Attending Filmmakers & Receptions 2019

Join Down Under Berlin 2019 for Q&As with attending film folk and some delicious treats at our Opening and Closing Night receptions!

In 2019, Down Under Berlin again welcomes several makers of the brilliant films on offer at the festival to present and discuss their work – we are delighted to invite you to join us for fascinating Q&A sessions, and for a glass of wine and delicious nibbles at our Opening Night and Closing Night receptions.

Smallblock © Storm Warman

We’re kicking off the 2019 Festival with the stunning indie drama Stray – the debut feature from award winning writer and director Dustin Feneley. This film holds the record for the highest amount ever raised through crowdfunding for a New Zealand film – and is Down Under Berlin’s first ever Kiwi opener! Don’t miss this historical event – the film screens at 7:45pm on Thursday 26 September and is followed by a free reception, kindly sponsored by the New Zealand Embassy in Berlin. Secure your tickets now and make sure to stay for wine and pies, handcrafted by the culinary artisans at Smallblock.


What an honour it is for Smallblock to be partnered with Down Under Berlin, as two true cinephiles like ourselves have grown up with the magic of the Southern film industry. Aussie/Kiwi movies carry an inherent tradition of honest and unique story-telling, told in ways like nothing else in cinema.


Students and lovers of film alike will find plenty of opportunity to learn about the creative process and some behind-the-scenes details from a range of filmmaking professionals this year, from directors to producers to cast members. Following the screening of festival highlight, Gabrielle Brady’s Island of the Hungry Ghosts, we are looking forward to chatting with German co-producer Julia Niethammer of Chromosom Film. This compassionate and visually arresting hybrid documentary about the human side of Australia’s controversial refugee policies has attracted some major honours, including Best Documentary at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and a nomination for the 2019 Deutscher Dokumentarfilmpreis. See it at 8pm on Friday 27 September 2019. Get your tickets here.

ETCHED IN BONE Directors Martin Thomas & Béatrice Bijon

We are delighted to welcome Béatrice Bijon, producer and co-director of Etched in Bone, the landmark documentary telling the story of Jacob Nayinggul, an Aboriginal elder from Arnhem Land in northern Australia, who fought for years for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC to repatriate the bones of his ancestors that were stolen by scientists in 1948.

The documentary is playing at 2pm on Sunday 29 September – stick around for a Q&A with the filmmaker to hear about how the film brings lived Indigenous culture to the screen, while tackling key political questions about repatriation and social responsibility.

Audiences at our fantastic short-film sessions will also get the chance to hear from the people behind (and sometimes on) the screen. At Kiwi Shorts – Take 1 at 3:30pm on Friday 27 September, we’ll chat with Simon Schueller, Director of Photography for comedy Confessions of a Highly Emotional Bag Man, which will have its World Premiere at Down Under Berlin 2019!

TO THE SEA director Emily Dynes
STILLE NACHT director Matthew R. Young
FREE THERAPY producer Eloise Walker
FREE THERAPY director Aaron Lucas

After Aussie Shorts – Take 2, which is on at 8pm on Saturday 28 September, don’t miss the opportunity to hear from two filmmakers whose thoughtful dramas we are proud to bring to Europe for the first time – Emily Dynes, director of To the Sea, and Matthew R. Young, director of Stille Nacht. This unmissable session also features 2018’s Cannes Palme D’Or short film winner, All These Creatures.

Join us at 4pm on Sunday 29 September after Aussie Shorts – Take 3 for a conversation with three members of the team behind brand new comedy Free Therapy: we’ll get perspectives from director Aaron Lucas, producer Eloise Walker and actor Joshua Spriggs.

La Vie en Toast @ Pierre Lorenz

Last but absolutely not least, we are hugely excited to give lovers of Australian music and film the unique chance to see Mystify: Michael Hutchence as our closing night film at 8:15pm on Sunday 29 September 2019. Premiering at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and receiving rave reviews around the world, Richard Lowenstein’s moving documentary gives us a glimpse of the glamourous yet troubled life of the charismatic INXS frontman via private footage and interviews with lovers, friends and fellow musicians.

Make sure you’re there and join us for a free reception beforehand from 6:30pm for a glass of Australian wine kindly supported by the Australian Embassy in Berlin and finger food with a French twist from the new caterers on the block La Vie en Toast – thanks to our generous sponsor Luke Warner from Freiraum Hostel & Gästehaus!

As an Aussie living in Berlin the festival has always felt like a little trip Down Under for me over the past years. Now that I have an opportunity to give something back with FREIRAUM HOSTEL I am glad to support the festival!

Luke Warner, Freiraum Hostel & Gästehaus

The food collective ‘La Vie en Toast’, born and raised in the cultural environment of Berlin party scene, music & arts festivals and theater performance, is delighted to support Down Under Berlin`s closing night with some tasty finger food.

La Vie en Toast

Curious which films will take home the "Best Film" and "Best Short Film" Audience Awards? Stay for the announcement of the winners after the closing night film –  this years' prizes are kindly sponsored by music licensing platform Gnarles.

Phew – what a lineup! We can’t wait to show you all these great antipodean films, introduce you to their creators and share a drink. Get your mates organised, grab your tickets now, and we’ll see you at Moviemento Kino!

Header image: DUB 2018 Opening Night Reception © Martin Bayer

Helen Rydstrand is an Australian freelance writer, editor and researcher living in Berlin. When not helping out on Communications for Down Under Berlin, she’s lounging by the Landwehr or trying to get used to real winters.