(Broadwayworld.com, Melbourne, Australia.)
Without remaining in the slipstream of the film festivals out of which Melbourne Documentary Film Festival extracts some of its highlights (TIFF, Tribeca, Hot Docs, DOC NYC, and such likes), the fourth edition of this young though quite well-known film event in the circuit promises also to add again its own line-up of discoveries. Nine feature documentaries picked up by Netflix, while other nine Feature documentaries that became Oscar eligible were screened previously at MDFF. Only 2018 saw four feature documentaries of its official selection make the Oscar longlist, one of the highest of any documentary-only film festival in Australia.
A rough look into the 2020 program grid boasts more than hundred documentary films, shorts and features.
Among them, there are three films that were awarded or premiered at DOC LA (the Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival curated by the Parajanov-Vartanov Institute): “Ballad for a righteous merchant”, directed by Herbert Goldberg, featuring Werner Herzog, ‘American Mirror: Intimations of Immortality”, featuring Susan Sarandon, directed by Arthur Balder (winner also of the Parajanov-Vartanov Award 2018), and “Pain is Mine”, directed by Farshid Akhlaghi. Another film festival located on the US west coast out of which MDFF seems to have drained inspiration is the American Documentary Film Festival. Six of the movies selected by MDFF premiered there, among them “David’s Way”, by Tom Donahue, “The Beeman”, by Frances Elliott and Samantha Marlowe, the provocative “For Your Consideration”, by Patrick Green, “Chasing A Million”, by Albert Klein Haneveld and Stefan Egberts. Four films had premiered internationally at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, among them “Thursday Fields” by Harry Zernike, “Pariah Dog” by Jesse Alk, “Right to Harm” by Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher. The line-up reveals six movies that had premiered at DOC NYC, while two of them had made it so at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the number of films from Slamdance, Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, Tribeca Film Festival and others do not rises over two films each, while from DOX:CPH only one film made it into the MDFF official selection.
Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, whose director is Lyndon Stone, has established a good and rising international reputation in a short period of time, as some of the specialized magazines have recognized of late, becoming the port of entry for international documentary productions into the Australian arena. Three times now, it has been rated as a Top 100 Film Festival on submission platforms well audited and has consistently been ranked in the top 2% of the over 6,000 film festival in the world over the last 3 years.
The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is currently rated as the Documentary Film Festival of the Year (2018) by FilmDaily and named Top Documentary Film Festival in the Southern Hemisphere on Guide Doc. It premieres, screens and showcases more quality local Australian and International documentaries each year than any other documentary only film festival in Australia and gives more talented Indie Filmmakers a chance to compete and screen to a big, receptive audience in Melbourne, Australia.