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Opening the 2012 Antenna Documentary Festival (Oct 10 - 14, 2012) for its Sydney premiere will be the daring exposé from Danish director Mads Brugger, The Ambassador (Denmark, 2011). This unique and at times shocking documentary follows journalist/director Brugger who, with surprising ease, buys himself a consular posting to the Central African Republic, and with this undercover guise, investigates the country’s access to ‘blood’ diamonds and meets murderous thugs, shady opportunists and crooked diplomats - all the while recording his dangerous encounters on hidden camera.

With a line-up of 30 feature length documentaries originating from over 15 countries, Antenna Documentary Festival returns for its second year; the festival will take place in Sydney from 10th to 14th October with 15 Australian premieres and 12 Sydney premieres, with extra venues to include Dendy Newtown, Dendy Opera Quays, The State Library of NSW and The Art Gallery of NSW.

“This exciting expansion in locations enables us to showcase our 2012 programme, featuring a variety of outstanding international and local documentaries, to a wider audience of Australians,” said Antenna Founding Director, David Rokach. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to have a presence in these additional cinemas, reaching an audience with an increasingly-strong appetite for documentary films on the big screen,” 

Other key films include acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss (Germany/England/USA, 2011). The film explores death row - and death itself - through its occupants, their executioners, their victims and their victims’ families.

"first kiss on national television from Vladimir Putin"

Winner of the 2012 Sundance ‘World Cinema Cinematographer Award’, Putin’s Kiss (Denmark, 2012) will have its Australian premiere at Antenna. The film presents a modern view of Russia and its at times fragile democracy through the story of Masha Drokova. A pin-up girl for Nashi - an increasingly popular political youth organisation in Russia - Masha was catapulted to fame when she received her first kiss on national television from Vladimir Putin. Masha is stunned when a friend who was critical of Nashi is horrifically assaulted, and her journey to discover the truth about what happened shakes her to the core and forces her to make one of the biggest decisions of her life.

5 Broken Cameras (Palestine/Israel/France, 2011) is the winner of the Directing Award for World Documentary at Sundance (2012). This powerful film is a six-year epic documenting a Palestinian farmer’s family’s growth and chronicles his non-violent resistance to the Israeli army.

Girl Model (USA, 2011) provides stark insight to the fashion industry’s obsession with youth and beauty, centring on thirteen-year-old Nadia who is whisked away from sub-zero temperatures and poverty in Siberia to model in Japan. Co-directors Ashley Sabin and David Redmon’s subtle observational exploration of human exploitation and global trafficking is terrifying in both its cruelty and simplicity.

Another notable documentary in the line-up is the heart-warming Italy: Love It Or Leave It (Italy/Germany, 2012), which follows filmmakers - and proud Italians - Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi as they explore the increasingly lower standards of living, economic woes and political disharmony in Italy and decide whether they should stay, or test their fortunes elsewhere. Looking for answers, they embark on a six-month road trip around the famous sites of this fallen giant.

"a tribute to legendary French filmmaker"

Call Me Kuchu (USA, 2012) has been selected as Antenna’s Closing Night film. Winner of the ‘Best Documentary Award’ at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival, Call Me Kuchu tells the story of the life and death of Uganda’s first openly gay man, David Kato. His courageous work as an activist combating prosecution for homosexuality only to meet a brutal and tragic murder sent shockwaves around the world.

Special events in this year’s program include a tribute to legendary French filmmaker Agnes Varda. Varda is much revered across the globe for her deconstruction of the documentary form and her boundary-pushing work. In collaboration with the Art Gallery of NSW, Antenna will screen her films The Beaches of Agnes (2008), The Gleaners and I (2000) and Cleo From 5 to 7 (1985).

Published August 9, 2012

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The Ambassador

Call Me Kuchu

Girl Model

Italy: Love It Leave It

Festival tickets are available through the Dendy Cinemas box offices, online at www.dendy.com.au or by calling the box offices on: Dendy Newtown – (02) 9550 5699 / Dendy Opera Quays – (02) 9247 3800.

Single sessions: Adult $17/ Concession $14.50
Multiple Passes:
3 film pass: $45
5 film pass: $70
10 film pass: $130

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