Documentaries on Film and Small Screen


This is a beautifully photographed look at the recent exhibition in Rome held in the Bonaparte Palace in Piazza Venezia.

There are sweeping aerial panoramic views of Rome with panning shots of some of the exhibition rooms and some of the paintings are examined in luminous extreme close up so we can observe the brushstrokes.

Among the artists included are – Monet , Pissaro, Degas ,Renoir ,Berthe Morrisot and Cezanne to name just a few.

Fifty paintings are included in the exhibition, most of which have not previously been available to be viewed by the public as they come from private collections.

There is also black and white footage of Paris during the late19th century and voice overs of letters written.

The exhibition looks at the Impressionist school of painting (named after Monet’s Impression Sunrise ) and how it introduced a new way of seeing. Their work was a reaction against the stultifying rules of the Academy. They were not really a ‘school’ but a group that had a shared focus, keeping their own personality.

It is a narrative of consequences.It asks who were the Impressionists? And looks at how they introduced a technical revolution and a new sensibility. It looks at how they made a breakthrough in the use of light and colour for example and often preferred plien air (outdoors) painting to catch the atmosphere. Reflection and water were also most important.

The exhibition has rooms specially devoted to Pisarro and Caillebotte, for example, and the film looks at the problems of designing lighting and hanging the exhibition.

The curator Marianne Mathieu, scientific director of the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris and by Claire Durand-Ruel – a descendant of the first merchant-supporter of the Impressionists- are interviewed and various other experts analyse some of the paintings .
The change in Renoir’s style is also examined.

Also looked at is the role of art dealers (especially Durand-Ruel) and collectors.

The legacy of the Impressionists is also presented – their influence on for example Van Gogh and Gaugin and how the movement has influenced artists through to the present day from Pointilism ( eg Seurat ) through to the Nabis and the Fauves and even Andy Warhol.

Also examined is the role of art dealers (especially Durand-Ruel) and collectors and how particularly at first the Impressionists had difficulty in being accepted to hang in leading museums and were prefered by collectors but now the various artist’s works are some of the most loved around the world.

Running time – just under 90 minutes

Secret Impressionists screens at selected cinemas from September 19 2020



Send in the clowns.

If you have misbehaving children, Wrinkles the Clown will, for a fee, provide a “behavioural service” to frighten the living crap out of delinquent kids.

The genesis of documentarian Michael Beach Nichols film WRINKLES THE CLOWN was a mysterious video that appeared on the Internet of a clown who emerges from underneath a sleeping female child’s bed. The video went viral and Wrinkles becomes internet lore.

It tapped into a market niche with parents abrogating their parental responsibility to discipline their offspring to a masked grotesque threatening them with abduction, incarceration, cannibalism and death.

Paying money to monster minors could amount to child abuse, but kids kind of like being creeped out, so who is to say its all part of cultural conditioning rather than molestation.

Interviews with folklorists illustrate the fascination with creepy clowns going back centuries, Mr. Punch being somewhat of a prototype, and film clips from popular movies such as Poltergeist, It, and the various incarnations of Joker in the Batman films further cement our attraction to, and appetite for, the face painted malevolent prankster.

While Michael Beach Nichols interviews the person purporting to be Wrinkles, photographed in shadow and voice distorted, he also uses an actor to portray the clown, re-enacting appearances as an aid to explore visually the phenomenon and myth behind the mask.

Now if the film could just scare those couch potato, screen surfing, soft drink swilling fat kids that eat up the cult of the creepy clown off their arses, WRINKLES HE CLOWN would serve as a genuine behavioural service as espoused by the menacing mummer.

Wrinkles the Clown is available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Fetch TV, Foxtel Store, Google Play and YouTube. Rated M


This post relates to the Sydney Screening for Award-Winning Australian Peace Documentary “Can Art Stop a Bullet? William Kelly’s Big Picture” will have a ONCE ONLY screening at Dendy Cinema 261 King Street Newtown on Monday 16th MARCH at 7.00pm.

The film follows artist and peace activist William Kelly as he creates the monumental artwork “Peace or War/the Big Picture” and travels the globe speaking with the creators of some of the world’s most recognisable artworks, created in response to conflict.

Kelly discusses the proposition “Can Art Stop a Bullet?” with more than 30 prominent international artists with whom he has been engaged: Martin Sheen, Nick Ut and, Dr Rama Manias, as well as Australian Indigenous artists Ben McKeown and activist Rose Lester.

The film screened at the 2019 UNA Film Festival in San Francisco and will be shown at the United Nations in Geneva in May and then France, Spain, the Netherlands, Nepal, UK, Japan and elsewhere in 2020. The film has won a number of awards and endorsements ahead of its Australian premiere and screening at this year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival in March.

Director Mark Street is proud that this film is receiving early recognition.

“This has been an intensive three-year project that has taken us around the globe, meeting some of the world’s most iconic artists. In an age where there is so much political and social uncertainty, “Can Art Stop a Bullet?” reminds us that art has never been in a more powerful position to help calm global crises,” he said.

The film features American/Australian artist William Kelly and his lifelong quest for peace through art.

“At a time of assaults on human rights, social justice and free speech, the voices of journalists and artists are under threat. This film reaches from our past to our collective future and it couldn’t be more current,” Kelly said.




FREE SOLO : © 2018 National Geographic

FREE SOLO has a trailer that makes people gasp out loud.

It is a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of world-renowned rock climber, Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock, the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, without a rope. Continue reading FREE SOLO. BREATHTAKING SCENERY AND A DARING SOLO CLIMBER. PREVIEW GIVEAWAY


This image: Joey Matael
Featured image: Lady Eva Baron

Since Nanook was captured on film fishing through a hole in the Northern ice, the documentary form has brought millions of other lives into our own.  In a stunning choice by Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival, Tonga’s Leitis community will warm your heart, give you hope and inspire you to be Fearless.

  LEITIS IN WAITING is an emotional and motivating feature documentary about the transgender community of the Kingdom of Tonga and it begins The Guide's coverage of this year's Mardi Gras FF.

Reflecting the colours of the nation’s flag, the film begins with white intertitles on a red background and one of these will pull the breath from you.  And will join an LGBTQI audience together in an understanding that the issues that these women face may be site-specific, but are despairingly common for trans people.  Murder, bashing, thoughts of suicide, familial rejection, homelessness, poverty will raise their ugliness in a beautiful film of warmth and hope. Continue reading LEITIS IN WAITING – A FEARLESS FILM FOR QUEER SCREEN’S MARDI GRAS FF


I Am Not Your Negro

Riverside Theatres in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) present THE POWER OF THE DOCUMENTARY – BREAKING THE SILENCE, a film festival curated by Emmy and BAFTA award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist and author, John Pilger.

Pilger is renowned for his independent investigative journalism giving a ‘voice to the voiceless’. He has chosen 26 landmark documentaries from the past 70 years for the festival – films that made significant impact on audiences and shaping the way we understand and respond to global issues such as war, civil rights and propaganda. Continue reading THE POWER OF THE DOCUMENTARY – BREAKING THE SILENCE


This Image: Louis Theroux on the steps of an abandoned house in Huntington
Featured image: Blue Planet II. Images Credit: BBC Studios

Create NSW, BBC Studios Australia and the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) have teamed up to launch a search for a talented mid-career documentary producer/director, who will be offered a unique opportunity to work alongside some of the best documentary makers in the world.

The Unscripted International Producer Placement (UIPP) initiative will provide $50,000 to support a NSW-based documentary maker as they work alongside the BBC Studios documentary team in the
UK for up to six months. This award-winning team produces internationally-renowned documentaries, including those from Louis Theroux, Blue Planet II, Life and Death Row and Stargazing Live. The successful applicant will be placed with a team that suits their experience and area of interest.

In addition, the six shortlisted applicants will receive travel, accommodation and discounted entry to the Melbourne-based AIDC conference from 3-6 March next year, where the final recipient will be announced on the closing night.

Applicants must be a mid-career producer and/or director with at least two documentary broadcast credits (television broadcast or theatrical release) and must submit at least one in-development
documentary project with international appeal, to be further developed over the course of the placement.

Applications for the Unscripted International Producer Placement are now open and close at midnight Wednesday 9 January 2019. More information, guidelines and applications here.


I AM A GIRL is a feature-length film about courage and determination and takes us on a journey to meet six young women from six different countries. As they come of age they paint a picture of what it means to grow up female in their world today; how their culture dictates their lives. See their remarkable heart-warming stories of resilience, bravery and humour.

Come along and see this incredible movie and help to raise enough funds to Rescue a Child on Anti Slavery Day. There will also be a raffle running where you can win some great prizes.

More information about the ‘I AM A GIRL‘ FUNDRAISER from Destiny Rescue [Facebook]  18th of October 6.30pm at the Facebook Events page and tickets at Eventbrite.


This Image: EOS Cézanne – studio at Jas de Bouffan -® David Bickerstaff
Featured Image: Filming EOS Cézanne ® EXHIBITION ON SCREEN (David Bickerstaff)

Described by Picasso and Matisse as the father of us all Cézanne is considered one of the greatest artists of all time.

Directed by Phil GrabskyCézanne – Portraits of a Life is based on the exhibition of Cézanne portraits currently on view at the National Portrait Gallery, London.  The film features interviews with curators, art experts and his great-grandson Philippe Cézanne.  Shot in 4k, it also travels to Cézanne’s home and studio in Provence and by including correspondence from the artist, it successfully sheds new light on the life and work of this hugely influential artist. Continue reading CEZANNE: PORTRAITS OF A LIFE IN CINEMAS SOON. PREVIEW GIVEAWAY


This image: Unboxed / Photo credit Kirsty Stark
Banner image: Mirror / Photo credit Kate Paul and Brodie Poole

ART BITES, the successful short-form documentary initiative from the ABC and Screen Australia, will return for a third year it was confirmed  at the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) in Melbourne, this week.

ART BITES presents an exceptional opportunity for four emerging Australian filmmaking teams with a passion for art to create a 6 x 5 minute documentary series that will premiere on the ABC Arts channel on iview in 2019. Continue reading ART BITES WILL RETURN FOR THIRD YEAR


Albatross Dir. Chris Jordan

The Transitions Film Festival is touring to Dendy Newtown in Sydney this March with an enthralling selection of its most engrossing and inspiring documentaries about the existential challenges and creative visions that are redefining what it means to be human.



Madman Entertainment has today released the first trailer for the highly anticipated documentary GURRUMUL, a celebration of the iconic Australian artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.Celebrated by audiences at home and abroad, Indigenous artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was one of the most important and acclaimed voices to ever come out of Australia. Blind from birth, he found purpose and meaning through songs and music inspired by his community and country on Elcho Island in far North East Arnhem Land. Living a traditional Yolngu life, his breakthrough album Gurrumul brought him to a crossroads as audiences and artists around the world began to embrace his music.

Sting described his voice as a ‘voice of a higher being’ and the great Quincy Jones eloquently said that his voice ‘was one of the most unusual, emotional and musical voices I have ever heard.’ Continue reading GURRUMUL : A PORTRAIT OF ONE OF OUR GREATEST SINGERS


Oscar nominated for Best Feature Documentary, FACES PLACES is a road trip of two minds, Agnès Varda, whose unique cinematic vision since the 1950s has earned her a loyal following of enthusiastic cinephiles around the world, and the iconic photographer/muralist JR, boasting over a million followers on Instagram. These two artists have more in common than one might imagine. Continue reading FACES AND PLACES: ART AFFIRMING LIFE


This image: The Fight (supplied by United Notions Film)
Banner Image: Working Class Boy. Photo :Andrew-Farrell

Screen Australia has announced production funding for 12 documentary projects through the Documentary Producer and Commissioned programs.

The slate includes an adaptation of Jimmy Barnes’ memoir WORKING CLASS BOY ; a feature-length version of Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw’s award-winning Guardian short THE FIGHT; a second season of FILTHY RICH & HOMELESS, the most watched documentary series on SBS in 2017; and a three-part series delving into the life of cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne from the team behind feature documentary THE FAMILY. Continue reading DOCUMENTARY FUNDING ANNOUNCED BY SCREEN AUSTRALIA


Told entirely in the words of James Baldwin, through both personal appearances and the text of his final unfinished book project, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO touches on the lives and assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers to bring powerful clarity to how the image and reality of Blacks in America today is fabricated and enforced.

Medgar Evers, died on June 12, 1963. Malcolm X, died on February 21, 1965. Martin Luther King Jr., died on April 4, 1968.
James Baldwin loved these men and was determined to expose the complex links and similarities among these three individuals. He was going to write about them. He was going to write his ultimate book! ‘Remember this House’ was the working title of that book.
But James Baldwin never wrote ‘Remember this House’ and film maker Raoul Peck has stepped in with this ambitious film to partly fill the void. Continue reading I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO – JAMES BALDWIN, IN HIS OWN WORDS


Featured photo- Lexi Laphor in ‘The Glass Bedroom’, an Arts Bite Project.

Ready for Mardi Gras 2018? It will be the 40th anniversary and the creative juices of Australian LGBTQI documentary filmmakers must be bubbling like champagne as Screen Australia and ABC TV Arts announce LOVE BITES.

In recognition of the milestone, Screen Australia and ABC TV Arts have teamed up to provide an national platform for Australian LGBTQI filmmakers … a curated series of 10 x 5 minute shorts to be premiered on the ABC Arts channel on iview during Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in March 2018. Under the banner LOVE BITES applications are now being received and will close Sunday August 6th.

The initiative is backed by funding and practical support. ABC TV and Screen Australia will commit a total of $100,000 to this initiative, offering 10 filmmakers $10,000 each to make the short film for delivery in January 2018. Each team will be supported by a Screen Australia Investment Manager and an ABC Digital Arts Commissioning Editor. Continue reading LOVE BITES : A DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING LGBTQI INITIATIVE


Houston , we have a problem.

Nick Broomfield’s documentary about Whitney Houston, CAN I BE ME?, is such a slow burn affair that interest for the general view may well splutter before it ignites.

It begins with the 911 call triggered in response to her unresponsiveness, the emergency call that first alerted the world that Whitney Houston had exited this life at the age of 48.

Over the radio voices, another voice intones that Whitney Houston died of a broken heart. Continue reading CAN I BE ME? : WHITNEY’S REFRAIN THAT WE NEVER HEARD


Invariably, the great surprises and sincere sensations of the Sydney Film Festival come from documentary film makers shining cinematic spotlights on our past, present and futures, rectifying the forgotten by elevating remembrance, examining the individual and celebrating the universal.

Two such gems are part of this year’s Festival line up. For some it will be an education. For aficionados it will be an edification. Link Wray, Mildred Bailey, Charley Patton, Jimi Hendrix, and more make up this stomping tribute to Native American musicians who have heretofore gone unheralded in their cultural contribution to world music.

This Sundance winner kicks off with the thumping riffs of Shawnee guitarist Link Wray’s 1950s classic Rumble; the tune that gives the film it’s irrepressible name and sets its fascinating rhythm. Continue reading SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL DOCOS : TWO OF THE BEST


“ Here lies Raphael: when he was living, nature feared he would defeat her, now that he is dead, she fears her end is near.”

From the team that has produced “The Vatican Museums”, “Florence and the Uffizi Gallery” and “St. Peter’s and the Papal Basilicas of Rome”, we are privileged to see a stunning examination of the life and works of one of the greatest Renaissance artists.

Widely regarded and celebrated as an “enfant prodige” by both his peers and generations to follow, together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael completed the triad of Renaissance Masters.

Raphael’s life and works traced the development from the arts of the Renaissance to Mannerism bringing the figurative arts to unprecedented heights.
He died young, aged 37, on his birthday, and yet managed to leave an unforgettable mark on the artistic world. Continue reading RAPHAEL : LORD OF THE ARTS


A matriarch with a Messiah complex, Anne Hamilton-Byrne was a glamorous yoga teacher whose charismatic aura amassed a cult following and spawned a surrogate family of illegally sourced children, under the auspices of The Santiniketan Park Association.

Rosie Jones’ documentary, THE FAMILY, is an investigation into the cult and the dogged detective work of policeman, Lex De Man, longest serving member of Operation Forest, which sought to prosecute Hamilton-Byrne.

Altogether 28 children spent time under the strict regime of Anne, self proclaimed reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and The Aunties, Anne’s apostles, disciples in strict and restrictive discipline; a core group of 14 believed they were Anne and her husband Bill’s biological children and bore the Hamilton-Byrne name. Continue reading THE FAMILY : A NEW DOCUMENTARY BY ROSIE JONES


Knocking the Who Do You Think You Are? concept out of the ring, THE PANTHER WITHIN is a winning technical and emotional knock-out of a film.

In a tag team bout of several suspenseful rounds, film-maker Edoardo Crismani and his mother Barbara embark on a search to unravel the mystery surrounding Barbara’s father Joe Murray, an indigenous boxing champion who danced and sang vaudeville, and married a blue-eyed blond white woman in 1930s Australia. Astonishing!

On the ropes as far as reliable historical documentation regarding Joe Murray, mother and son journey across the land, from Adelaide to Mildura, Melbourne and Ballarat. They trawl through libraries, meet with researchers, historians and Aboriginal elders, delving into the hidden heritage of the man known as The Black Panther, trying to piece his story together. Continue reading THE PANTHER WITHIN : A STRIKING NEW AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY


What a cast!

Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Sam Neil, Judy Davis, Jackie Weaver, Rachel Griffiths, Geoffrey Rush, Bryan Brown and Eric Bana. To name a few. That’s the incredible line-up amassed for DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE.

A film critic can sometimes unearth an audience for a film that does not have the vast advertising techniques and budget that ensures a mass audience for a major movie, usually from a studio in Hollywood.

Such an excavator is David Stratton whose exuberance for the wide exhibition of quality films, especially those made in Australia, is extolled in this brilliant exultation of local films, DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE. Continue reading DAVID STRATTON : A CINEMATIC LIFE