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A documentary playlist

27 August 2020 at 7:57 am
Looking for something to watch? To help those of us still in lockdown and those who just love documentaries, Documentary Australia Foundation has pulled together a playlist of films that are available to watch at the moment.

Contributor | 27 August 2020 at 7:57 am


A documentary playlist
27 August 2020 at 7:57 am

Looking for something to watch? To help those of us still in lockdown and those who just love documentaries, Documentary Australia Foundation has pulled together a playlist of films that are available to watch at the moment.

For when you want to remember your teenage dreams of being a rockstar


No Time For Quiet

Synopsis: During a long hot summer, 40 girls and gender diverse youth aged 11 to 17 converge in Brunswick for the inaugural week-long GIRLS ROCK! MELBOURNE Camp. Greeting them are local female rock legends, punked up teachers, students and youth workers, all keen to empower each of the participants through rock n roll. Over the course of the week, and months after camp, we follow three participants as they struggle to find their sense of belonging and identity through music.

Where to watch: ABC iview


Paul Kelly: Stories of Me

Synopsis: Stories of Me charts the lives, loves and losses of Paul Kelly, Australia’s most gifted contemporary singer-songwriter. A former altar boy, dux of his school, sports champion and grandson of opera singers, Kelly has penned over 350 songs about love, sex, death, history and geography which draw on a highly eclectic range of inspirations – literary, musical, artistic and sporting. His songs describe the physical terrain and the emotional landscapes he, and we, have all walked through.

Kelly is a storyteller who speaks to all Australians, whatever age or gender. Collaborating with Indigenous musicians, young performers, filmmakers, playwrights, he has created many of the most important songs of our times. Over 40 years, Paul Kelly has seen failure and success. And he has the songs to show for it. A very private person in a public career, Stories of Me, reveals the man and his music for the first time.

Where to watch: DocPlay


Don’t Stop the Music

Synopsis: A school principal joins forces with musical experts and best-selling musician Guy Sebastian on a mission to transform the lives of disadvantaged Aussie kids through the power of music.

Where to watch: DocPlay


For when you want a fun home learning lesson for your kids


Are you tougher than your ancestors?

Synopsis: Are you tougher than your ancestors? is a fun and immersive living history series that pits the skills of today’s kids against the exploits of children from Australia’s past, to find out how they measure up! Fun and fast paced, the series takes today’s kids on a wild ride back through time, where they learn as much about themselves as they do about history.

Drawing from our rich Indigenous and multicultural heritage, the series challenges stereotypes and allows our kids to experience the past in ways they never imagined. They wrestle with disgusting chores, master mind-bending challenges and perform incredible feats of ingenuity as they get down and dirty walking a mile in the shoes of our ancestors. At the end of each episode we find out whether they were up to the task… and what they discover might just surprise us all!

Where to watch: ABC iview


That Sugar Film

Synopsis: That Sugar Film is one man’s journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as “healthy”. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves. That Sugar Film will forever change the way you think about “healthy” food.

Where to watch: DocPlay


For when you want to travel to the wide expanses of Australia


Visible Farmer

Synopsis: Visible Farmer discovers the untold stories of Australia’s incredible farming women who have long remained “invisible”. Meet Chris, the goat farmer, who has reinvented the family business into a gourmet success. Darrylin, an Indigenous cattle farmer and WA’s Rural Woman of the Year, determined to create a better future for her community and Annabelle, a young pastoralist, who fought hard for her place as farm successor, when her mother never stood a chance. From remote outback stations to urban market gardens – it’s a journey that will change your perception of who a farmer is.

Where to watch: YouTube

See also: Doco of the Month – Visible Farmer

Putuparri and The Rainmakers

Synopsis: A story of love, hope and the survival of Aboriginal law and culture against all odds.
Putuparri and The Rainmakers is a universal story about the sacred relationship between people and place. It takes audiences on a rare and emotional journey to meet the traditional rainmakers of Australia’s Great Sandy Desert who have fought a 20-year battle to win back their traditional homeland.

The film spans 10 transformative years in the life of Tom “Putuparri” Lawford as he navigates the deep chasm between his Western upbringing and his growing determination to fight for his family’s homeland. A trip back to his grandparent’s “country” in the desert begins the process of cultural awakening.
Set against the backdrop of their long fight to reclaim their traditional lands, Putuparri and The Rainmakers is an emotional, visually breathtaking story of love, hope and the survival of Aboriginal law and culture against all odds.

Where to watch: DocPlay


Outback Rabbis

Synopsis: Frisco Kid meets Priscilla Queen of the Desert. On a road trip like no other ultra-Orthodox Chassidic Rabbis hit the Aussie bush looking for “lost Jews”. Leaving the comfort of Melbourne Jewish life, two Rabbis and their families are heading into the heart of Australia on a journey filled with surprising and emotional encounters with Aussie outback characters and laced with Jewish wit, music and culture.

Where to watch: DocPlay


For when you want to be inspired about our future


Youth on Strike

Synopsis: In March 2019 over 150,000 Australian students went on strike to demand climate change action. They risked their studies to unite their generation, while still doing their homework. This is the story of how young Aussies defied calls to stay in school and organised one of the largest youth-led movements Australia has ever seen, told by twelve diverse students who vlogged the whole thing. These young people shared their stories of who they are and captured what it took to organise a movement. Using only footage recorded by the students, this is their story, this is Youth On Strike!

Where to watch: YouTube – Ep 1, Ep 2, Ep 3



Synopsis: Join the regeneration. Award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary with dramatised sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world for future generations.
Drawing on the best minds from around the world to focus on climate, economics, technology, civil society, agriculture and sustainability, 2040 maps out a pathway for change that can lead us to a more ecologically sustainable and equitable future.

Where to watch: DocPlay

See also: Doco of the Month – 2040

For when you’re craving being immersed in nature



Synopsis: A cinematic and musical odyssey. Only three centuries ago, setting out to climb a mountain would have been considered close to lunacy. Mountains were places of peril, not beauty, an upper world to be shunned, not sought out. Why do mountains now hold us spellbound, drawing us into their dominion, often at the cost of our lives?

Mountain is a cinematic and musical collaboration between acclaimed director Jennifer Peedom (SHERPA) and the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), one of the greatest chamber orchestras in the world. Shot by the world’s best adventure cinematographers and written by best-selling author Robert Macfarlane, this feature documentary will explore the troubled and triumphant history of our timeless fascination with mountains.

Where to watch: DocPlay



Synopsis: BLUE is the story our generation needs to hear. The industrialisation that has occurred in the oceans over the last century, mirrors the events that triggered mass extinctions on land. Industrial scale fishing, habitat destruction, species loss and pollution have placed the ocean in peril. The very nature of the sea is being irretrievably altered. BLUE is a provocative journey into the ocean realm, witnessing this critical moment in time when the marine world is on a precipice.

Where to watch: DocPlay

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