank You For Playing is a portrait of how people deal with grief using technology in the 21st Century. The film follows father and game developer Ryan Green, who creates a video game to communicate the experience of his son’s diagnosis and failed treatment of terminal cancer. While programming provides him with an avenue to cope with his grief, the game ironically and painfully duplicates his anguish.

Antenna invites audiences to toast the 2000-year-old tradition of artisanal sake-making in foodie favourite

The Birth of Sake. Documenting the dying art, it unveils the meticulous approach employed by the Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned brewery in Northern Japan. The film tracks the team of men, led by a veteran brewmaster, through the six-month sake-making season as they work to keep the 2,000-year-old tradition alive.

Music’s universal eminence is celebrated through three powerful films from different countries. B-Movie: Lust and Sound in West-Berlin revisits the vibrant music and arts scene of 1980s West Berlin, where the city was like a B-movie – ugly and poor, but wild, creative and incredibly sexy. No Land’s Song follows the story of an Iranian female composer’s rebellious act to perform solo in public, which has been banned since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. A political thriller and at the same time a musical journey, this film never loses sight of its real centre: the female voice. Finally, Dominguinhos is an evocative and sensual portrait of legendary Brazilian composer, accordionist and singer Joseì Domingos de Morais, or Dominguinhos, chronicling his life, loves and music.

The occasionally surreal, frequently outrageous film The Sandwich Nazi follows deli owner Salam Kahlil; art collector, former male escort, amateur musician, and Lebanese-Canadian sandwich maker. In the midst of a documentary overflowing with dick jokes, other parts of his life emerge – compassion,

philanthropy and a painful secret that runs under his affable exterior. This heartfelt and humorous film is bound to captivate audiences just when they least expect it.

The festival will culminate with the this year’s Sundance and SXSW hit Finders Keepers, preceded by announcing awards for Best International Feature Documentary, Best Australian Feature Documentary and Best Australian Short.

For tickets and more information, visit www.antennafestival.org


Tuesday 13 to Sunday 18 October 2015

Palace Verona – 17 Oxford Street, Paddington
Chauvel Cinema – 249 Oxford St, Paddington (Cnr Oxford St & Oatley Rd)

Museum of Contemporary Art – 140 George St, The Rocks

General Admission – Adult $19, Concession $16
Multi Passes – 5 films: $85, 10 films: $150