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By Tom Clift
October 12, 2015

Antenna Documentary Film Festival 2015

See the human side of people smuggling in an Argo-esque doco about a fake wedding.
By Tom Clift
October 12, 2015

The organisers of the Antenna Documentary Film Festival have revealed their latest program, including a timely opening night film about a group of Syrian refugees — and the attempts of Good Samaritans to help get them to safety.

Sydney's annual documentary film festival will commence on October 13 with the Australian premiere of On the Bride's Side. An Italian/Palestinian co-production, the film follows a small team of Milanese journalists and activists who orchestrate a fake wedding party in order to smuggle their Syrian and Palestinian refugee friends thousands of kilometres across Europe – risking arrest and imprisonment in the process.

The documentary has already screened at a number of festivals including the Venice International Film Festival and HotDocs in Toronto, where it received critical praise for bringing "a more personal perspective" to an ongoing humanitarian crisis. As the heartbreaking images of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi recently showed, putting a human face onto these kinds of tragedies can have a huge impact on public and political discourse. Perhaps we should be lobbying for certain members of the government to attend the screening.

In addition to On the Bride's Side, this year's Antenna will include a number of high-profile and critically acclaimed documentaries. Made with the participation of legendary actor David Gulpilil, Molly Reynolds' Another Country explores the ongoing conflict between Indigenous communities and government policy, while Danish documentary Warriors from the North probes the growing trend of young Western Muslims joining jihadist groups overseas.

Also from Denmark, albeit slightly less sombre, comes Michael Madsen's The Visit, which ponders the likely human response to a visit from extraterrestrial life. We're also particularly excited to check out B-Movie: Lust and Sound in West Berlin, about the eponymous city's vibrant music scene during the 1980s, as well as environmental activism doco Racing Extinction, from the Oscar-winning director of The Cove.

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