Too many documentaries to choose from at HRAFF 2017? This handy guide to our 10th Anniversary Festival will help you out.

This year, we’ve  separated our film program into distinct thematic streams:

Highlights: special presentations and key events
Profiles: human stories celebrating bravery, resilience, activism and compassion
Confrontations: urgent documentaries addressing the issues making news headlines
Express Yourself: artists, musicians and creatives who are taking a stand and making a difference
Perspectives: a rare glimpse into global communities
Drama: world-class narrative cinema and international film festival favourites

When we asked our Program Director, Lauren Valmadre, what her top takes were, she said:


“One of my favourite films from the past year. This powerful love story made in collaboration and consultation with the Yakel tribe in Vanuatu is a perfect example of the thoughtful and inclusive films we love to champion here at HRAFF.”

When the Earth Seems to be Light

“A favourite amongst the programming team, this dreamy and elegiac exploration of the Georgian cityscape through the profound perspective of the young skaters is a rare indie gem. Do not miss this film!”


“Stormy and emotive, this film moved me so deeply and stayed with me long after watching it. HRAFF provides a platform for the voiceless to be heard and the experiences of these women who were victims of police corruption, we felt, needed to be shared.”

War Book

“With the craftsmanship of a stage play and whip-smart script, this film is both entertaining and reflective with real-life relevance to our global political climate. It also helps that it includes actors from a few of my favourite British television shows, Misfits and Teachers!”

Check It

“A vivacious and energetic film that recalls elements of Sean Baker’s Tangerine. This documentary has so much heart and strength of an LGBTIQ community that has created their own family and a way to protect themselves when no one else would.”

Raving Iran

“I am personally a huge fan and an avid watcher of music documentaries so for me, I can’t go past Raving Iran. A thrilling journey with a shocking twist ending all set to an amazing score of pumping Persian house music.”

Plastic China

“An absolute highlight from this year’s Sundance and a rare global perspective of social inequality in China. A film that not only explores social issues but also considers environmental concerns.”

Radio Kobanî

“Images from this film are burnt into my brain in this urgent and unforgettable documentary. Dilovan Kiko, the young radio DJ’s reclamation of space and the airwaves in Kobani, Syria is truly inspiring, as is her unwavering hope in amongst the devastation.”

Australian Shorts

“One of my favourite sessions of the festival every year. Make sure you see the wonderful films on offer from emerging and established Australian filmmaking talent. Always a lot of love in the room here!”

International Shorts – Defiance

“An extraordinary and dynamic collection of inspiring individuals and communities that stand their ground in fighting oppression in it’s many forms. Be sure not to miss these world-class shorts from across the globe.”

HRAFF kicks of this Thursday 4 May. Browse the full program here.

May HRAFF be with you.

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