Down Under Berlin 2018
From 19-23 September 2018, Down Under Berlin returned with the motto "Landscapes of Us" for its 8th edition. With a selection of films curated to pay homage to Australia’s and New Zealand’s haunting and beautiful cinematic landscapes, as well as exploring and celebrating the inner landscapes of the stories they represent, 2018's program was a long journey through the personal, political, social, historical and emotional spaces and places from Down Under.
With around 1.300 audience members welcomed over 16 screenings, 2018 has been the most successful year for Down Under Berlin since its beginning in 2011. It has also seen the most awards and the biggest number of attending film industry members so far. Last but not least, 50% of all 40 short and ten long films were directed by female filmmakers - making the festival a trendsetter in 2018!
2018 edition was decidedly political and included many bold, thought-provoking stories. With 50% of the films in this program being directed by female directors, women took the spotlight with highlights such as Waru, a New Zealand feature film directed by eight Maori female filmmakers, or Terror Nullius, born out of the minds of the female art-collective Soda_Jerk.
Indigenous and LGBTIQ films also found their place in the program with a strong line-up: the critically acclaimed Sweet Country, by director Warwick Thornton opened the festival with a bang, whereas the fascinating documentary Black Divaz celebrated the Aboriginal drag scene while drawing attention to the struggles and courage of Australia’s Indigenous LGBTIQ community.
The festival continued to promote and celebrate high-quality short films, with the return of the "Battle of the Shorts: AUS vs. NZ" programs and Down Under Berlin's first collaboration with the Chris and Francesca Beale Foundation, whose exceptional guest reel "Australian Short Film Today" did not only include Jane Campion's debut film An Exercise in Discipline: Peel but also 2018's Academy Award nominee The Eleven O'Clock.
Addressing another current topic such as contemporary masculinity, Jo-Anne Brechin’s romantic drama Zelos told the story of a betrayal and love from the perspective of a modern man, whereas closing night film and bold documentary Hotel Coolgardie by Pete Gleeson was a confronting depiction of Australian country life.
Taking out the major prizes, sponsored by the the world's leading video, photo, TV & film production management software StudioBinder as well as by closed community music licensing platform gnarles, the audience award for BEST FILM went to the personal documentary Symphony on Skis by Carla Braun-Elwert (NZ). BEST SHORT FILM was taken by the stop-motion disaster comedy short Fire In Cardboard City by Phil Brough (NZ).
In 2018, the number of awards increased by two additional awards: the winner in each of the two rounds of the "Battle of the Shorts: AUS vs. NZ" as well as of the "Australian Short Film Today" guest reel - kindly provided by the Chris and Francesca Beale Foundation from New York.
The winners of the "Battle of the Shorts: AUS vs. NZ" -Round 1 (again - Fire In Cardboard City) & Round 2" (Mrs McCutcheon by John Sheedy) both received a prize by online film community platform FilmUp. The same prize went also to the audience's favourite of the "Australian Short Film Today" reel: Academy Award nominee The Eleven O'Clock - by Derin Seale.
Down Under Berlin thanks all its sponsors and partners for their ongoing support, without which the festival could not survive and thrive!
A big thank you went out again to the festival's major sponsors: the Australian Embassy Berlin and the New Zealand Embassy Berlin were on hand to help celebrate spectacular films, and bring people together over a glass of wine and treats in the festival lounge.
Other partners and supporters fo Down Under Berlin 2018 included media & marketing partners DIE DRAUSSENWERBER, EXBERLINER, and Berliner Fenster; reception sponsors Candide Schokoladen, Bulleit Bourbon, and Fountain of Youth; new and loyal advertising customers Adina Apartment Hotels, BierBier, and Lockwood Berlin, as well as Netball Berlin and Brauhaus neulich; programming supporters New Zealand Film Commission and the Chris and Francesca Beale Foundation; and last – but not least – the fantastic Audience Awards prize sponsors StudioBinder, gnarles, and FilmUp.
Check out the entire program in the 2018 Festival Calendar below or download the program brochure here: