We’re indulging in a healthy amount of escapism this autumn, dreaming of exotic locales with the Spanish Film Festival, adventuring the high seas with the Ocean Film Festival, and performing reckless stunts with the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Will Gadd climbing Louise Falls (photography Kennan Harvey)

Banff Mountain Film Festival

For a week in May, sitting in a movie theatre becomes the sport of choice for adrenalin junkies – and couch potatoes get their adventure fix with a side of popcorn. The Banff Mountain Film Festival, a showcase of the best of mountain-culture docos, is a must-see, whether your appetite for adventure is voracious or vicarious. Director Jemima Robinson recommends Africa Fusion, a climbing film that features Banff alumni Hazel Findlay and Alex Honnold – expect a comical study of their relationship, and gorgeous shots of South Africa. She also praises Into The Empty Quarter, which follows two British adventurers trying to emulate Wilfred Thesiger’s journey through the Arabian Peninsula. “This film is full of highs and lows, as well as the surprise discovery of a country filled with people who are kind, curious, generous and endlessly helpful,” says Jemima.
State Theatre Centre, May 4-9.

Family United

Spanish Film Festival

Palace Cinemas is bringing the best of Spanish-speaking film to Perth once again, with an electrifying selection of Spanish, Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Mexican and Argentinian films. National festivals manager Genevieve Kelly reckons Perth locals flock to the festival for more than just the complementary empanadas and Spanish Cava. “There is a certain humour and sex appeal that attracts people to the Spanish culture,” she explains. Although tight-lipped about the yet-to-be-released program, she tells us the opening night film is going to be a banger. She also let slip there’ll be a number of thrillers that caused a buzz on the Spanish film scene.
Date and venue TBA.

The Look of Silence

Revelation Film Festival

Perth’s only international film festival is back. According to Revelation’s Suzanne Worner, you can’t afford to miss these three films.
Various venues, July 2-15. 

1. H
This apocalyptic narrative follows two women named Helen, who live in the same town but never interact. The characters lead lives that are as much mundane as they are absurd – for example, the older Helen has a preoccupation with her ‘child’, a lifelike baby doll. As the movie develops, it gets more surreal, heightened by Daniel Garcia’s dreamlike filmmaking.

2. The Look of Silence
The follow up to the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary The Act Of Killing, this documentary continues to examine the Indonesian genocide of 1965, this time through the prism of optometrist Adi, whose brother numbered among the victims. Through his casual conversations with the townspeople, the horrors of the genocide – and its profound effects – are revealed. 

3. When My Sorrow Died: The Legend of Armen Ra and the Theremin
This documentary has pocketed a slew of awards at film festivals around the world, and for good reason: it’s heartfelt, evocative and moving. Armen Ra, a master of the theremin – the only instrument that is played without physical touch – has musical abilities that are considered almost magical. The film explores his childhood, inspirations, and relationships, including high-profile friends like US performance artist Amanda Lepore and NY fashion visionary Patricia Field.


Human Rights Arts and Film Festival

The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is an antidote to brainless blockbusters, a selection of thoughtful, challenging films with a social conscience. Make sure to see Difret, a powerful film produced by Angelina Jolie that recounts the true story of Ethiopian teen Hiruit, who was abducted when she was walking home from school by a group of men intending to marry her off. The 14-year-old escaped by killing her would-be husband, but because the practice of telefa – marriage by abduction – was legal, she was convicted of murder. You couldn’t have made up a more affecting tale of human rights if you tried.
Cinema Paradiso, June 2-4.

Ocean Film Festival

Stash tissues in your drink holder: the lead film of the Ocean Film Festival is a tearjerker. The forty-minute movie delves into the life of Bruno, a keen surfer and diver who was the victim of car-jacking in South Africa that left him a paraplegic. Plunged into depression, he decided to end his life in the ocean – but a freak wave changed the course of his life forever. “The film is stunning and inspirational,” says program director Jemima Robinson. “Bruno is a great character and a great guy.” Also on our must-watch list is Swell Chasers, a film produced by veteran surf filmmaker Tim Bonython, about big-wave surfers and three monster-wave destinations – one of them WA’s own ‘The Right’.
State Theatre Centre, April 22-23.



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