Over three days in August Canberrans will have the opportunity to delve into spaces we wouldn’t otherwise be able to enter. I am of course referring to the Stronger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival taking place at Palace Electric Cinema 2 -5 August which explores topics more intimately that television or journalism could.

The documentaries on show have the power to transport you to Palestinian training camps, inside the minds of troubled youth, and into the future of unnerving cloning technology.

While no two stories are the same each and every documentary is coming of age, exploring the changing world and how people around us are finding their place. Unrivalled insights into difficult subject matters are explored delicately in a way which connects with audiences on an intimate level.

Passionate Director, Deborah Kingsland, finds it hard to sum up such a culturally rich few days in just a few words, but she said it best when she categorised Stronger Than Fiction as cutting edge, curious and cuddling. A true description of a festival which has it all. And she is right.

Around half of the films are directed by women and stories from France, Belgium, the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, Finland, the UK, the Philippines, Siberia, South Korea and China are shared.

The festival has bagged the controversial Touch Me Not (a doco version of 50 shades of grey by the sounds of it!) It was the winner of the top prize at the Berlinale – the Golden Bear. Deborah says we can expect “a hybrid doc/drama about people who find physical touch abhorrent. It’s a lush, disturbing and stylish film that will create a lot of discussions.”

This is a festival which supports the art of documentary cinema where in some cases stories have been snowballing into epic stories for over half a decade. Stronger Than Fiction is also the ACT’s only documentary film festival – which sadly came close to being obsolete due to lack of funding.

An un-expecting business came to the rescue. Ainslie IGA in true local spirit sponsored the doco festival leaving Stronger than Fiction, stronger than ever.

“We are called Stronger than Fiction because we look for films with strong narratives, all the entertainment value of fiction films, but with the added attraction that they give insights directly into the world today,” Deborah said.

Tickets on sale from the Palace Electric box office or online HERE.
Check out the lineup of moving documentaries below:

Speak up

French university students navigate the cut and thrust of public speaking in this rabble-rousing romp.

Minding The Gap

Three skateboarding buddies on the cusp of manhood face unexpected revelations and small-town pressures.

Backtrack Boys

A deeply moving study of three Aussie boys who join an extraordinary outback program as a way of staying out of jail.


The inspiring story of Maya, daughter of a Tamil revolutionary, who’s become a pop phenomenon with her special brand of political rap. 

Hobbyhorse Revolution

A feel-good look at the obsessions and delights of Finnish teenage girls immersed in the competitive world of the hobbyhorse.

Genesis 2.0

A haunting story of hunters of mammoth remains in remote Siberia and unnerving cloning technology.

What Walaa Wants

The gripping tale of a rebellious Palestinian girl on the West Bank who wants to join the police force: Presented by The High Commission of Canada.

The Cleaners

The extraordinary, at times graphic story of the workers who wade through social media and digital sewage, deciding what to censor.

Touch Me Not

This bold look at intimacy and how we perceive beauty blurs the line between fiction and reality.

Pick Of The Litter 

The delightful journey following Labrador puppies as they face the challenges of training to become a guide dog for the blind (pictured).

Island of the Hungry Ghosts

This compelling genre-defying exploration of attitudes to migrants across time and culture is at once beautiful, coherent and powerful.

Of Fathers and Sons

An intimate and at times provocative study of the family life of a Syrian Jihadist soldier and his sons.

McKellen: Playing the Closing Night Gala

An exhilarating and intimate portrait of stage and screen legend Ian McKellen.