The 2016 Antenna Documentary Film Festival in Sydney, Australia, revealed a preview of the lineup, showcasing a fascinating mix of twelve documentary films set to screen at the festival which runs Tuesday October 11 to Sunday October 16, 2016.
The Festival opens with Jose Villalobos’ emotional portrait of a man stuck between two worlds. The Charro of Toluquilla tells the story of Jaime Garcia—a mariachi singer and braggart who lives his life like a chauvinistic vintage Mexican movie character, but with one difference: he is HIV-positive. Jose Villalobos will be a guest of the Festival to introduce his moving film at Opening Night.
Closing the Festival is a heart-warming family road movie, A Present from the Past. The film follows a father-daughter trip to Rome, documented through hidden cameras, to find a long lost love with only a three-decade-old address.
The explosive documentary City 40 sounds like a dystopian sci-fi story: residents of a walled town enjoy a high standard of living in a chilling pact that sees them growing sicker by the day from radiation poisoning. Except it’s a reality, occurring in City 40 – a Russian town and home to a stockpile of nuclear materials.
A film set to have audiences squirming in their seats is Bugs, which follows two adventurous food researchers from René Redzepi’s (NOMA) experimental Nordic Food Lab, exploring the culinary value and environmental benefits of eating insects – said to be the future of food.
Another film that delves into the impact humans are having on the environment is The Islands and the Whales. Set in the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic where the isolated community has hunted seabirds and whales for generations, the community wonders how long this tradition can last as the global environmental crisis reaches their shores. To make matters worse the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society parachutes in with Pamela Anderson in tow, bringing a well-intentioned yet culturally imperialist critique of the locals’ way of life.
Mother with a Gun is an Australian film having its World Premiere at the Festival and follows Shelley Rubin, leader of the Jewish Defense League. Once America’s most active terrorist organization, the JDL, aims to prevent another Holocaust by any means necessary. Here, the threat of genocide lingers and preventative violence is justified. The filmmakers have been granted privileged access to Rubin, untangling her past and present to expose this unusual pathway to extremism.
Offering a new angle on a well-known political drama Bobby Sands: 66 Days utilizes reconstructions, archival material and key interviews to weave together a riveting exposition of the 1981 Maze Prison hunger strike in Ireland. Cinefiles will remember the story of Bobby Sands from Michael Fassbender’s Oscar nominated role in Hunger, however this documentary powerfully and personally expands on the story using excerpts from Sands’ own evocative prison diary.
Internationally revered Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who died in July this year, has created some of the most inventive and transcendent cinema of the past thirty years and this year, Antenna celebrates his life with a special screening of his most daring work, Close-Up (1990). This fiction-documentary uses a sensational real-life event—the arrest of a young man on charges that he fraudulently impersonated the well-known filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf—as the basis for a multilayered investigation into cinema, identity, artistic creation, and existence, in which the real people from the case play themselves.
Other films announced include: Troublemakers: The Story Of Land Art, Gary Numan: Android In La La Land, Starless Dreams and Behemoth by the acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhao Liang.