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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Transitions Film Festival 2020

Now in its ninth year, this Melbourne film festival showcases documentaries about our changing world.
By Sarah Ward
February 20, 2020
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Transitions Film Festival 2020

Now in its ninth year, this Melbourne film festival showcases documentaries about our changing world.
By Sarah Ward
February 20, 2020
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There's a film festival for everything these days, or so it sometimes seems. You can binge on all things weird and wonderful, go barking mad for short flicks about dogs or direct your eyeballs towards movies from a particular country. Or, you can spend time watching documentaries about our changing world, then hearing experts chat about the subjects raised — which is exactly what the Transitions Film Festival specialises in.

Returning for its ninth year from Thursday, February 20–Friday, March 6 — and popping up at a variety of Melbourne venues, including Cinema Nova, The Astor Theatre, Loop Project Space and Bar, Brunswick Mechanics Institute and Siteworks — 2020's fest is filled with thought-provoking films that ponder the challenges and issues facing society at the moment. That's a hefty list, spanning docos about artificial intelligence, engrained bias in the workplace, mindfulness, the economic side of disasters, plastics and skyrocketing housing prices.

This year's 29-feature Transitions Film Festival program is specifically focused on the theme of resilience — so, obviously, climate change and the environment pop up frequently. You'll find a number of titles on the intertwined topics, and from a number of countries as well. Look out for opening night's The Great Green Wall, about efforts to plant 8000 kilometres of trees  across Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Niger and Ethiopia; Australia's Convoy, which follows attempts to stop Australia's Adani Carmichael coal mine; and Anote's Ark, where the Pacific island nation of Kiribati endeavours to tackle the rising sea levels threatening to destroy the country.

Other highlights include Magic Medicine, about the use of magic mushrooms — well, their main psychoactive ingredient — to treat depression; The Whale & the Raven, which ponders the ongoing battle between industrialisation and nature; and Mr Toilet, about the the 2.4 billion people around the globe who don't have basic sanitation.

And, for a dose of star power, it all comes to a close with Sanctuary, which follows actor Javier Bardem, his brother and Greenpeace on their quest to create the world's largest marine sanctuary in the Antarctic Ocean.

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