Welcome to the fifth Stronger than Fiction - the film festival dedicated to the art of documentary cinema. We are delighted to bring Canberra audiences some of the most exciting and moving documentaries of the year.

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This year’s lineup includes several major award winners. The controversial winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin, Touch Me Not is a stylish hybrid doc about physical intimacy while Minding the Gap, with twelve awards, focuses on three skateboarding buddies and the gap between fathers and sons in a small Illinois town.

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We kick off with Speak Up, a fast-paced French film about a class of bubbly French university students navigating the cut and thrust of public speaking and we close with an exhilarating and intimate portrait of Ian McKellen in McKellen: Playing the Part.

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Nearly half of this year’s films are directed by women, and we’re thrilled that several of them will be our guests at the festival - Gabrielle Brady, director of the powerfully poetic Island of the Hungry Ghosts, Christy Garland with the suspenseful What Walaa Wants, and Catherine Scott screens her deeply moving The BackTrack Boys.

We look forward to seeing you at the festival this year and talking to you about the films you enjoyed the most.

- The STF Team


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We want to use the power of cinema to connect people with new ideas. And shake them up a bit. Our curatorial philosophy is to screen documentaries that combine cinematic storytelling with cutting edge thinking and deep insights about the world we live in and are being forced to share in ways we barely understand.

The world is already here in Canberra – from the global ideas that shape the nation’s political agenda to the international community that brings perspectives from other cultures. We want to be part of that dynamic, and we passionately believe that documentary cinema is one of the best ways to share new thinking. 


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Festival Director: Deborah Kingsland

Festival Producer: Hannah de Feyter

Founder and Co-Curator: Simon Weaving

Project Management: Lavanna Neal, Alice Taylor and Zoe Kooyman

Event Coordinator: Jeremy Jones

Graphic Design: Daniel Hadiwibawa

Website: Joshua Paul

Interns: Alasdair Barnes and Laura Giacomin

Volunteers: Rossen de Ramos, Carolyn Voss, Amanda-Jo Birchall, Tim Daly, Camilla Blunden, Glynis Stokes and many more. You know who you are. Thank you!

Stronger than Fiction Committee: Alice Taylor, John Frohlich, Hannah de Feyter, Zoe Kooyman and Lavanna Neal

Festival Trailer Editor: Frank Oly

Festival Photography: Konrad Lenz

Special Thanks: Diana Streak, Cris Kennedy, Sophia Hamblin-Wang, Agency 9, John Frohlich, Pamela Slocum, Brett Yeats and Tina Van Raay

Ainslie IGA Short Films

This year the team partnered with Ainslie IGA - our major sponsor - to create two short films about the family run business. The two films will be premiering alongside our feature line up, featuring Manuel Xyrakis & Alex Sloan.

Producer/Director – Deborah Kingsland & Hannah de Feyter

Camera: Christian Doran

Additional Camera: Kim Beamish

Sound: Tim Duck

Editing: Hannah de Feyter

Colourist: Annica Mott

Production: Zoe Kooyman and Carolyn Voss

Photography: Olia Balabina

Audio Engineering: Sam Andrews

Music: Audio Network


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The idea of a dedicated national documentary film festival based in the ACT had been discussed for years, and in 2013 a group of passionate people – led by documentary filmmaker Deborah Kingsland and film curator Simon Weaving – made it happen as part of the Canberra Centenary.

With the first year a strong success, Stronger Than Fiction has been growing year on year, with support from EventsACT, as well and several key sponsors.  Stronger than Fiction is now a recognised event on the ACT & national film festival calendar. 

The 2016 Festival >>>