Down Under @ Berlinale 2016

Down Under Berlin Co-Director, Sabrina Wittmann loves the Berlinale, and what's even more exciting is the number of films from down under at the Berlinale this year!

Ever thought of joining folks in Australia and New Zealand right now – enjoying summer, beer, barbecue and bungee jumping? Nah, forget it – Berlin offers something much more exciting: The Berlin International Film Festival aka Berlinale. This year’s festival runs from 11 to 21 February 2016 and presents about 400 films from every genre, length, format and country. So, if you are still yearning for “Down Under” and cannot wait until Down Under Berlin Film Festival returns in September – come and see Australia and New Zealand at the Berlinale:

GIRL ASLEEP (Feature | Australia 2015 | 77 min)
Opening Film Generation 14plus | International Premiere

Greta is 14 years old and has just moved to a new town with her family. It’s tough, but at least she’s found a soulmate at her new school: Elliott is an outsider like her, he’s funny and sweet, maybe a bit childish too, and he wants to be her boyfriend. Her sister has already made it: she lives her own life. It wouldn’t be so bad if her parents hadn’t got it into their heads to throw a surprise party for her. Given the choice, Greta would simply run away. In the mysterious forest behind the house lurk strange creatures and Huldra, the fearless warrior.
Based on the critically acclaimed production by Windmill Theatre, GIRL ASLEEP is a weird and wonderful coming of age tale, absurd and eerie, terrible yet lovely – just like the life of a 14-year-old when everything around is changing

Dir: Rosemary Myers
With: Bethany Whitmore, Harrison Feldman, Amber McMahon, Matthew Whittet, Eamon Farren

Fri, 12 Feb 19:30h, HKW (Opening Ceremony Generation 14plus)
Sat, 13 Feb 16:30, CinemaxX 3
Tue, 16 Feb 13:00h, HKW 
Sun, 21 Feb 20:00h, HKW

CLEVERMAN (TV Drama | Australia/New Zealand 2016 | 2 x 52 min)
Berlinale Special Series | World Premiere

In a near future the so-called ‘hairy people’ are assigned to strictly controlled zones. The eternal exclusion of the other is the starting point for a dystopian experiment in which fiction mirrors the history of Australia’s indigenous peoples.

Dir: Wayne Blair, Leah Purcell
With: Hunter Page-Lochard, Rob Collins, Iain Glen, Frances O’Connor, Ryan Corr

Tue, 16 Feb 15:00h, Haus der Berliner Festspiele

KILL YOUR DINNER (Short |Australia 2015 | 13 min)
Generation Kplus | World Premiere

Pan flute music on the tape deck and a little calf loaded on the bed of the pickup. Rhys has no idea why he’s along for the ride in his father’s truck. His dad’s new girlfriend is a new-age hippie who lives out in the middle of the sticks. And it’s exactly there that father and son are expected to slaughter the calf together and then eat it for dinner later on. Why couldn’t they have just gone bowling instead?

Dir: Bryn Chainey (DUB congrats you, Bryn!)
With: Nicholas Bakopoulos-Cooke, Steve Rogers, Sasha Horler

Short Films 3
Tue, 16 Feb 13 15:00h, CinemaxX 1
Thu, 18 Feb 15:30h, Filmtheater am Friedrichshain
Fri, 19 Feb 17:30h, CinemaxX 1

THE BOYFRIEND GAME (Short | Australia 2015 | 7 min)
Generation Kplus | Generation Mix | European Premiere

Two best girlfriends role-play their ideal dream boys while hanging around together in the bush. When one of them develops a fancy for the other’s Mr. Right and then takes things way too far, an unsuspected conflict suddenly escalates. The overlap of fantasy and reality represents a challenge to their friendship. The director depicts the ambiguity of childhood imagination and adolescent daydreaming.

Dir: Alice Englert
With: Morgana Davies, Thomasin McKenzie-Harcourt

Short Films 3
Tue, 16 Feb 15:00h, CinemaxX 1
Thu, 18 Feb 15:30h, Filmtheater am Friedrichshain
Fri, 19 Feb 17:30h, CinemaxX 1

Generation Mix
Sun, 21 Feb 16:00h, CinemaxX 5

BORN TO DANCE (Feature | New Zealand 2015 | 96 min)
Generation 14plus | European Premiere

It’s the chance of a lifetime. Maori hip-hop dancer Tu would give anything for a future as a professional dancer. His father wants him to join the military, and dancing seems the only way out. Without telling his own crew from a lower class neighbourhood in South Auckland, he auditions for a place in the legendary K-Crew from the posh North Shore.
Embedded in Parris Goebel’s energetic choreography, BORN TO DANCE tells a story of irrepressible energy, while the intoxicating beats (music by P-Money) and dance moves freshen up the dance film genre.

Dir: Tammy Davis
With: Tia-Taharoa Maipi, Stan Walker, Kherington Payne, Alexandra Carson, John Tui

Sat, 13 Feb 17:00h, HKW 
Sun, 14 Feb 15:30h, Cubix 8
Mon, 15 Feb 16:30h, CinemaxX 3
Tue, 16 Feb 11:30h, HAU1 Hebbel am Ufer (Berlinale Talents – Film screening followed by Q&A)
Sun, 21 Feb 15:30h, Zoo Palast 1

MAHANA (Feature | New Zealand/Australia 2015 | 103 min)
Competition | World Premiere

It is the 1960s. Two Maori families, the Mahanas and the Poatas, make a living shearing sheep on the east coast of New Zealand. The two clans, who are bitter enemies, face each other as rivals at the annual sheep shearing competitions. Simeon is a 14-year-old scion of the Mahana clan. A courageous schoolboy, he rebels against his authoritarian grandfather Tamihana and his traditional ways of thinking and begins to unravel the reasons for the long-standing feud between the two families. Before long, the hierarchies and established structures of the community are in disarray because Tamihana, who is as stubborn as he is proud, is not prepared to acquiesce and pursue new paths.
With ONCE WE WERE WARRIORS star Temuera Morrison in the role of the family patriarch, Director Tamahori presents a stirring family drama set in a rural community governed by nature.

Dir: Lee Tamahori
With: Temuera Morrison, Akuhata Keefe, Nancy Brunning, Jim Moriarty, Regan Taylor

Screenings (with German subtitles):
Sat, 13 Feb 22:00h, Berlinale Palast
Sun, 14 Feb 09:30h, Haus der Berliner Festspiele
Sun, 14 Feb 15:00h, Friedrichsstadt-Palast
Sun, 14 Feb 18:30h, Toni & Tonino (Berlinale Goes Kiez)
Sun, 14 Feb 22:30h, International
Sun, 21 Feb 12:15h, Berlinale Palast

For more information on the Berlin International Film festival/Berlinale, its programme, ticket prices and more, please see the Berlinale Website:

For more information on Australian and New Zealand films, please see the following websites:

Header image: Cleverman © GPTV Holdings Pty Ltd and Zone 140 Ltd Partnership 2016
Girl Asleep © Shane Reid
Kill Your Dinner, The Boyfriend Game, Born to Dance, Mahana © Berlinale 2016