American film critic and theorist Bill Nichols once said that documentaries are an art form that “address the world in which we live rather than a world imagined by the filmmaker”. Since its conception in the early 1920s with Nanook of the North, documentaries have expanded and evolved to engage with viewers through representation.

Documentaries hold the unique characteristic of telling stories of real-life situations and experiences, something that should be held dearly. They can inspire, enlighten, entertain and inform. In an era where 60-second videos and internet memes are the height of our social, cultural and political awareness, the art of documentary filmmaking needs to be preserved, appreciated and celebrated now more than ever.

To get an all access double pass to the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival and a $50 food and drink voucher for Long Play, enter through Amplified

If you’re not already a member, use the promo code mdff to get your free $99 membership.


One in five people living in Australia have experienced racial discrimination and the country’s denial of this is outstandingly persistent. Standing silently in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD with a simple and clear message in hand; “Stop Racism Now”. Melbournians will recognise Jafri Ibra as the peaceful protestor who frequently campaigns in front of Flinders Street station. The Ugandan refugee comes face to face with blatant racist remarks and in 2016, after almost a year of his passive demonstration, he was pepper-sprayed by police for “standing in the middle of the street.” Australia’s Most Hugged Man, directed by Hannah Conn, follows Jafri’s story, giving insight into the reality of the undeniable issue of racism in Australia.


What’s often perceived as an art form for males, Girl Power is a big middle finger up to the sexist belief that graffiti art is a boys only club. Filmed over a whopping seven years, Czech graffiti artist SANY takes an in-depth look at the graffiti world through the lens of multiple female artists from across the globe. The documentary is completely empowering for women, seeing the light of day regardless of the hurdles faced by SANY during the making of the film. 


A chilling and distressing reality of our world today is the amount of lives lost due to mental illness; lives that could have been saved through accessible help and mental health services. Research has found that despite access to insurance has improved, 56% of American adults suffering from mental illnesses did not receive treatment and an even more alarming rate of 80% of youths receive insufficient amounts of help, to no help at all. God Knows Where I Am is an unsettling but moving documentary that examines the story of one woman’s lost battle with mental illness.


“Everyone has the right to move, but not everyone has the freedom to move.” Running a marathon is a seemingly ordinary activity, but perhaps not so ordinary when you are in the grit of political strain. A pressing issue that’s unfortunately still unresolved to this day, A Running Occupation aims to deliver a fresh perspective on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. An official marathon is recognised as a race run over 42 kilometres, however a group of Palestinians must conform to the restricted space caused by the geography and tensions of the West Bank, compelling them to run four times along the “apartheid wall”, a ten-kilometre course that runs through the heart of Bethlehem.

As a society we are often reluctant to accept facts that are hard to swallow. The art of documentary filmmaking is paramount to exploring issues and does so in an extraordinary way; painting snapshots of reality from behind the camera lens.

The above documentaries can be seen at Melbourne Documentary Film Festival which will run from July 9 – 16 across four venues. The festival will feature an array of documentaries in competition over eight days. MDFF promises to deliver a range of work from all over the world, including over 40 submissions from Australia, as well as hosting important guests like Costa Botes (Candy Man, Forgotten Silver, LOTR), John Pritchard (One Heart, One Spirit) and Jack Thompson (The Man from Snowy River, Breaker Morant).

To get an all access double pass to the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival and a $50 food and drink voucher to Long Play, enter through Amplified

If you’re not already a member, use the promo code mdff to get your free $99 membership.