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The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is finally here

What happens when Stephen King, Annie Lennox, Werner Herzog, Iggy Pop, Arthur Agee, and the Vincent Motorcycle meld together under a common theme? You get the authoritative and celebratory eighth edition of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.

Let’s take a look at all the details in store for the next generation of documentary filmmaking.

New generation

Spanning the month of July 2023, this festival presents a brilliant mosaic of over fifty Australian documentaries, coupled with an impressive array of international documentaries, offering a cinematic carnival like no other. 

World-renowned festivals such as Hot Docs, Doxa, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Tribeca, Karloff Varly Film Festival, Sundance, and more have contributed to this astonishing assembly of films. Among the glittering lineup of documentaries are films written, directed, produced, and narrated by stars, such as Cinema Nova’s darling Robert Pattinson.

New details

From the first day of July, you can enjoy the festival online. But if you crave that unmistakable scent of popcorn and the hum of anticipation that comes with the theatre experience, mark your calendars for 21st to 30th July 2023, when Cinema Nova comes alive with the festival’s in-person screenings.

On July 21st, 2023, at 6.20pm, the festival unfurls with “Dig Deeper,” a film by Mark Street. Four Aboriginal artists use personal tales and historical injustices as their creative fuel, birthing urban art that’s recognized on an international scale.

The festival will draw to a close on 30th July 2023, at 6.30pm, with “The Trust Fall: Julian Assange”, a gripping documentary directed by Kym Stanton.

The history

Rewind back to 2016, and the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival (MDFF) was merely a fledgling initiative aimed at broadening the spectrum of the documentary genre, transforming it from an esoteric niche into a fresh, innovative, and inclusive medium for everyone.

Fast forward to today, nearly half a decade later, and the documentary genre has become one of the highest rated draws on television and in cinemas, a trend driven largely by streaming platforms like Netflix

Music documentaries now play in local bars and clubs around Melbourne, while double features light up the screens of the local cineplexes. A vibrant documentary scene has emerged in Melbourne, with the MDFF playing a small yet pivotal role in its evolution.

The future

Each year, MDFF curates world-class features directly from some of the most prestigious documentary film festivals worldwide 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. 

The event regularly features documentaries directed, produced, narrated by, or starring celebrities like Madonna, Anjelica Huston, Kevin Smith, Grace Jones, and many more. Over the years, the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival has become a unique gem in the festival scene. 

Despite being relatively young, it’s quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most respected and thought-provoking festivals worldwide. By curating features from globally prestigious showcases, MDFF provides a leading platform for the most creative nonfiction films of the day.


Which films do you think have what it takes to make it to the Oscars? Let us know in the comments!

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