Life on the Edge
Australasia’s premier international documentary film festival – now in its 14th year – Doc Edge Festival is all about promoting documentary film culture to New Zealand audiences and on a global stage. Now an Oscar-qualifying festival, the event staged annually is held in Auckland and Wellington, showcasing the very best documentary films from New Zealand and around the world.
The 2019 Doc Edge Festival programme runs the gamut of must-see real-life stories that wrestle with politics, human rights, culture, crime and remarkable individuals who triumph against the odds.
Staged by The Documentary New Zealand Trust, this year’s festival offers up an incredible 65 films, a feast for avid documentary watchers, with a little something for everyone – even those new to the scene. The full festival programme is neatly divided into categories to help you easily navigate your viewing itinerary over the course of the 11-day festival across several iconic locations in both cities.
Here’s a taste from a few of the notable categories
With lively commentary from the likes of actor John Cleese, LGBTQ+ activist Vladimir Luxuria, the delightfully entertaining and timely new film Assholes: A Theory (Canada) will open the festival season. Acclaimed director John Walker delves into contemporary ‘asshole culture’ and searches for signs of civility through a philosophical investigation into the behaviour of assholes across the world.
In an equally fascinating and intimate debut film, Kabul, City in the Wind, director Aboozar Amin (who himself fled Afghanistan when he was younger) explores Kabul through the sobering and warm account of daily life, told through the eyes of a bus driver, and two young brothers. Stunningly shot portraits allow the subjects to speak directly about their dreams and fears and provide a glimpse into the colourful inhabitants of a city that has experienced decades of war and remains the target of terrorist attacks.
The multi award-winning and visually poetic film Honeyland is a testimony to one woman’s resilience and an exploration of the delicate relationship between humankind and nature. Set in an isolated mountain region of the Balkans, the film paints a touching and wistful portrait of Hatidze, the last female wild beekeeper in Europe, as she struggles to save her bees and restore natural balance against invasion from a family of nomadic beekeepers. The film was awarded the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize, Special Jury Award for Impact Change and Special Jury Award for Cinematography at this year’s prestigious Sundance Film Festival and is the debut documentary for directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov.
Closing out 4 weeks of documentary fever is The Men’s Room (Norway) by filmmakers Petter Sommer and Jo Vemud Svendsen. The film follows 25 tattooed, middle-aged men who make up a group of amateur singers landing their most absurd gig ever, supporting Black Sabbath.
Doc Edge Festival 2019 screens in Auckland from May 30 – June 9 at the Q Theatre, Ellen Melville Centre and Auckland Art Gallery. In Wellington from June 13-23 at Roxy Cinema, Te Auaha and Light House Cuba. For ticketing information, click here.