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Early favorites from the 2023 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

The Melbourne Doc Fest each year curates world class features direct from some of the hottest most prestigious documentary film festivals in the world such as Sundance, Raindance, Slamdance, Sheffield Doc Fest, Hot Docs, Venice Film Festival, New Zealand International Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival Doc NYC, SXSW, Doc Edge, CPH:Dox and IDFA. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of our favorite shorts taking their name to the stage this year.

The Miami Vice Incident

Directed by Tim Kirk, the seemingly innocuous backdrop of an episode of Miami Vice sets the stage for The Miami Vice Incident, a film that investigates a family rift spanning 35 years. The power of television to inform, entertain, and also disrupt is examined in this intriguing documentary, with the lens focused on the deeply personal impact of a cultural artifact, and how it continues to reverberate through a family’s narrative.

Kuyata’s Country

Kuyata’s Country Is a touching and visually stunning journey that follows Audrey Kuyata Stewart, the last speaker of her language, Lower Southern Arrernte. In this compelling documentary, Audrey, with quiet determination and gentle wisdom, imparts her ancestral knowledge of Country and language to her nephew, Richie Aitken, and his family who reside over 1000km away in Adelaide. 

This film is an ode to connection – a tender celebration of culture, Country, and familial ties, reminding us that even across vast distances and over time, the spirit of one’s ancestry endures.

Ink Train 

This beautiful film was directed by Olly Sindle. On the surface, Ink Train is about tattoos and commuting. But beneath, it is a touching exploration of humanity’s shared experiences and interconnectedness. 

Director Olly Sindle brilliantly transforms a typical train commute into a canvas of self-expression and storytelling, capturing intimate reflections from passengers about their lives through the language of their tattoos. As the world redefines work and commuting in the face of Covid, this film provides a fresh perspective on the meaningful connections that exist beneath the surface of everyday encounters.

Billboard Squad 

Directed by Cat Mills, this film is a battle for public space. It follows the tenacious Torontonian Dave Meslin, as he rallies against the illegal billboards encroaching upon his beloved city. 

The film paints a captivating portrait of the struggle between the average citizen and corporate giants, the bureaucracy that stands in the way, and the impact of activist life on personal mental health. It’s a rallying cry for the reclaiming of public spaces and a testimony to the unwavering spirit of community activism.

Letters To Anxiety

In Letters To Anxiety, William Balme, the son of Australian Rules Football legend Neil Balme, pens heartfelt letters to his anxiety. This raw, revealing documentary not only explores the emotional turmoil of growing up in the shadow of a famous father but also delves into the broader struggles of young adults battling their own mental health demons. 

Through intimate accounts from William and others of his generation, Letters To Anxiety encourages a candid dialogue about mental health, both on and off the sporting field, and advocates for stronger support networks amongst peers and loved ones.


Which one of these do you believe will make it to the Oscars? Let us know below!

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