Four unmissable music documentaries to catch at this year’s CinefestOZ Film Festival

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Four unmissable music documentaries to catch at this year’s CinefestOZ Film Festival

Anonymous Club by Danny Cohen

Australia’s premier destination film festival has a bunch of stellar films on offer for music lovers this year.

Returning to the magical Margaret River region for its 14th iteration this month, CinefestOZ Film Festival is a five-day celebration of all there is to love about Australian film.

Rivalling the likes of Sundance, Cannes Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival, CinefestOZ is about more than just an exciting line-up of new films that are shown there. Instead, it is a full-fledged entertainment experience in the region’s cinemas and picturesque venues, offering a host of immersive cultural events, food and wine, and glittering premieres and parties when you want to step away from the theatre.

Keep up with the latest film and TV news here.

Luckily for us music fans, this year’s program boasts an impressive selection of music documentaries that will have everyone leaving the theatre satisfied, regardless of their preferred genre of music.

There’s more than enough to choose from, but here’s a few on our must-see list.


Love in Bright Landscapes -MIFF @ CinefestOZ

Storied Australian rock band The Triffids, and the triumph and ultimate tragedy of their brilliant frontman David McComb, are the focus for Love in Bright Landscapes from director Jonathan Alley.

Twelve years in the making, this expansive feature documentary reveals the man behind the music; and McComb’s status as a quintessentially Australian artist. McComb believed in the power of the song, and in The Triffids’ 1986 masterpiece Born Sandy Devotional (with its now-iconic Mandurah cover image) he found a new Australian voice: a poetic vision of broken hearts cast against the bright expanse of beaches, deserts, and highways.

McComb’s health soon faltered and after a heart transplant in 1996, he died in 1999, days short of his 37th birthday – leaving a slew of unanswered questions and unrecorded songs.

Using his familiar Western Australian landscape as the canvas for his towering psychodramas, the tragedy and triumph of McComb’s short, driven, passionate life is brought to the screen via music, poetry, interviews with family, colleagues and the likes of music luminary Paul Kelly, triple j’s Richard Kingsmill, and the late scholar Niall Lucy, as well as never-before-seen family footage and snippets of newly-discovered writing by McComb.

Love in Bright Landscapes will screen from August 27 to August 29.


I’m Wanita

Keeping the music going, I’m Wanita also features on the program.

Australia’s self-crowned ‘Queen of Honky-Tonk’, renegade country singer Wanita Bahtiyar, is a force of nature, with a voice to match. Based in Australia’s ‘Country Music Capital’, Tamworth, Wanita lives her own unique version of the rough-talking, hard-drinking, country music lifestyle.

In this film, Matthew Walker (Heart of the Queen) presents an energetic and empathetic portrait of a true original and colourful life as she follows her dreams and records her final album in the home of country music – sometimes at the cost of those dearest to her.

Using a combination of observational, on-the-run interviews & live performance, the film follows Wanita over a tumultuous five years as she tries to redirect her reckless life to fulfil her potential and have one last stab at her dream – before it’s too late.

Raucous and full of heart, I’m Wanita is a carefully cut gem.

As part of CinefestOZ, a filmmaker Q&A follows the screening.

I’m Wanita will screen on August 26


Anonymous Club – MIFF @ CinefestOZ

CinefestOZ is taking viewers behind the scenes with a slate of music icons, including the notoriously shy and vastly talented Courtney Barnett as she pulls back the curtain in Anonymous Club, an innovative and stylised 16mm feature documentary directed by Danny Cohen.

With unprecedented, intimate access to the private life of Courtney Barnett, Cohen’s feature documentary reveals a woman who finds power in sharing her vulnerability – presenting the first-person exposition on a paradoxically introverted performer and anti-influencer, who, at the height of success, is ready to walk away. Recording her innermost thoughts on a Dictaphone over a period of three years, Courtney begins her slow acceptance of Danny Cohen’s camera. This unique filming process mirrors Courtney’s gradual search for purpose and emergence as an artist embracing her place in the world.

A filmmaker Q&A follows the screening.

Anonymous Club will screen on August 26

Under the Volcano

Under the Volcano charts the incredible rise and fall of AIR Studios Montserrat, the recording studio at the centre of the pop universe in the 1980s, featuring interviews from some of the most influential recording artists at the time.

Built by Beatles’ producer Sir George Martin, AIR Studios Montserrat was a custom-built, state-of-the-art recording facility tucked away on a Caribbean paradise. In the shadow of an active volcano, the studio not only attracted the biggest musical talent on the planet, but was the birthplace of mega-hits such as ‘Money for Nothing’ and ‘Every Breath You Take’.

For a decade, AIR Montserrat formed the backdrop to monumental events in music history including the break-up of The Police, the reunion of The Rolling Stones, and the reinvigoration of Paul McCartney after the tragic murder of John Lennon.

After a decade of hits, and at the peak of its popularity, the studio was destroyed when the island was hit by a series of devastating natural disasters. Through personal accounts and backed by a blistering soundtrack, Under the Volcano is the definitive account of George Martin’s Studio at the end of the world, a place that generated a perfect storm of talent, technology and isolation, ushering in music that would live on long after the last tape rolled.

This is a must for any ever-lasting music fan.

Under the Volcano screens on August 28

CinefestOZ runs from August 25 to 29. You can view the entire program here