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CEO Aleta Moriarty’s top five picks

With this year’s festival only a few days away, we asked our CEO Aleta Moriarty her top five films at this year’s festival.

HRAFF CEO Aleta Moriarty getting ready for HRAFF 2018

After the Apology – An unflinching account of the staggering rates of Aboriginal child removal today told through the voice of grandmothers who want their kids back. It’s heartbreaking, hopeful, angry and much more. This is a very important film to watch. Do not miss out.

A Better Man – This is not an easy film to watch but a brave one.  It shows Attiya – who was in an abusive relationship, go on a journey with her former abuser to explore what happened and its impact. Please note there is a trigger warning on this film.

The Grown-Ups – I loved The Grown-Ups. It shows a group of adults with Down Syndrome who have pretty normal hopes and dreams (live on your own, have adult loving relationships, have an income) but are stuck in a school for people with Down Syndrome, even though they are in their forties. It is unsettling but it is meant to be through its ground-hog day capturing of their infantilized lives.  It shows love, hope and aspiration beautifully. It also shows how all of these things can be dashed by people disempowering them from achieving their potential and making choices in their own lives.

This is Congo – The Congo has had twenty years of conflict. This film explores the complexity of conflict, poverty, refuge, corruption, the legacy of colonialism, aid, natural resource wealth, governance, desperation, hope, joy and resilience.  It shows the ability of people to survive extraordinary circumstances but also the weariness and senselessness of war. I had my heart in my mouth. It humanizes so many perspectives of the conflict empathetically and fairly, which is not common in films about war (that often prefer a simple goodie versus baddie narrative) but is common in conflict itself. It is horrific and beautiful all at once. Haunting – I could not look away. Do not miss it.

Leitis in Waiting – This is the story of Joey and the Tongan Leitis, transgender women fighting a rising tide of religious fundamentalism in their Kingdom of Tonga. The story follows Joey, a devout Catholic of noble descent, as she organizes an exuberant beauty pageant presided over by a princess, mentors a young Leiti rejected by her family, and spars with American-style evangelicals threatening to resurrect colonial-era laws that would criminalize their lives. This is a warm, beautiful, emotional film, which challenges laws criminalizing LGBT lives, still current in eight Pacific countries. A few days ago it won the audience award, after premiering at the Festival of Commonwealth Film 2018 in London.

 

The festival opens May 3 in Melbourne at ACMI; is co-presenting with Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival in Launceston on 19-20 May; and touring to Canberra on 29 May to 2 June. We would love for you to join us. Tickets can be purchased here.

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