Realise the Possible with the Castlemaine Documentary Festival in July

This July, we will celebrate the connection between filmmakers, films and audiences and the lure of documentary storytelling at the 2022 Castlemaine Documentary Festival (C-Doc) in the heart of regional Victoria on Dja Dja Wurrung country.

The Festival, now in its eighth year, will run from 1-3 July at the iconic Theatre Royal in Castlemaine, mainland Australia’s oldest continuously operating cinema. In this intimate, “real-world” setting, we will celebrate diversity and profile the important issues of our time, from the local to the global.

Festival Director, Claire Jager says, “For the past two years the Castlemaine Documentary Festival has continued to experiment with hybrid forms of delivery, through challenging circumstances. Finally, with a renewed sense of purpose, we will make the Theatre Royal sing with true stories about people who create change, who are driven to rebel, to reveal, and to live their authentic life. They help us to see what is possible.

“This year we take great delight in bringing you an outstanding selection of eight Australian and international feature-length films. Each film will be followed by stimulating panel discussions and conversations and viewers will have the chance to engage with filmmakers, panellists and other festival-goers. All films will also be available to view online.”

Sunday 3 July coincides with NAIDOC Week and C-Doc is proud to have The Lake Of Scars, a ground-breaking Australian documentary dealing with the challenges of reconciliation as part of the program. As Special Festival Guests we are delighted to welcome Uncle Jack Charles and Ngarra Murray alongside the film’s director Bill Code.

We are also thrilled to have Australian director Jeff Daniels (Television Event) as a Special Festival Guest.

To view C-Doc’s program and to purchase tickets, visit https://cdocff.com.au/


Letters from Baghdad (Australian festival premier)

Letters from Baghdad tells the extraordinary and dramatic story of Gertrude Bell (voiced here by Tilda Swinton), the most powerful woman in the British Empire in her day. Bell shaped the destiny of Iraq after World War I in ways that still reverberate today. More influential than her friend and colleague T.E.Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia), yet virtually written out of the history that she helped make.

With unique access to the vaults of Iraq’s National Library and Archive and Bell’s own 1600 letters, the story is told entirely in the words of the players of the day, excerpted verbatim from intimate letters, private diaries and secret communiqués transporting us into her daily life. Much of the extraordinary footage had been shot more a century ago – the era of the birth of cinema – and been buried in storage. It depicts a truly vanished world – a vibrant mosaic where peoples of different ethnicities and religions mingled energetically on the streets. A unique look at both a remarkable woman and the tangled history of Iraq.

Writing with Fire

Winner of 30 international awards and nominated for Best Documentary at this year’s Academy Awards in addition to receiving the 2022 Sundance Audience Award and Special Jury Award: Impact for Change.

Writing with Fire is a rousing documentary about tenacious grassroots reporting and galvanising resistance. Armed with smartphones and tenacity, a fearless group of trailblazing journalists from India’s only women-led news outlet risk it all, including their own safety, to confront social injustice while fighting for marginalised voices in the world’s largest democracy. Reporting from a social environment built to divide based on caste and gender, and in a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women – the ‘untouchable’ cast. Chief reporter Meera and her journalists battle personal and political challenges to break traditions and hold those responsible for injustice to account, redefining what it means to be powerful.

Television Event (Victorian premier)

With irreverent humour and sobering apocalyptic vision, Television Event views the dramatic climax of the Cold War through the lens of a commercial television network, as it narrowly succeeds in producing the most watched, most controversial made-for-TV movie, The Day After (1983).

A treasure trove of archive and behind-the-scenes ‘making-of’ footage create atmosphere, context and an impressively comprehensive portrait of what happened and its impact when a commercial broadcaster made an emotional connection with an audience of over 100 million and forced an urgent conversation with the US President on how to collectively confront and resolve the most pressing issue of the time – nuclear proliferation.

The Rumba Kings

Congo’s real treasure does not lie underground. A powerful musical experience showing us why Congo is one of the motherlands of music.

The Rumba Kings celebrates the epic quest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an African nation that fought colonial oppression, found freedom, and forged a new identity through music and created the electrifying beat of Congolese rumba. A beat that would carry Congo through its independence and conquer the entire African continent with its infectious groove, captivating guitar licks, and smooth vocals.

Rebellion (Australian premier)

The compelling story of a group of ordinary people who form the Extinction Rebellion and stop playing by the rules, embrace civil disobedience and sound the alarm to climate breakdown.

From Extinction Rebellion’s launch in 2018, we follow those at the centre as they navigate the highs and lows of crashing into the status quo – and each other. Unlikely allies, from an international climate lawyer to an organic vegetable farmer, strive to work together.

A nuanced and complicated film that will encourage audiences to leave behind preconceived notions of activism and recognise the challenges we all face. Rebellion crucially tells a story about the health of democracy.

Watch the trailer here

I am Samuel (Australian premier)

Samuel grew up in the Kenyan countryside, where tradition is valued above all else. He is close to his mother but his father, a local pastor, doesn’t understand why he isn’t married yet. After moving to Kenya’s capital in search of work and a new life, Samuel falls in love with Alex and finds community and belonging. Their love thrives despite the fact that Kenyan laws criminalize anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+. Despite threats of violence and rejection, Samuel and Alex move between their co-existing worlds, hoping to win acceptance in both.

An intimate and tender portrait of a Kenyan man torn between balancing duty to his family and their traditions – and wanting to live his truth – of openness about his sexuality along with his dreams for his future with Alex, the man he loves.

The Lake of Scars

An ancient site, a ticking clock and the unlikely allies calling for change.

In a corner of regional Victoria is Lake Boort, a place of astounding natural beauty and rare archaeological and environmental significance – and it’s being degraded on an annual basis. As the clock ticks, an unlikely partnership could see it saved for future generations.

‘Hosted’ by beloved Dja Dja Wurrung actor Uncle Jack Charles in a unique ‘in-cinema’ role, and including Jida Gulpilil – son of legendary actor, David – who brings his own flavour to his mother’s country, The Lake of Scars details the relationship between an ageing white farmer and members of Victoria’s Yung Balug clan of the Dja Dja Wurrung as they seek to protect Australia’s largest collection of scarred trees.

River

A breathtaking musical odyssey that explores the intrinsic relationship between humans and rivers. From mountain high to river deep, director Jennifer Peedom follows her 2017 hit Mountain with a stunning new cine-sonic journey along the world’s waterways – the arteries of our planet.

Alongside co-director Joseph Nizeti and working again with her Mountain collaborators

– narrator William Dafoe, writer Robert Macfarlane and the Australian Chamber

Orchestra’s Richard Tognetti – Peedom has crafted another breathtaking visual and musical odyssey, this time spanning six continents. Featuring sublime on-the-ground, aerial and satellite cinematography, this rousing, propulsive film is set to a soundtrack that includes the music of Bach, Vivaldi, Ravel and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Tognetti’s original compositions, and vocals by award-winning Kalkadunga musician William Barton.

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