Antenna, Australia’s leading international non-fiction film festival, today unveils its full program for 2024. Featuring 52 of the most creative, thought-provoking documentaries from around the globe, over the course of 11 days, Antenna is set to turn Sydney into a doc-lovers paradise from 9–19 February 2024.
“I am very proud of this lineup as a whole,” said Festival Director Dudi Rokach. “Each documentary is imaginative, cinematic and provocative and I believe together they demonstrate the endless potential of documentary cinema in the hands of a great filmmaker”.
Opening the festival is the Australian Premiere of Tribeca Film Festival winner The Gullspång Miracle. The consistently surprising and funny film follows two pious sisters who buy an apartment after having witnessed a divine sign – only to realise that the seller looks identical to their other sister, who committed suicide some thirty years before. What starts as a story of family reunification, turns into a stranger-than-fiction mystery-drama.
In a new exciting partnership with the Sydney Opera House, Antenna will close the festival with the Australian Premiere of the highly anticipated Ryuichi Sakamoto | Optus, a concert film that captures Sakamoto’s last performance. A celebration of an artist’s life in the purest sense, this is the definitive swan song of the beloved maestro.
Fresh from TIFF and IDFA, Antenna will hold the Australian Premiere of The World is Family by the acclaimed documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, who will attend the festival as a special guest. Anand’s explorations of social and political life have earned him both festival awards and government bans. In The World is Family, his most personal film yet, he paints a portrait of his parents, whose families were intertwined with Gandhi and India’s independence movement.
Other Australian Premieres of new films by celebrated directors, including Wang Bing’s Youth(Spring), Werner Herzog’s Theatre of Thought, Claire Simon’s Our Body and Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney’s new filmIn Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon.
In a world shaped increasingly by urgent and complex conflicts, Antenna’s film selection offers audiences an opportunity to delve beyond the headlines into the raw, personal narratives that define our times. Bye Bye Tiberias takes us on an intimate journey through Palestine, where actress Hiam Abbass (Succession) after a 30-year absence, navigates the fragmented memories of generations of resilient Palestinian women. In contrast, the Oscar-frontrunner 20 Days in Mariupol presents a harrowing, firsthand account of the siege in Ukraine, capturing the unyielding spirit of those caught in the crossfire. Complementing these narratives, The Invisible Nation offers unprecedented access to Taiwan’s sitting head of state; director Vanessa Hope investigates the election and tenure of Tsai Ing-wen, the first female president of Taiwan.
Other international highlights include:
Somewhere on the internet is a land where communities pretend to live out a survivalist fiction. The avatars of the directors of Knit’s Island spent 963 hours there. The ‘players’ reveal their fears and fantasies, in an at times unsettling blurring of the real and the virtual.
In her entertaining and refreshingly unfiltered film, filmmaker D. Smith passes the mic to four Black transgender sex workers in NYC, who unapologetically break down the walls of their profession. Holding nothing back, the film vibrates with energy, sex, challenge, and hard-earned wisdom.
The latest from Midnight Family director Luke Lorentzen follows Mati, a chaplain completing a year-long hospital residency, as she learns to provide spiritual care to people confronting profound life changes. Through Mati’s experiences we gain new perspectives on how meaningful connection can be and how painful its absence is.
Three Australian feature documentaries and 12 Australian shorts will also screen at the festival, including Abebe – Butterfly Song, about musical legacy and enduring friendship between celebrated Papuan musician George Telek and Australian musician David Bridieof the groups Not Drowning, Waving and My Friend the Chocolate Cake and David McBride: Declassified about the story of war crime whistleblower David McBride.
Antenna will welcome to Sydney John Wilson, the brilliant young filmmaker behind the hit HBO show How To With John Wilson. His show stands out as one of the most genuinely inspired, oddball, and sneakily affecting works in contemporary TV, a small miracle in today’s mainstream entertainment landscape. Late last year, Wilson was invited by the prestigious Anthology Film Archives in New York to guest-curate a special series titled ‘John Wilson Selects’, featuring a variety of films that have influenced or inspired him. At Antenna, he will present a version of this series and will hold a special masterclass discussing his unique stylistic approach to filmmaking.
Away from the cinema, Antenna DocTalk – a day of industry talks and masterclasses – will once again take place, this time at the State Library of NSW, with talks from a range of leading international and Australian industry figures. During the day guests will address questions such as what do filmmakers need to be conscious of when making films about indigenous topics, and what are the current different creative approaches to sound in non-fiction cinema.
The 12th edition of the Antenna Documentary Film Festival opens Friday February 9th in Sydney and runs until Monday February 19th. For complete program information and to purchase tickets and festival passes, go to www.antennafestival.org
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