Programmer’s Picks

With just three weeks until opening night of EFFA 2018, it’s full steam ahead to bring you the best short, feature, experimental and VR films from around the world!

So how did we choose these films? And what did we learn along the way?

Over three months, our dedicated programs team watched 500 hours of content, putting careful consideration – and robust debate – into choosing the best 42 films from home and abroad from the past 12 months.

To help you choose which films to see, we asked our Programming Manager, Nathan Senn, for his top five #EFFA2018 picks – read on for more.

In the meantime, stay tuned next week as we announce our full line-up of Australian and international panelists and speakers, bringing you world-leading experts from a range of fields to help understand the environmental challenges – and opportunities for positive change – ahead.

Don’t forget to take a look at the full program, and book today to avoid missing out!

The Ancient Woods

In a year full of breathtaking wildlife documentaries, The Ancient Woods was a clear standout for our programming team. Boldly eschewing narrative and score completely, filmmaker Mindaugas Survila affords his spectacular imagery room to speak for itself. At once lyrical and majestic, the film captures the daily routines and rituals of the creatures inhabiting one of the last old growth forests in Lithuania. Spanning the seasons and documenting creatures soaring, scampering and subaqueous, The Ancient Woods is an artful take on an Attenborough-style documentary, utilising inventive filming techniques to uncover some resplendent and rarely seen wonders of our natural world.

Dark Eden

Set within the Athabasca oil sands, the largest industrial project in the world, Dark Eden follows those who have flocked to Fort McMurray to get rich – often at the expense of the environment, their own principles and even their health – and squarely asks, why? Fierce, probing and immaculately shot, this film was one of the programming team’s most universally praised films of the year. Refraining from easy judgement, the film was highly regarded for its balanced take on what is a morally complex, and extremely pertinent issue; how class and socio-economic factors can influence our treatment of the environment.

Welcome to Sodom

Acclaimed by the programming team for its immersive and other-worldly qualities, Welcome to Sodom transports the viewer to Agbogbloshie, Ghana, home to one of the most toxic sites on the planet, where over 250,000 tonnes of e-waste are dumped each year. Examining the dualistic nature of this environment, what on the surface appears like a hellish, post-apocalyptic wasteland, soon reveals its potential for hope and redemption, affording its residents the possibility of creating a sustainable future for themselves. Dark and beguiling but bursting with life, the film offers an elegiac reminder of where our e-waste ends up and the true impact it has on our environment.

Experimental Shorts

Through the process of programming, our shorts team uncovered a number of excellent experimental films that all explored ‘Environments of Contestation’, or spaces that are contested due to some sort of natural, or geo-political dispute. Examining global issues like the disorientation of the refugee experience, how climate change has impacted the meaning of home, and how technology is irrevocably changing urban landscapes, this is a truly thought-provoking package of films. It is sure to challenge and delight in equal measure and offer a more nuanced and abstracted way of understanding our ever-shifting environments.

Sleep Has Her House

Completely singular and unlike anything else submitted for programming consideration, Sleep Has Her House stood out for its hypnotic qualities and transfixing imagery. A beautiful piece of slow, experimental cinema, the film is shot entirely on an iPhone 6, utilising long shots to capture subtle changes in light and movement within shots of the Scottish countryside. Bolstered by a live, original score from the immensely talented local composer and pianist Rose Riebl, this will be a unique experience at EFFA, giving viewers the space to meditate on the more phenomenological and cosmological aspects of our relationship with nature.