• Zhenshi van der Klooster and Sarah Mason

    Zhenshi van der Klooster and Sarah Mason

  • Lauren Harvey, Josie St Flour and Jacqui Mallins

    Lauren Harvey, Josie St Flour and Jacqui Mallins

  • Candy Royalle

    Candy Royalle

  • Candy Royalle

    Candy Royalle

  • Soc Kochinos and his son Nicholas Kochinos

    Soc Kochinos and his son Nicholas Kochinos

  • Jenny Devlin, Alice Kingsland, Sabine Ryan and Sophie Baker

    Jenny Devlin, Alice Kingsland, Sabine Ryan and Sophie Baker

  • Simon Weaving and Director of LIFE, ANIMATED, Roger Ross Williams

    Simon Weaving and Director of LIFE, ANIMATED, Roger Ross Williams

  • Festival Co-ordinator Sophia Hamblin Wang

    Festival Co-ordinator Sophia Hamblin Wang

  • Miki Matsukawa and Frank Vincent

    Miki Matsukawa and Frank Vincent

  • Barbara Preston and Mirah Lambert

    Barbara Preston and Mirah Lambert

  • Brian and Helen O'Rourke

    Brian and Helen O'Rourke

  • Musician Felix Machiridza

    Musician Felix Machiridza

  • Marina Lobastou and Dave Burke

    Marina Lobastou and Dave Burke

  • Diana and Chris Knight

    Diana and Chris Knight

  • 'Stronger Than Fiction' festival co-directors Simon Weaving and Deb Kingsland

    'Stronger Than Fiction' festival co-directors Simon Weaving and Deb Kingsland

  • Sam Langley and Sam Duke

    Sam Langley and Sam Duke

  • Ralph Chalmers of Eden Road Wines with Ross and Sue Kingsland

    Ralph Chalmers of Eden Road Wines with Ross and Sue Kingsland

  • Carolyn and Lyn .......besties.

    Carolyn and Lyn .......besties.

  • Deb Kingsland, Ross and Sue Kingsland and Carolyn Voss

    Deb Kingsland, Ross and Sue Kingsland and Carolyn Voss

  • Eden Road Wines....at the ready.

    Eden Road Wines....at the ready.

Stronger Than Fiction: Documentary Film Festival 2016

31 July 2016

While a good movie can take you out of your ordinary life to everything from yesterday, today and tomorrow, the art of documentaries is another genre altogether. It is story telling at its very best and opens our eyes and minds to things we never knew about, probably didn’t give a toss about and ultimately learn about and marvel at, in this complex world we inhabit.

Diverse subjects, life affirming and uplifting ones, complex issues and the wonder of discovering about the lives and some extraordinary experiences were among the Stronger Than Fiction program of documentaries chosen for the 2016 festival that wrapped up on Sunday night with the fabulous and feisty Sonita, directed by Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami.

Sonita is a 16 year old Afghan refugee living in Tehran with her sister and niece. Her family in Afghanistan wants to sell her into marriage so her brother can collect the money and buy his own wife. Defiant and determined, Sonita uses her powerful voice, a music video and talent as a rapper to find a way out of the situation with the camera her conduit to freedom. She’s just one who made it. You despair for all the other young girls caught in this bride trading market.

Meeting the director of LIFE, ANIMATED , Roger Ross Williams, you realise that the creating of a documentary can and does take over the life of the director, the subject and all those connected with the project. And for this autistic boy who finds a method of communicating through Disney characters the untangling of the complexities of his gibberish is so uplifting and a story to impel us to always look for another way to communicate. A little bit of magic, a lot of Disney memories and a better understanding of autism.

Jim: The James Foley Story was heart wrenching. It follows Foley’s life from childhood to his death so chillingly documented – but not shown – at the barbaric hands of ISIS. His family, friends and colleagues all contributed and you get a picture of a restless but sensitive man following conflicts for his stories, prepared to divest himself of most comforts and connections in pursuit of the story. It raises questions about hostage negotiations, the quest for stories to satisfy our insatiable hunger for news now on the 24/7 cycle and the photo- journalists, a disparate band of brothers and sisters, who are prepared to take unconscionable risks to get them.

Some of the documentaries will find their way into general release. And as a counter for the pap that poses as a blockbuster or another in a series that should never have gone further than the original, keep an eye out for a documentary for a change.

 Congratulations to the Stronger Than Fiction team for an eclectic mix of documentaries and the range of emotions and respect they engendered.