Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

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About the film

A new kind of war memorial What happens when you destroy a war memorial and what do you put in its place? These questions faced Arts Officer, Colin James, and Project Manager and Artist, Amanda Gibson as they looked for ways to replace the much-loved Greensborough War Memorial statues, which had stood for 14 years in a local park. Carved from cypress, and still rooted in the soil, moisture had crept up inside the figures and rotted them from within. Homefront – a new kind of war memorial, begins with the burning of the old statues in a ceremonial fire. What unfolds, through interviews with local war veterans, are narratives of terrible injuries, paralysing fear, humour, and love. Homefront is a rare insider’s view of a sculpture project where the people at the heart of these stories drove the design. Extraordinary footage documents the process of collecting the stories, designing sculptures and carving full-sized figures from blocks of raw cypress using chainsaws. The original carver, local legend Leigh Conkie, is joined by world champion Hikaru Kodama from Japan to realise Amanda Gibson’s designs. Joining them, blacksmith Roland Danenhauer, forges everything from an aeroplane propeller to a horse bridle, dog collar and poppies, with a well-hefted hammer and a keen eye. Together they create a new type of war memorial and a new way of telling stories of war and of homecoming.

Runtime 48 mins
Premiere Status Melbourne Premiere

Director(s) Michael Wilkins

Venue Cinema Nova

Address 380 Lygon St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia

Date July 20, 2019

Time 2:00 pm

GenresAustralian, Feature Docs, Melbourne Stories

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Reasons to Submit


The Hottest Postcode

 Melbourne, Australia has consistently been voted one of the worlds happiest and most livable cities. Our competition represents a great opportunity and reason to visit Australia. This year we had 41 guests to our festival from overseas and across Australia. Which was a combination of the festival paying for the filmmakers to attend, filmmakers paying for themselves to attend, consulates, embassies and film commissions paying for filmmakers to attend and people crowd funding to attend. The festival is a great networking opportunity.


The Coolest Cinema

 Our documentary competition will be held at Cinema Nova, one of Australia's best cinemas. All feature, shorts, video essays and documentary web series in competition will be played in DCP on a 4k projector at 24 FPS in Dolby surround sound. The cinema's we will be utilizing for the competition will be 147 to 240 seat capacity. All Q&A's will be conducted by a Film Critics Circle of Australia or Australian Film Critics Association member. We even have curated cocktails at the cinema bar and unmissable parties and networking events.


The Toughest Competition
Go head-to-head in Melbourne, Australia and test your mettle with the worlds best, and most prestigious documentary film schools and film festivals like Tribecca, Sundance, Sydney Film Festival, TIFF, Venice Film Festival, American Documentary Film Festival, Raindance, Slamdance, Sheffield Doc Fest, Hot Docs, New Zealand International Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival Doc NYC, SXSW, CPH:Dox, IDFA and many more. You're in it to win it.


Make it Australian

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is an encouraging and supportive platform for local filmmakers and commits to playing at least 40% Australian content in our 2020 fest to support the local industry. Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen West, Screen QLD, Screen NT, Screen Tasmania, Documentary Australia Foundation, AIDC, Goodpitch Australia productions are encouraged to apply. MDFF wants to have the very best Australian competition we can from local industry and indie talent. SBS, NITV and ABC productions are also eligible to apply to compete, provided that the production submitted contains new material and is effectively a directors cut.


A Fantastic Prize Pool

 Total prize pool for 2020 in cash and prizes will be over 10k. With one documentary session that will be used to raise money for a specific cause or charity TBD. As well as winning Melbourne's top honors.

Get in touch Melbourne Documentary Film Festival GBO Box 4007 Melbourne 3000