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Entries in Film Festival (36)

Wednesday
Aug072019

NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND: FIVE TO BOOK FIRST FROM SUFF 2019

The Sydney Underground Film Festival enters its teenage phase; the 13th annual festival of warped, wicked celluloid is set to unnerve and entertain from September 12-15. The tone is set from Session 1, with ageing enfant terrible Harmony Korinne’s raucous celebration of self-medication The Beach Bum, starring Matthew McConnaughey-hey-hey, set to open the festivities, complete with skank-scented smoke machines (yeah, that’s right). There is a myriad of alternative content on offer - 23 narrative features, 12 documentaries and 45 short films, as well as strands dedicated Virtual Reality, Nigerian cinema and splendidly splattery no-budget effects wizardry.

But if you need your mind quickly blown, just where should you focus your secret, sordid cravings for the offbeat and unusual? SCREEN-SPACE zeroed in on five features from the 2019 SUFF line-up that may satiate those urges, for a while at least…

BRAID (Dir. Mitzi Peirone | 82mins | USA)
Program Prose: A candy-coloured, hallucinogen-fueled lunacy binge, (debut director Mitzi perone) makes one hell of a first impression, applying
a dizzying sense of dream logic and an uncompromisingly feminist edge to a Gothic, almost fairy tale-like psychological horror.
Critical Condition: “What sort of mind would concoct something this peculiar and undeniably personal, and fill it with gaslighting, torment, torture, disfigurement, murder, slapstick, and scenes of adults playing dress-up like kids? I came away feeling that I'd seen, if not a major film, then a film by major talents.” – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
Screen-Space thinking…: Buzz is this is a stylistic companion piece to Anna Biller’s The Love Witch, with narrative echoes of The Killing of Sister George and Daughters of Darkness. Tick, tick and tick…

Mope Trailer from LUCAS HEYNE on Vimeo.

MOPE (Dir. Lucas Heyne | 105mins | USA)
Program Prose: In the world of pornography,
the term ‘mope’ refers to a low-level, wannabe porn actor who perhaps isn’t quite well endowed or attractive enough to achieve the success granted to “bigger”-name porn stars…Heyne crawls right under the skin of this grimy landscape, crafting a melancholy portrait of two misguided souls seeking love and acceptance, just like the rest of us.
Critical Condition: “Mope is a ballsy movie.” – Kyle Brunet, Boston Hassle
Screen-Space thinking…: Full disclosure – pornography and the machinations that produces it hold an ugly allure; it is why I am drawn over and over to not only Boogie Nights, but also sad, sickly tales like Auto Focus, Lovelace, Inserts and Wonderland. Critics are citing the very human connection that Heyne draws from his characters, which is something new for this sub-genre…. 

GREENER GRASS (Dir. Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe | 95mins | USA)
Program Prose: Eschewing all decorum and boundaries, Greener Grass mercilessly shreds all the institutions western society holds dear… this deranged lovechild of John Waters and Tim & Eric grows more inappropriate, unhinged, and surreal by the frame.
Critical Condition: “It’s basically the best ‘Saturday Night Live’ movie that Saturday Night Live never made, and if Lorne Michaels were half the talent scout we believe, he’d hire both DeBoer and Luebbe on the spot.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
Screen-Space thinking…: Skewering the faux morality and middle-class nightmare that is American suburbia is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but when the filmmakers go for broke and the satire is razor-sharp, film classics are born (Blue Velvet; American Beauty; The Graduate). Fingers-crossed…

THE WOLF HOUSE (Dir. Joaquín Cociña, Cristóbal León| 75mins | Chile)
Program Prose: Inspired by the infamous Colonia Dignidad, a German commune that doubled as a clandestine torture camp under Augusto Pinochet, The Wolf House distils the horrors of history into a hellish folktale… a dark, compelling, enigmatic puzzle box of a film that will continue to burrow deep into your subconscious long after the credits roll.
Critical Condition: “Sometimes reminiscent of an Eraserhead-style Lynchian nightmare turned into sculpture, paintings and stop-motion, beasts become human, a body forms out of a head like something out of science fiction, and inside every constrained girl is an eager bird desperate to fly free.” – Sarah Ward, Screen Daily
Screen-Space thinking…: The burning passion for ground-breaking animated storytelling that defines the brilliant career of Jan Svankmajer is a clear influence. Good enough for us…

USE ME (Dir. Julian Shaw | 91mins | Australia)
Program Prose: Australian filmmaker Julian Shaw (as himself) travels to the United States to direct a documentary featuring ‘mental humiliatrix’ Ceara Lynch (as herself)… what was meant to
 be entertainment becomes a matter of life and death.
Critical Condition: “A sort of post-truth thriller which feels deeply era appropriate and cleverly engages with its subject matter.” – Anthony O’Connor, FilmInk.
Screen-Space thinking…: Shaw has demonstrated with his past docos (Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story, 2007; Cup of Dreams, 2011) that he’s a deft hand at first-person factual filmmaking. He inserts himself into the narrative he constructs about his real-life subject, which is creatively fraught with risk, yet finds unexpected insight and honesty. He makes really interesting films…

The 2019 Sydney Underground Film Festival will be held at The Factory Theatre, Marrickville from September 12-15. Session and ticket information is at the event's official website.

Friday
May312019

PREVIEW: 2019 REVELATION PERTH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

When the minds behind Perth’s fearless international film soiree Revelation announced that their 2019 event would take us to another dimension…well, none of us doubted they could pull it off. The festival that has pushed the creative envelope since its formation in a Perth jazz club in 1997 as a 16mm showcase has never baulked at embracing cinema’s cutting edge.

Right now, that cutting edge new dimension is the world of the virtual, immersive movie reality and Revelation will be presenting one of the most extensive programs of the latest tech that Australian audiences have ever seen. From July 6 to 14, the specialised strand XR:WA will unveil sessions of Virtual Reality and augmented visual experiences, live team VR gameplay, workshops, talks, screenings and 360 degree films. Says respected Festival Director Richard Sowada, “It is a truly innovative program structured around ideas of possibility and opportunity”. (Pictured, below; a scene from the 360 degree film, Rone)

The 22nd Revelation Perth International Film Festival will unspool in its entirety from July 4th, with the Opening Night honours falling to Scandi director Thomas Vinterberg’s true-life submarine thriller, Kursk. In its wake will be a roster of 144 films, including 18 world and international premieres and 60 Australian premieres. “Film is often said to be in crisis, that people don’t go to the movies,” says Program Director Jack Sargeant, “but this isn’t our experience. Cinema remains a living medium; our audiences, and the local film communities, serve as a testament to the power of watching film.”

One of Australia’s premiere curators, Sargeant cites a typically eclectic mix as his personal 2019 favourites – Luke Lorentzen’s riveting Mexico City-set verite-doc Midnight Family; the gripping jungle-set child-soldier thriller Monos, from Brazilian Alejandro Landes; James Newitt’s remote survivalist/existential drama I Go Further Under; the racially-charged small-town coming-of-age drama Savage Youth, from filmmaker Michael Johnson; Memory The Origins of Alien, the latest deconstructionist essay on filmmaking by Alexandre O. Phillipe (The People vs George Lucas, 2010; 78/52, 2017); and, Letters to Paul Morrissey, an anthology love letter to the longtime Andy Warhol collaborator.

In addition to his opening night choice, Richard Sowada has favoured All the Gods in the Sky, mono-monikered French director Quarxx’s unsettling mash-up of drama, horror, fantasy and sci fi; documentarian Chris Martin’s thrilling profile of renowned war correspondent Marie Colvin, Under the Wire; the Indian/Swedish co-production Tumbbad (pictured, below), hailed a folk-horror masterpiece after its Best Film win at genre fest Sitges; and, Viktor Kossokovsky’s Aquarela, a rapturous ode to the might and magnificence of the globe’s most precious resource.

The Festival Director’s other favourite is Aaron Schimberg’s stirring, unique and deeply involving film-within-a-film narrative, Chained for Life. Direct from its official placement at the London Film Festival, Schimberg’s work stars Adam Pearson as the malformed star of a B-horror pic who falls for his stunning leading lady. Pearson, a sufferer of Type 1 Neurofibromatosis, came to prominence opposite Scarlett Johansson in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013); the actor, an outspoken advocate for disability awareness, will be present for the Revelations screening of the film, a vision that had Variety reviewer Dennis Harvey pondering, “What if the ‘freaks’ had made Tod Browning’s Freaks?”

Other works certain to draw audiences to the myriad of Rev-venues are Don Argott and Sheena M Joyce’s Framing John DeLorean, the docu-drama re-enactment of the wild times of the American automobile titan (featuring Alec Baldwin as the entrepreneur); the rousing, crowdpleasing expose Hail Satan?, director Penny Lane’s insider’s take on The Satanic Temple movement; and, Tim Travers Hawkins’ XY Chelsea, a forthright and revealing insight into whistleblower Chelsea Manning, both as a fighter for freedom of information and as she transitions into her new self.

Also featured in 2019 is a vast selection of short films from across the globe (in addition to Australia, America and The U.K., Revelations welcomed works from Belgium, Canada, France, Mexico, Uruguay and Japan, to name just a few); a retrospective celebrating science fiction films with screenings of classics The Quiet Earth, Things To Come, The Andromeda Strain and Alien; family friendly free sessions of animated short films under the banner International Family Animation Explosion; the popular Industrial Revelations strand, featuring festival guests exploring key aspects of the industry at dedicated panels and workshops; the music video sidebar Blind Date, spotlighting works created by local filmmakers; and, Screenwest’s annual showcase of emerging W.A. filmmaking talent in Get Your Shorts On!

REVELATIONS PERTH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL runs July 4th-17th. Full program and ticketing information can be found at official website.

Wednesday
May082019

TEN ‘FIRST GLANCE MUST-SEE’ FILMS FROM THE SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAM LAUNCH

With 307 films from 55 countries rostered to unfold from June 5, it would be madness to try to tackle all of the Sydney Film Festival’s program the day it goes go public. Even Festival Director Nashen Moodley, presenting his 8th program this morning at Sydney’s Town Hall, could only snapshot the mammoth line-up. “This year’s program holds a mirror to titanic shifts culturally and politically,” he said, highlighting qualities certainly on offer amongst the ten films that stuck in our minds after our first glance at the 2019 program. That, and so much more… 

PALM BEACH (pictured, above; l-r, Bryan Brown, Jacqueline McKenzie and Richard E. Grant)
OPENING NIGHT; WED 5 JUN 7.30 PM
Director: Rachel Ward | Screenwriters: Joanna Murray-Smith, Rachel Ward | Cast: Sam Neill, Bryan Brown, Greta Scacchi.
FROM THE PROGRAM: “In Rachel Ward’s funny, uplifting drama/comedy a group of lifelong friends reunite
for a party at Sydney’s Palm Beach; but tension mounts when deep secrets emerge.
With a fantastic cast including Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Richard E. Grant, Greta Scacchi, Jacqueline McKenzie and Heather Mitchell, Palm Beach is an exuberant and life-affirming celebration of friendship. “
SEE THIS BECAUSE…: You loved The Big Chill.

SLAM
SAT 15 JUN 2.05PM | SUN 16 JUN 4.00 PM | SUN 16 JUN 7.15 PM
Australia, France | 2018 | 115 mins | In English and Arabic with English subtitles | Australian Premiere | Director, Screenwriter: Partho Sen-Gupta | Cast: Adam Bakri, Rachael Blake, Rebecca Breeds
FROM THE PROGRAM: “A young Muslim activist and slam poet goes missing in this tense Sydney-set mystery with a sharp perspective on Islamophobia by Partho Sen-Gupta (Sunrise, SFF 2015).”
SEE THIS BECAUSE…: Partho Sen-Gupta is one of the great unheralded talents of Australian cinema. His incendiary study of intolerance and bigotry will be one of THE hot-button films of 2019.

MONOS
MON 10 JUN 6.20PM | TUE 11 JUN 4.00PM | SAT 15 JUN 6.45PM
Colombia, Argentina, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Uruguay | 2019 | 102 mins | In English and Spanish with English subtitles | Australian Premiere |
Director: Alejandro Landes | Screenwriters: Alejandro Landes, Alexis Dos Santos | Cast: Julianne Nicholson, Moises Arias, Julian Giraldo.
FROM THE PROGRAM: “Alejandro Landes’ incendiary allegory follows child soldiers holding a female doctor hostage in a remote jungle location. A film of lush visuals and raw emotion, Monos adopts the personality of a twisted fairy-tale (commenting) on the dehumanising effect of war and the seemingly endless cycles of violence in many South American nations.”
SEE THIS BECAUSE…: Stunning locations in the service of a film that captures the horrors of close-quarters jungle warfare and psychological torment. Best trailer of the fest, too.

DIVINE LOVE
WED 5 JUN 8.30 PM | THU 13 JUN 6.00 PM  
Brazil, Uruguay, Denmark, Norway, Chile, Sweden 2018 | 100 mins | In Portuguese with English subtitles | Australian Premiere |
Director: Gabriel Mascaro | Screenwriters: Gabriel Mascaro, Rachel Ellis, Esdras Bezerra, Lucas Paraízo | Cast: Dira Paes, Julio Machado, Emílio De Melo
FROM THE PROGRAM: “Religion in Brazil in 2027 is a little strange.
Raves, drive-through churches and group sex sessions are all part and parcel of the evangelical Christian group Divino Amor.
 An unsettling, futuristic look at faith and sexuality, Divine Love is wildly imaginative, visually spectacular and entrancing, with a sharp political edge.
SEE THIS BECAUSE…: Our favourite film of SFF 2018 was Gaspar Noe’s Climax; this looks cut from the same cloth.

HER SMELL
FRI 7 JUN 8.30PM | SUN 9 JUN 6.45PM |
WED 12 JUN 8.05 PM  
USA | 2018 | 135 mins | In English | Australian Premiere | Director, Screenwriter: Alex Ross Perry | Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Dan Stevens, Cara Delevingne
FROM THE PROGRAM: “Channelling the infamous Courtney Love in her role as Becky Something, Moss is a rock star whose band has reached its use-by date. A self- destructive narcissist, Becky’s coke-fuelled tirades alienate her bandmates, partner and manager as she hurtles towards impending doom.”
SEE THIS BECAUSE…: Elizabeth Moss is on an Oscar-bound career trajectory. She’s America’s most versatile and fearless young actress.

ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH
WED 5 JUN 6.45 PM | TUE 11 JUN 6.45 PM

Canada | 2018 | 87 mins | In English, Russian, Italian, German, Mandarin, and Cantonese with English subtitles | Australian Premiere
 | Directors: Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky | Screenwriter: Jennifer Baichwal | Narrator: Alicia Vikander
FROM THE PROGRAM: The striking images demonstrate how humans are shaping our planet at an ever-increasing rate; hence the title, for this is the age in which human activity is the dominant influence on the environment. De Pencier’s epic cinematography and Alicia Vikander’s narration capture the immense power and terrible beauty of our endeavours.
SEE THIS BECAUSE…: We are the virus.

AMAZING GRACE
SUN 9 JUN 4.45 PM | MON 10 JUN 4.15 PM
USA | 2019 | 87 mins | In English | Australian Premiere | Realised and Produced by Alan Elliott
FROM THE PROGRAM:Over two days at L.A.’s New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, accompanied by
the Southern Californian Community Choir, Aretha Franklin sang from the heart and her astounding performance was captured by filmmaker Sydney Pollack. The resulting recording, Amazing Grace, became her most successful album, but the film of her performance – for multiple reasons – was never released...until now.”
SEE THIS BECAUSE…: There has never been, and will never be, a singer like 29 year-old Aretha Franklin.

DARK PLACE
SAT 15 JUN 8.45 PM | SUN 16 JUN 6.30 PM  
Australia | 2019 | 75 mins | In English | World Premiere
Directors and Screenwriters: Björn Stewart, Perun Bonser, Kodie Bedford, Liam Phillips, Rob Braslin | Cast: Clarence Ryan, Charlie Garber, Leonie Whyman
FROM THE PROGRAM: “Australian genre cinema takes an exciting leap forward with Dark Place, a quintet of tales
that approach post-colonial Indigenous history through the lenses of horror and fantasy.”
SEE THIS BECAUSE…: The horrors endured by Australia’s indigenous population since European settlement seem entirely appropriate inspiration for a (long overdue, frankly) genre film deconstruction.

SHORT FILMS BY AGNÈS VARDA
Screening with the feature presentations as part of the sidebar VIVA VARDA.
FROM THE PROGRAM: “Across six decades Agnès Varda made over twenty short films. The titles represented in this season are perfect capsules of the times in which she lived and showcase the vast creativity that she brought to films – large and small.”
BLACK PANTHERS | FRANCE | 1968 | 30 MINS | Varda's observational doco captures the essence and impetus behind the Black Panther movement.
RÉPONSE DE FEMMES | FRANCE | 1975 | 8 MINS | Varda assembled a group and asked, “what it means to be a woman”. This is their reply.
SALUT LES CUBAINS | FRANCE | 1963 | 30 MINS | Agnès Varda travelled to Cuba to photograph life under Fidel Castro: a celebration of culture, rhythm and the women of the revolution.
UNCLE YANCO | FRANCE | 1967 | 19 MINS | Agnès Varda’s encounter with a long-lost relative brims with joy and playfulness.
SEE THIS BECAUSE…: It is a rare opportunity to see some of the finest film works from the most influential period in the history of the artform.

DEPRAVED
WED 5 JUN 8.15PM | MON 10 JUN 8.15PM
USA | 2019 | 114 mins | In English | Australian Premiere | Director, Screenwriter: Larry Fessenden | Cast: David Call, Joshua Leonard, Alex Breaux
FROM THE PROGRAM: “Mary Shelley’s classic has inspired countless
films since 1910. It’s to the enormous credit of indie horror king Larry Fessenden that Depraved feels so fresh. A scary, tense and darkly comic tale laced with hallucinatory imagery and driven by powerful emotion.”
SEE THIS BECAUSE…: Frankenstein + Fessenden (Fessenstein…?) is too good a concept to resist.

Saturday
Mar022019

PREVIEW: GOLD COAST FILM FESTIVAL 2019

Any notions that the Gold Coast Film Festival (GCFF) is still the ‘little festival that could’ on Australia’s film event calendar are well and truly dispelled with the announcement on Friday of the 17th annual program. Boasting a roster of 107 films, including three world, ten Australian and four Queensland premieres, the 12-day event can proudly stand alongside its fellow film celebrations in the nation's capital cities; the 2019 edition launches April 3 amongst the sun, sand and surf of the east coast tourist mecca.

In recent years, the GCFF has confirmed its status as a unique cultural event with a broad audience focus, ambitious programming and globally recognised brand. “I’m a firm believer that the best film festivals offer the public so much more than just the chance to watch movies and we have once again raised the bar on that front,” said Festival Director Lucy Fisher (via press release). “From unique pop-up cinemas on the water, in the bush and on urban streets to daily workshops for children, our massive program of events and screenings allows people to immerse themselves in film and have a little fun along the way.”

The Opening Night slot has gone to the speculative docu-drama 2040, actor/director Damon Gameau’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2014 hit That Sugar Film. Envisioning a future in which all the right decisions about making a better society were implemented 20 years prior, 2040 will have its Australian premiere on the Gold Coast following its World Premiere at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival earlier this month.

The Gold Coast Film Festival’s own global firsts include Caitlin Farrugia and Michael Jones’ Maybe Tomorrow, a crowdpleasing comedy/drama about young filmmakers balancing the urge to create with the responsibilities of a newborn; Locusts, a noirish outback thriller from writer/director Heath Davis (Book Week, 2018); and, Storm Ashwood’s Escape and Evasion, a powerful portrayal of wartime horrors and PTSD, which was shot on the Gold Coast and has secured Closing Night honours for the young director.

Amongst the Australian premieres are David Robert Mitchell’s Cannes entrant Under the Silver Lake, the director’s follow-up to his cult horror hit It Follows and starring Andrew Garfield (pictured, top); the family drama Mia and The White Lion, director Gilles de Maistre’s remarkable account, three years in the making, of a friendship between a lonely girl (Daniah De Villiers) and the titular beast; and, the animated Brazilian film, Tito and The Birds, a story of courage and faith in the face of a global threat that employs CGI, traditional cell animation and oil painting techniques from directors Gabriel Bitar, Andre Catoto and Gustavo Steinberg.

Also debuting for local audiences will be Tony D’Aquino’s The Furies (pictured, right), an Aussie bushland spin on the classic ‘slasher in the woods’ genre. The Odin’s Eye acquisition will be the centerpiece of ‘Horror in The Hinterland’, an outdoor screening event that plonks daring horror-hounds in front of a pop-up screen somewhere on Springbrook Mountain; Drew Goddard’s 2011 cult-horror classic The Cabin in The Woods, with Chris Hemsworth, will also contribute to a new kind of horror film-watching experience for the stout-of-heart.

Other high profile titles across the 2019 line-up include Wayne Blair’s rom-com Top End Wedding, starring Miranda Tapsell, fresh from its triumphant Sundance sessions; Imogen Thomas’ heartwarming Emu Runner, the story of an indigenous girl who seeks out the spirit of her late mother by befriending her totem animal, an emu; French director Claire Denis’ first English language film, the sci-fi thriller High Life, starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche; surf cameraman Tony Harringtion’s spiritual saltwater odyssey, Emocean; and, Yen Tan’s Texas-set coming home/coming out drama 1985, with Virginia Madsen and Michael Chiklis.

The GCFF values the history of cinema, with several retro-screening events scheduled. The ‘Laneway Cinema’ initiative combines Asian cuisine with two Jackie Chan films, Karate Kid (2010) and Drunken Master (1978); Lady Parts podcast hosts Aimee Lindorff and Sophie Overett, with guest Maria Lewis, will dissect Wes Craven’s landmark horror pic, Scream (1996); the luxurious Spirit of Elston riverboat will host this year’s Floating Cinema event, with a romantic rooftop session of the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore flick, 50 First Dates (2004); and, the Burleigh Brewing Co. are lending their profile to a special event screening of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights (1997).

Insider events include the Screen Industry Gala Awards, a ticketed evening hosted at the Movie World theme park/studio complex, during which the achievements of all nominees across feature films, short films, webseries and screenwriting will be celebrated. During the awards, iconic Australian actress Sigrid Thornton (pictured, right) will be presented with the 2019 Chauvel Award in recognition of her significant contribution to the Australian screen industry. Also, the festival in conjunction with Screen Queensland, will host the fifth annual Women in Film Luncheon, welcoming Greer Simpkins, producer and Head of Television at Bunya Productions, as the guest speaker.

The Gold Coast Film Festival will run April 3-14 at various locations across The Gold Coast. It is supported by its major partners Screen Queensland, the City of Gold Coast, Tourism and Events Queensland and HOTA, Home of the Arts. For all events, sessions details and ticketing visit the official website.

Thursday
Feb212019

FORM, BEAUTY, AMBITION CELEBRATED IN MELBOURNE DESIGN WEEK FILM FESTIVAL

The third annual Melbourne Design Week will this year examine how cinema and design co-exist as art forms with a screening program of films celebrating vision, invention and ambition. The unique festival-within-a-festival has been constructed by Richard Sowada, a programmer whose status as one of our best curatorial minds was honed overseeing Perth’s Revelation and Sydney’s American Essentials seasons. “There's some real spirituality in many of the titles and they're filled with beautiful clean lines and wonderful philosophy,” he told SCREEN-SPACE, ahead of the 10-day schedule set to unfurl in Australia’s first UNESCO City of Design…

“The brief for this program was ‘experimentation’ and that's precisely what these films are about,” says Sowada (pictured, below), who has chosen films from such fields as architecture, photography, industrial and product innovation, futurism, urban planning and the history of design, as well as the aesthetics of the natural world. “They're about experimentation with space, philosophy, mechanics, texture, people, psychology and colour. With those parameters, cinema and design exist in the same space and place.”

Among the 11 films that will screen as part of the Melbourne Design Week Film Festival are Adrian McCarthy’s Portrait of a Gallery, an all-access insight into The National Gallery of Ireland’s enormous refurbishment project; Rob Lindsay’s Relics of the Future, photographer Toni Hafkenscheid’s study of iconic 1960s architectural structures once considered ‘futuristic’; Mies on Scene. Barcelona in Two Acts, a stirring account of the history of the iconic Barcelona Pavillon from directors Xavi Camprecios and Pep Martin; and, Chad Friedrich’s The Experimental City, which explores the plans to construct a full-size eco-friendly city from scratch in the isolated woods of northern Minnesota.

“The films have a different kind of character to other documentaries and they by and large marry style and content very well,” says Sowada. “They are works of art/design in their own right, filled with light, space and texture.” He points to two examples in particular as most synonymous with his programming objectives – Mark Lewis’ Inventions, a whirling tour of cityscapes that pays homage to the City Symphony films of the 1920s; and, Homo Sapiens (pictured, top), a breathtaking, heartbreaking testament to forgotten structures from Austrian visualist Nikolaus Geyrhalter. “No dialogue, true symphonic pieces that demand to be seen on the big screen in the highest fidelity,” he say, noting, “This is one of the things I think films in this genre embrace - scale.”

Further emphasizing the theme of scale and mankind’s relationship to both the natural world and landscapes of our own creation are Jennifer Baichwal’s Watermark, a visual essay on our often tenuous co-existence with water, as shot by the great photographer Edward Burtynsky; Mark Noonan’s biographical feature on arguably America’s greatest living structuralist, Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect; and, In Between the Mountains and The Oceans (trailer, below), a chronicle of the building of the great Japanese temple Ise Jingu as captured by acclaimed photographer Masa-aki Miyazawa. (Pictured, above; a still from Rob Lindsay's Relics of the Future)

Richard Sowada hopes that his line-up of films will strengthen and more clearly define the common bond between cinema and design construction. “Ultimately, they're about emotion and connection with the viewer/user,” he says. “If they're to have a lasting effect they need to come from an authentic place and have a reason to be. These deeper connections cut across time and borders - they are understandable in a universal way. They’re so clean and pure but also are filled with drama and challenge.”

The MELBOURNE DESIGN WEEK FILM FESTIVAL will run from March 14-24 at the Lido Cinemas, Hawthorn, and Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick. Full session and ticketing details can be fount at the official website.