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I refer to Solrun Hoaas’ “An Australian Blindspot “ in RealTime 50. As the Festival Programmer for REAL:life on film I feel it is important to respond to some of the criticisms raised by Hoaas in relation to the dearth of Asian programming at this year’s festival.

Since its inception in 1999, REAL:life has attempted to redress the balance of anglo-centric programming within the Australian screen culture industry with a culturally diverse program of documentary films in terms of origin, content and style. While I agree that documentaries from the Asian region did not adequately feature at this year’s festival this was by no means due to a disregard for the promotion of the cultural, social, political or personal issues represented through Asian documentary or the styles and sensibilities of Asian cinema. This was, in actual fact, a result of the limited submissions received from Asian filmmakers both internationally and locally.

Out of the 10 international titles that screened at this year’s festival, REAL:life featured documentaries from the USA, UK, Japan, Iran, Romania and France. While most of these films were co-productions with UK or USA-based filmmakers it is important to note that over the past 3 years REAL:life has showcased documentaries from all over the globe including India, Israel, Lebanon, China, Slovenia, Ethiopia, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Taiwan, Cuba, Egypt and many more. The 13 Australian titles selected to screen in 2003 featured culturally diverse stories from the parochial to the international. A number of these addressed issues within the region including the aftermath of the East Timor declaration of independence, the impact of the 1984 Indian Sikh riots on an Indian-Australian family and Korean-American cross cultural identity.

With the growth of the festival, greater resources and better access to international titles, REAL:life looks forward to featuring more Asian documentaries and is currently researching potential titles for inclusion at the next festival.

Kind Regards,

Natasha Gadd,
Festival Programmer REAL: life on film

RealTime issue #51 Oct-Nov 2002 pg.

© Natasha Gadd; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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