Only the good stories get through

Whistleblower Private Adam Winfield, the young soldier who ends up in jail in “The Kill Team”.

Whistleblower Private Adam Winfield, the young soldier who ends up in jail in “The Kill Team”.

“STRONGER than Fiction” is the catchy name chosen last year by Simon Weaving for the documentary film festival, now heading into its second year at Palace Electric.

It’s not just clever copywriting. Weaving is adamant that the documentary form is every bit as exciting and as strange as fiction, telling “CityNews”, “We only let really good stories through the gates… I am an absolutely passionate believer in the power of narrative.”

Take the horrifying movie, “The Kill Team”, a story about a renegade platoon of US soldiers who set up innocent Afghan civilians to torture and kill just because they were bored. Ironically, because of the odd military justice system, it’s Private Adam Winfield, the young soldier who blows the whistle, who ends up in jail. “It’s a mind-boggling, eye-popping story,” Weaving says.

Kevin Pearce in action before his crash in “The Crash Reel”.

Kevin Pearce in action before his crash in “The Crash Reel”.

And there’s “The Crash Reel”, made up of verité footage showing the rivalry between friend/snowboarders Shaun White and Kevin Pearce in the lead up to the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where they performed increasingly dangerous tricks until Pearce crashed and had to watch as White won gold.

If that’s not provocative enough, Australia’s eminent documentary maker Bob Connolly will be on hand to open the festival, which begins with “La Cour de Babel” (School of Babel), Julie Bertuccelli’s feature about young immigrant children in France. That’ll be followed by a ritzy party at Hotel Hotel.

This year, indigenous filmmakers are to the fore with “Buckskin”, the debut film by Dylan McDonald and “Big Name, No Blanket”, about Warumpi band front man George Rrurrambu, directed by “Redfern Now” writer, Steven McGregor.

Then there’s the world premiere of “Message from Mungo”, a new feature-length documentary from Canberra’s Andrew Pike and Ann McGrath that explores the interface between scientists and the indigenous communities around Lake Mungo.

Weaving and co-director Deborah Kingsland, who’d like to transform the event into a national touring documentary film festival, say they hope the festival will “provoke thought, inspire discussion and embrace the richness and diversity of different cultures within our city”. And that’s bound to be much stronger than fiction.

“Stronger than Fiction”, Palace Electric Cinemas, July 31-August 3, Q&A sessions follow each screening. Bookings to palacecinemas.com.au

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