Bye-bye Down Under Berlin 2016!
We could not have asked for more. Thanks to everyone who was involved in the 6th edition of Down Under Berlin. It was such a success! The theme this year was “Life Happens” and we presented a fantastic selection of stories from around Australia and New Zealand, which captured the stories of love and friendship, loss and regret, coming-of-age, finding oneself and how the choices we make define our lives.
We opened the festival with a sold out session of Australia’s first Indigenous contemporary dance film: Spear (2015) by acclaimed choreographer Stephen Page who brings Bangarra Dance Theatre’s outstanding work to the screen. As for the closing: In keeping with Down Under Berlin tradition we picked an absolute cinematic banger for the big finale and hosted the German premiere of Taika Waititi’s universally acclaimed hit comedy Hunt For the Wilderpeople (2016). In fact, it turned out to be the most successful screening event in Down Under Berlin history! Head over to our blog for our festival wrap-up and find out who took out the audience awards for “Best Film” and “Best Short Film” this year.
A bucket load of great short films
If you love short film we had lots in store for you this year. Not only did we screen a short film before – almost all – feature presentations, but we also curated short film programs presenting the best submissions of this year. There were four slots to choose from and each one was a real treat: The Future is Now, Friends and Fools, Hope and Betrayal and Lucky Dip.
Some of the filmmakers who couldn’t attend the film festival this year sent us special video messages to introduce their films and say hi to our audience:
We had fabulous and heartfelt documentaries for you to see this year: Farshid Akhlaghipour brought us refugee stories in The Drowned Dreams (2015). The screening of his documentary was followed by a discussion with Dr. phil. Babette Gekeler from the Institute of Medical Psychology at Berlin’s Charité. While The Ground We Won (2015) by Christopher Pryor and Miriam Smith is a visually stunning documentary studying manhood through the rites and rituals of a rural New Zealand rugby club.
Independent Feature Films
We are extremely happy – to say the least – to see an increase in feature-length submissions. You will have probably noticed it too when taking a closer look at our film program. Films such as Shane T. Hall’s thriller Concealed (2013), the mystery drama Love Is Now (2014) by Jim Lounsbury, the animated feature The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead and Roundhead (2014) by Elliot Cowan, or the romantic comedy Pop-Up (2015) illustrate Down Under Berlin’s diverse film program. On top of that, we had the pleasure to host the German premieres of Heath Davis’s drama Broke (2016) and Curtis Vowell’s festival hit Fantail (2013).
Interviews and Q&A sessions with attending filmmakers
A very special component of the festival program was the chance to attend Q&A sessions with some of this year’s filmmakers. A good number of talented individuals from the film industry made their way to Berlin especially for the festival. In the case of Stuart McBratney, director of Pop-up, the audience enjoyed a very personal skype chat in our festival lounge. There was ample opportunity to stick around for discussions after a screening or mingle with filmmakers and the DUB team at the 2016 Festival Party. Video documentation of Q&A sessions and interviews with filmmaker are now available on our YouTube channel.
Classic cinema from Down Under
DUB loves to throw a classic kickback in the mix, so this year we showed the New Zealand action-packed thriller Sleeping Dogs (1977). We invited audiences to indulge in a fantastic performance by the young Sam Neill and experience one of the milestones of New Zealand’s New Wave of feature film productions.
We’ll see you at the movies!
IN THE MEDIA<<
“This year’s Down Under Berlin festival will further challenge the Antipodean myth of sun and surf with a blend of socially conscious films and deeply troubled protagonists.” – ExBerliner, 8 September 2016
“Vom 14. bis zum 18. September zeigt das australisch-neuseeländische Festival wieder, dass der fünfte Kontinent nicht nur als Star-Exporteur für Hollywood interessant ist.”
– Critic.de, 13 September 2016
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