Amazing documentaries at this year’s Antenna Festival

Amazing documentaries at this year’s Antenna Festival
Image: IN RESTLESS DREAMS: THE MUSIC OF PAUL SIMON, Antenna Documentary Film Festival

The Antenna Documentary Film Festival kicks off for its 12th year with David Rokach, the founder and Director, at the helm.

Antenna is the most important documentary film festival in Australia, and showcases the world’s best new documentaries, with the mission to promote, celebrate and champion creative documentary cinema as one of the most exciting means by which we can connect to the contemporary world. Each year, Rokach and the Antenna team search the globe for the latest documentaries, and handpick 50 outstanding nonfiction works.

But Antenna is more than just screening films. During the 10 days of the festival, there are seminars, talks, panel discussions and Q&A sessions. Antenna also runs an industry conference (DocTalk), professional development programs (Rough Cut Lab) and awards with cash prizes, fostering the next generation of documentary filmmakers.

David Rokach is an impressive figure in the documentary world. 

20 DAYS IN MARIUPOL, Antenna Documentary Film Festival

Antenna has thrived under his leadership, establishing itself as one of Australia’s most respected film festivals. Rokach is widely recognised for his uncompromising curatorial vision, a key factor in the festival’s enduring success and growth. 

Major featured films include the celebrated 20 Days In Mariupol directed by Mstyslav Chernov. When Vladimir Putin announced a ‘special military operation’ on 24 February 2022, Associated Press journalists Mystlav Chernov, Vasilisa Stepanenko, and Evgeniy Maloletka headed immediately to Mariupol, the eastern Ukrainian city just 60 kilometres from the Russian border.

Winner of the Sundance Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary, this devastating war diary is required viewing. The screening will be followed by a talk featuring POLITICO’s contributing editor Zoya Sheftalovich in conversation with Plus61J Media commissioning editor Michael Visontay. 

HOLLYWOODGATE, Antenna Documentary Film Festival

Other notable films include In Restless Dreams: The Music Of Paul Simon. Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney directs the definitive documentary about Paul Simon’s legendary Grammy Award-winning career. In the film, Gibney and Simon journey through a dreamlike world, an absorbing portrait of an artist, that transcends both time and space moving freely between present and past, showcasing both his music making in the here-and-now and a unique peek into his career, from Tom & Jerry to Simon & Garfunkel to the triumphs of Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints.

Hollywoodgate, from Ibrahim Nash’at is an extraordinary view of the tragedy of Afghanistan. U.S. foreign policy can seem like an exercise in forgetting: fighting and losing wars and then leaving the battlefield behind (Vietnam, El Salvador, Iraq). Ibrahim Nash’at’s courageous film serves as an act of collective memory—a painfully intimate portrait of post-war Afghanistan, a country Americans spent two decades invading and occupying before suddenly departing. With unparalleled access to the victorious Taliban regime, Nash’at, an Egyptian documentarian, silently looks over the shoulders of a government minister and an Air Force officer as they prepare for a new era of power.

Along with the film selection, DocTalk is a full-day industry event featuring a curated program of master classes and panels from a range of leading international and Australian filmmakers and industry figures. Directors, producers, commissioning editors, funders and other key stakeholders provide unique perspectives and insider knowledge of what’s happening right now across the industry.

February 9 – 19

The full program can be found online at


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