PUBLISHED08 Oct 2021

Brisbane International Film Festival 2021

Check out these seven Documentary Australia approved projects screening at BIFF from the 21st - 31st of October

The 27th annual Brisbane International Film Festival is back over 11 days to celebrate storytellers and invite audiences to be entertained by the vast array of brilliant, unforgettable and diverse films.

We are excited to see seven projects approved by Documentary Australia Foundation sharing their story with audiences in Brisbane.  Check them out below and book your tickets today!


Entrepreneur, impresario, entertainer, activist. Tiriki Onus thought he knew his grandfather Bill, until an unearthed film reel suggests he might have been the first-ever Aboriginal filmmaker.

: Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri man Bill Onus is a revered figure in Australia’s civil-rights history. After a disadvantaged upbringing at the Cummeragunja Mission, in the 1940s and 50s he ignited a struggle for Indigenous rights in collaboration with the Australian Aborigines’ League and stalwart advocates such as Douglas Nicholls and Faith Bandler. When, 70 years later, a silent film believed to have been made by Bill is discovered, his already rich legacy – and our broader understanding of the Indigenous rights movement – is thrust under a new light.

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Chef Antonio’s Recipes for Revolution

This uplifting feast of a film goes behind the scenes of an Italian hotel-restaurant staffed by youngsters living with Down syndrome.

SYNOPSIS: Nestled in Italy’s Piedmont region is the Albergo Etico and its attached restaurant, the Tacabanda. Both are run by chef-on-a-mission Antonio de Benedetto, who transforms the lives of young people living with Down syndrome by providing not just practical skills and employment, but also a second home and family in which to belong. Chef Antonio’s Recipes for Revolution follows de Benetto and protégés Mirko Piras, Jessica Berta and others as they share in laughter and love, drama and dreams, and the toil of top-notch customer service.

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Love in Bright Landscapes

An engrossing portrait of the rise and untimely demise of David McComb, the virtuosic frontman of Australian rock band The Triffids.

SYNOPSIS: Formed in 1978 in Perth, The Triffids – the band behind such hits as Wide Open Road and Bury Me Deep in Love – shot to global stardom in the 80s with their sweeping, imagistic lyrics and unique instrumentation that fused genre staples with strings and vocal harmonies. Heading up this iconic six-piece was David McComb, an intensely talented poet and singer/songwriter gifted with a plaintive, hypnotic baritone. Setbacks and burnout led to the group’s dissolution later that decade, and the 90s saw McComb attempt a solo career and eventually succumb to alcoholism and substance abuse.

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Meet the Wallers

Filmed over 20 years, we are immersed in the love, passion, fireworks and tragedy of everyday life. Meet the Wallers!

SYNOPSIS: A unique documentary that follows artist Mark Waller and his family over twenty years. Brisbane based director Jim Stevens captures a very real and uncontrived view of an artist in this heart- warming documentary.

Mark Waller loves to paint the seascapes around beautiful Lennox Head.
He is a dreamer who sees angels in the street. His obsessive belief that charity begins at home doesn’t jibe with his vivacious wife Nicole who wishes she were the charity. But Mark, the painter often can’t see what’s in front of him.

Nicole suffers depression. Their daughters, Jasmine and Emily – babies at the outset and graduates by the end of our story – negotiate their parents’ issues while juggling their own sibling rivalries. When Mark is diagnosed with a deadly Melanoma the fault lines in the Waller family erupt with surprising results.

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A cinematic and musical odyssey that explores the remarkable relationship between humans and rivers.

SYNOPSIS: Director Jennifer Peedom’s follows her record-breaking documentary Mountain with River, in collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and narrated by Willem Dafoe.

Throughout history, rivers have shaped our landscapes and our journeys; flowed through our cultures and dreams. River takes its audience on a journey through space and time; spanning six continents, and drawing on extraordinary contemporary cinematography, including satellite filming, the film shows rivers on scales and from perspectives never seen before. Its union of image, music and sparse, poetic script create a film that is both dream-like and powerful, honouring the wildness of rivers but also recognising their vulnerability. River is a spectacular cinema experience.

Strong Female Lead

A film about the shape and sound of sexism in Australian politics.

SYNOPSIS: One in three Australian women experience discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Australia’s first and only female prime minister, Julia Gillard, was one of them.

Strong Female Lead is a film about Australia’s struggle with the notion of women in power. Using only archival footage from Julia Gillard’s three-year term in office, this film is an honest portrait of the nation’s response when a woman took the top job.

People celebrated the long-awaited election of a female prime minister, but Gillard’s honeymoon period was particularly short lived. Gender based attacks from the media, parliamentary colleagues and the public were shocking in their violence and veracity.

Strong Female Lead leaves us with no doubt that Australia’s parliament is a boy’s club and if women are ever to lead on equal footing with men, it’s time for refurbishment.

Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow

Go behind the scenes, and onto the stage, of a legendary concert to discover the story of Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter, told in song – a story that should be told to every Australian.

SYNOPSIS: In 2004, one of Australia’s most iconic musical duos, Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter, joined forces with Paul Grabowsky’s Australian Art Orchestra for an extraordinary performance two years in the making. Kura Tungar: Songs from the River was a multimedia song cycle that recounted the lives of Roach and Hunter – members of the Stolen Generations who found each other – and their unrelenting love of music. Commissioned by Robyn Archer, the show was met with great acclaim and won that year’s Helpmann Award for Best Australian Contemporary Concert.

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