Festival Program 2019 - EmBrace Yourself!
This year’s program shines a light on extraordinary Antipodean film talents as well as the essential and captivating, yet often marginalised stories they tell, with a handful of humour and a pinch of quirkiness mixed into the blend. Under the motto “EmBrace Yourself”, this year’s films tackle the universal themes that are most crucial to understanding the human connection: mental illness, love and friendship, loss and grief, responsibility and those good old family ties. Our motto addresses how important it is to “embrace yourself” for who you are – to stand up for yourself and your beliefs, even if the rest of the world wants you to “act normal” and “brace yourself”.
For the first time in Down Under Berlin’s history, the opening night film will be a New Zealand feature – independent drama Stray by award winning writer and director Dustin Feneley. With its stunning cinematography and sparse dialogue, Dustin Feneley’s feature film debut is a modern classic, holding the record for the highest amount ever raised through crowdfunding for a New Zealand film.
Featuring the talents of Kieran Charnock (The Rehearsal, Cleaver ) and Kosovar actress Arta Dobroshi (Lorna’s Silence) Stray has won several prestigious awards including the Australian Directors Guild Award 2019 for Best Direction and the Silver Saint George Award 2018 for Best Actor at the 2018 Moscow International Film Festival.
Closing night film will be Richard Lowenstein’s Mystify: Michael Hutchence - an absolute must-see doco about the talented and charismatic INXS frontman. Lowenstein – director of numerous INXS music videos and cult classic He Died With a Felafel in His Hand – gives an intimate glimpse into the turbulent life and the untimely passing of the INXS frontman.
With rare archival footage made by Hutchence himself and recent interviews with former girlfriends Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen as well as family, friends and fellow musicians, the film is a powerful tribute to a complex and shy man who spent the bulk of his life in the public eye, rarely revealing his true self to anyone except his very close friends.
Leading an array of poignant documentaries is Gabrielle Brady’s highly acclaimed Island of the Hungry Ghosts was made with the support of Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, BFI’s Film Fund and Screen Territory.
Among other accolades, the film received the Best Documentary Feature Award at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for the German Documentary Award 2019.
Made over eight years, Martin Thomas’s and Béatrice Bijon’s documentary Etched in Bone gives extraordinary inside into the deep and enduring conflict between scientific and traditional forms of knowledge.
Focussing upon a ceremony created by an Aboriginal elder from Arnhem Land in northern Australia, the film brings lived Indigenous culture to the screen, while tackling essential political questions about repatriation and social responsibility.
Once again Down Under Berlin presents a vast and carefully curated short film program, featuring four Australian and two New Zealand short film slots that represent all that makes up this year's motto "EmBrace Yourself": 2018’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner – Charles Williams’ deeply personal All These Creatures – and Jaina Kalifa's moving short doco Happy Android both depict the struggle with and repercussions of mental illness.
Lucy Knox's An Act of Love and Alison James’s Judas Collar highlight the distinction between finding and sacrificing oneself; and Adrian Chiarella's Black Lips and Madeleine Gottlieb's I F***ed a Mermaid and No One Believes Me shows what makes Australian and New Zealand cinema so lovable and unique – its stunnning cinematography and quirky humour. Audiences can expect a huge number of German or European premieres as well as the attendance of various film team members.
With its straightforward shooting style that focuses on details and performance above all else, Book Week is a clever, honest and sometimes rakish comedy that takes place in the most common of suburban settings.
Featuring talents such as Alan Dukes, Airlie Dodds and Susan Prior the comedy about a cantankerous English teacher and disgraced author this award-winning comedy is not to be missed.
Filmmakers Caitlin Farrugia and Michael Jones like to create replicas of real life, always crafting stories from their experiences or borrowed experiences.
Their feature Maybe Tomorrow that expresses exactly what so many independent filmmakers and struggling artists feel is a modern and nuanced film that successfully balances between comedy and drama.
Program Schedule 2019
Please note that the closing night reception on Sunday, 29 Sep, will take place at 6:30pm BEFORE the screening of Mystify: Michael Hutchence.
The info in the printed program brochures is outdated.
201926sep7:45 pmStrayDustin Feneley| NZ | 2018| Drama | 104min | English| German Premiere7:45 pm Country:New ZealandGenre:DramaPremiere Status:GermanFilm Tags:Festival Opening,Followed by Reception,With Introduction
201927sep3:30 pmKiwi Shorts - Take 1Diverse directors | NZ | 2018-2019 | 79 min | English, Samoan w. English subtitles | Diverse Premieres3:30 pm Country:New ZealandGenre:Comedy,DramaPremiere Status:Berlin,European,German,World
201927sep8:00 pmIsland of the Hungry GhostsGabrielle Brady | AUS, DE, UK | 2018 | Documentary | 94 min | English, Chinese/French w. English subtitles | Berlin Premiere8:00 pm Country:AustraliaGenre:DocumentaryPremiere Status:EuropeanFilm Tags:Film Team in Attendance,With Q&A
201927sep10:30 pmAussie Shorts - Take 1Diverse directors | AUS | 2018 | 81 min | English | Diverse Premieres10:30 pm Country:AustraliaGenre:Comedy,Documentary,Drama,HorrorPremiere Status:European,German
201928sep2:00 pmLove in the Time of AntidepressantsPaul Gallasch | AUS, ITA | 2018 | Documentary | 68 min | English w. English subtitles | German Premiere2:00 pm Country:AustraliaGenre:DocumentaryPremiere Status:German
201928sep3:45 pmAustralian Short Film TodayDiverse directors | AUS | 2017-2019 | 77 min | English, Chinese w. English subtitles | Diverse Premieres3:45 pm Country:AustraliaGenre:Comedy,Drama,SciFiPremiere Status:European,German
201928sep8:00 pmAussie Shorts - Take 2Diverse directors | AUS | 2018-2019 | 85 min | English | Diverse Premieres8:00 pm Country:AustraliaGenre:Comedy,Documentary,DramaPremiere Status:Berlin,European,InternationalFilm Tags:Filmmaker in Attendance,With Q&A
201929sep2:00 pmEtched in BoneMartin Thomas, Béatrice Bijon | AUS | 2018 | Documentary | 73 min | English | German Premiere2:00 pm Country:AustraliaGenre:DocumentaryPremiere Status:GermanFilm Tags:Filmmaker in Attendance,With Q&A
201929sep4:00 pmAussie Shorts - Take 3Diverse directors | AUS | 2018-2019 | 82 min | English, diverse w. English subtitles | Diverse Premieres4:00 pm Country:AustraliaGenre:Comedy,Documentary,Drama,ThrillerPremiere Status:Berlin,GermanFilm Tags:Film Team in Attendance,Filmmaker in Attendance,With Q&A
201929sep6:15 pmKiwi Shorts - Take 2Diverse directors | NZ | 2017-2018 | 81 min | English, Samoan & Hindi w. English subtitles | Diverse Premieres6:15 pm Country:New ZealandGenre:Comedy,Documentary,Drama,IndigenousPremiere Status:European,German
Tickets, Venue & Accreditations
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Regular Price: 9 EUR
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* No other discounts available.
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Bus M41 or M29 to Hermannplatz
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