2024 Program

The Festival at a glance

Friday 14 June

Theatre Royal

Music from Brazazul
a beautiful moment
Ag Fab: From Paddock to Catwalk

Acknowledgement of Country


Drinks at Love Shack

Saturday 15 June

Theatre Royal

Obsessed with Light

Starring Jerry as Himself


Getting it Back: The Story of Cymande

Party with The Afrobiotics at Theatre Royal

Sunday 16 June

Theatre Royal

The Gullspång Miracle

The Koalas and Q&A

Apolonia, Apolonia

The Road to Patagonia

Drinks at Love Shack


On the Western Reserve


Kids on the Silk Road: Girl away from home {film} and The Monkey King {film}

Werewolves {game}

a beautiful moment {film}

Werewolves {game}



SUNDAY 16 June

Kids on the Silk Road: Bird Boy {film} and Girl with goals {film}

Werewolves {game}

Ag Fab: From Paddock to Catwalk {film}

Werewolves {game}


Pre-festival community screening & music performance

All are welcome to our FREE pre-festival double-bill screening, a celebration of regional culture.

A Beautiful Moment 
Ag Fab: from Paddock to Catwalk

5:00pm Friday 14 June

You’ll be greeted and entertained with the rhythms and sounds of Brazazul , the Castlemaine-based ensemble who specialise in forro, a vibrant, joyful music and dance from north-eastern Brazil.

A Beautiful Moment by Michael Harkin. The glorious sound of community: three unique groups, Corker Orchestra, Mainsong and Brazazul, led by Wendy Rowlands.

Ag Fab: From Paddock to Catwalk by Karen McMullan. A peek behind the scenes of the national Ag Artwear Competition, which celebrates the ingenious creativity of rural women.


Total time to watch both films: 53 mins


7:30pm Friday 14 June

We are grateful to have to be living, working and having a film festival on Djaara Country.



8:00pm Friday 14 June

An exhilarating cinematic journey by acclaimed Wiradjuri poet and artist Jazz Money, WINHANGANHA (“remember, know, think”) is a bold revisioning of Australian history and visual records – encompassing contemporary television, feature films, sports programs and music clips – highlighting the complex ways in which archives represent and affect First Nations peoples. Featuring a brilliantly textured score by Rhyan Clapham, aka Dobby.

In Money’s words, “It is love and joy that is the overall message. That despite the injustices of the past and present, we continue to exist with love and pride in bodies that dance and march and sing and story.”

Duration: 64 mins


Acclaimed poet and artist, Jazz Money, will be in conversation after the screening. 

Opening night Festival drinks

9:00pm onwards — Join us at Love Shack, next door to Theatre Royal, to celebrate the opening of the Festival.



Obsessed with light

11:00am Saturday 15 June 

Obsessed with Light is a mesmerising rumination on the qualities of light and the enduring obsession to create. It pulls back the curtain on Loïe Fuller, who was a midwestern vaudeville performer (working with Buffalo Bill) before becoming an international star in Belle Époque Paris, and the very embodiment of Art Nouveau – the “Fairy of Light”. 

Wildly original, Fuller revolutionised early twentieth-century visual culture by inventing a new kind of spectacle – utilising dance, light and fabric in ephemeral, shape-shifting abstractions, and pioneering ingenious use of electricity for the stage.

Duration: 90 mins

Soup Bar: World in a Bowl, provided by Castlemaine Community House in the courtyard, open 12-2PM, 4-8PM

Starring Jerry as Himself

2:00pm Saturday 15 June

This droll, fascinatingly unconventional documentary recounts the 2021 recruitment of a Florida family’s retired Taiwanese émigré father, Jerry, as a covert agent for the Chinese police –  ostensibly to help them expose an international money laundering ring. Tumult and insidious implications ensue, and notions of truth are turned upside down time and again.  

Jerry re-enacts some of the crazed events he experienced as an unlikely spy. Bringing a savvy balance of ironic humour and sincerity to the screen, director (and Jerry’s son) Law Chen delivers an entertaining cautionary tale.

Duration: 75 mins

LOCALS: Fabulous regional shorts

5:00pm Saturday 15 June

Showcasing regional filmmakers’ work, our LOCALS program is becoming a beloved Festival fixture. It invites filmmakers of all experience levels to submit a non-fiction work of up to six minutes’ duration and of any style or genre; and to hone their films in workshops with local filmmakers Tony Jackson, Leonie VanEyk, Bergen O’Brien and Kyla Brettle, and special guests Sam Dinning and Rob Buttery.

This year’s result: a fresh and wonderful mix that includes films about art, compost, and the making of Jurassic Park Castlemaine and so much more.

Getting it back: The Story of Cymande

8:00pm Saturday 15 June 

Cymande is the greatest 1970s band you’ve possibly never heard of. But if you’ve listened to the Fugees, De La Soul or the Wu-Tang Clan – or simply been on a dance floor anytime in the past few decades – you’ll recognise their irresistible, infectious sound. Formed in south London by nine self-taught Caribbean-born musicians, Cymande meshed funk, soul, jazz and Caribbean grooves to create a music that was political, spiritual, and brilliantly ahead of its time. 

This is their incredible untold story. It’s one of joyous creativity stifled by political and institutional obstruction.

Duration: 89 min

Saturday night party

The Afrobiotics

MUSIC from 9:30pm onwards

Don’t go anywhere, party on for the music and dance continues at Theatre Royal. 

The Afrobiotics play Afrobeat but not like you’ve heard before. Listeners will recognise the familiar undulating interwoven rhythms and fiery energy, but also discover a more intimate and collaborative sound incorporating Sabar rhythms from Senegal. 

Founded as a side-project from the much-larger Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, The Afrobiotics (fka The Public Opinion Six) began as a way of writing new material and getting inside the sounds of Afrobeat, but it didn’t take long for the six musicians to discover they had found something unique and special – a sheer love of playing together in a much more intimate setting, creating a more well-rounded dialog and interplay between each other. Where The Public Opinion delivers a dynamic and captivating show, The Afrobiotics is less sensory and more spiritual. 





The Gullspång Miracle 

11:00am Sunday 16 June

A “divine” sign leads two pious Swedish sisters to buy an apartment in the small town of Gullspång, where they find the seller to be near-identical to their late elder sister. From there, all three women’s lives gradually: and a riveting, cleverly structured exploration of serendipity, faith, social divisions, ancestry and personal identity unfolds. 

The film delves into some of the themes that made Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers deeply affecting, but its canvas is one of a kind – a complex weave that also encompasses a haunting unsolved crime, imbued with unnerving real-life echoes of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

Duration: 108 mins


Soup Bar: World in a Bowl, provided by Castlemaine Community House in the courtyard, open 12-2PM, 4-8PM

The Koalas

2:00pm Sunday 16 June

AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE followed by filmaker Q&A

In 2022 the Australian government listed the koala as endangered. After 25 million years’ survival, how can this iconic marsupial suddenly be at risk of extinction in the wild? Filmed on Australia’s east coast and in Ballarat, The Koalas investigates the devastating impact of habitat loss, and other mounting threats that necessitate urgent action. 

We meet many a koala and a cluster of passionate, compelling characters who are united in their dedicated fight for the future of the species.

Duration: 90 mins

Apolonia, Apolonia

5:00pm Sunday 16 June

When Danish filmmaker Lea Glob met French artist Apolonia Sokol in 2009, the latter appeared to have had a storybook life in the arts, having been born into an underground Parisian theatre group, raised within a community of artists and educated in her twenties at the prestigious Beaux-Arts de Paris. 

But as Glob continued filming, a far more complex story emerged. This is a captivating enquiry into art, love, sexuality, motherhood and representation. The film considers how women can succeed without compromising who they are at heart, in a world dominated by patriarchy, capitalism and war.

Duration: 116 mins

The Road to Patagonia

8:00pm Sunday 16 June

The Road to Patagonia is a stunning, intimate, unflinching exploration of the human condition and the more-than-human world. Shot around the globe over 16 years, it’s a spectacular love story, a breathtaking paean to the natural world, and a heartfelt plea for our collective survival. 

The verité narrative begins with director Matty Hannon’s solo motorbike quest to surf the entire west coast of the Americas. Deep in the wilderness, his plans fall unexpectedly to pieces. On the cusp of quitting he meets the woman of his dreams, permaculture farmer Heather Hillier, who sells her property to buy a bike so they can ride south together. Their journey is equal parts wondrous and challenging, as they traverse 50,000 kilometres, swap their motorbikes for four charismatic horses, and meet extraordinary people. 

Duration: 116 mins

Closing night Festival drinks

9.50pm onwards — Join us at the Love Shack, next door to Theatre Royal, to celebrate the closing of the Festival


Please note that the Werewolves game in the Yurt is not included in festival passes (but films are).

Tickets to films in the Yurt are $10 / $5 concession

Tickets to a Werewolves game is $20 / $15 concession.

Kids on the Silk Road

11:30am Saturday (in the Yurt)

11:30am Sunday (in the Yurt)

A quartet of short films offering unique insights into the lives of children from countries along the ancient Silk Road – Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, China and Ukraine – aged between 10 and 14.

Each story explores one child’s responses to the challenges they face within cultural and social contexts, centering on an aspect of life about which they’re especially passionate. While each circumstance is different, the themes are universal – the desire to develop a talent and realise a dream, navigating disagreements with parents, and ways of dealing with loss and disappointment.  


1:00pm Saturday (in the Yurt)

7:00pm Saturday (in the Yurt)

1:00pm Sunday (in the Yurt)

5:00pm Sunday (in the Yurt)

Get ready for a thrilling game of accusation, trickery  and fun at the CDoc YURT. Games Master Nick Phillips will transport us to the town of Millers Hollow, where werewolves are hunting the villagers, and it’s up to you to locate the culprits before it’s too late. Join us as we immerse ourselves in this interactive survival game and try to weed out the werewolves among us.

Will you become a detective to identify the true villains or will you become their next victim? Come put your deduction skills to the test and find out!

Suitable for everyone aged 8 and upwards!

A Beautiful Moment

4:00pm Saturday with film maker Q&A (in the Yurt)

The glorious sound of community: three vibrant Castlemaine groups unite for a concert under the brilliant direction of Wendy Rowlands.

Duration: 25 mins

Ag Fab: From paddock to catwalk

4:00pm Sunday with film maker Q&A (in the Yurt)

A peek behind the scenes of the national Ag Artwear Competition, which celebrates the ingenious creativity of rural women.

Duration: 28 mins

Festival Archives