Melbourne International Film Festival - Our Favourite Feminist Documentaries

From Khalik Allah's  Black Mother , showing this weekend at MIFF

From Khalik Allah's Black Mother, showing this weekend at MIFF

At her words, we are all about storytelling. We believe in the power of words, and the way conversation can bring us together., educate and inspire. That’s why we do what we do, bringing you the words and stories of women from all over the country. Sometimes these stories are brought to us – and at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival, we have been spoiled for choice when it comes to incredible documentaries from all over the world. The festival is wrapping up this weekend, so we thought we would share some of our recommendations for documentaries that you can still catch before it’s over – some are funny, some are sad, and some will stay with you long after the lights have come back up.

Yours in Sisterhood

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When was the last time you wrote a letter? Ms. magazine was the first mainstream feminist magazine in the US, founded by Gloria Steinem and Letty Cottin Pogrebin at the height of the movement’s second wave. Following a deep dive into the magazine’s archive of thousands of unpublished letters to the editor, filmmaker Irene Lusztig embarked on a two-year journey around America inviting strangers to read and respond to letters on camera. The result is Yours in Sisterhood – an enlightening, poignant dialogue between feminism’s past, present and future. Many of the letters in the archive came from marginalised voices who felt excluded from the movement at the time, and the documentary is rich with these diverse perspectives.

Screening at ACMI 1 18 August at 6:30 – this screening will have open captions to assist patrons who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

The Coming Back Out Ball Movie

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In the midst of Australia’s marriage equality debate, our very own city of Melbourne was the host of a gala honouring and celebrating our LGBTQIA+ elders. LGBTQIA+ seniors have been pioneers in many ways, beginning the fight for equality in an era when being queer could land you in jail, lose you your job or worse. But as they have aged, some started going back into the closet in nursing homes or when accessing aged-care services, owing to feeling unsafe in these environments. This Gala was organised by All The Queens Men, and documented by director Sue Thomson – the ensuing documentary is a love letter to the community, with a whole lot of dancing!

Screening at ACMI 1 19 August at 1:30 – this screening will have open captions to assist patrons who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

Screening at ACMI 2 19 August at 7:15

Black Mother

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You are probably already familiar with Khalik Allah’s work from Beyonce’s Lemonade, and this documentary about his mother’s homeland of Jamaica looks to be just as stunning. From the city’s ecstatic spiritual prayers to the charismatic sex workers of the streets, Jamaica comes to life in a rhythmic, mosaic tone poem of fevered imagination, mixing Super 8mm footage, still photos and HD video to explore a land steeped in the sacred and profane, in which black women are exalted as "Mothers" of the Earth.

Screening at Kino Cinema 2 19 August

Domini Marshall