The Capitol acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. We respectfully acknowledge their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. We also acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

Screen Presence 23

Screen Presence 23 celebrates Chinese Australian stories on screen at The Capitol. Everyone is welcomed to share the laughs, learnings, and heartaches of what it means to be Chinese Australian in complex times.

Special guests and leading members of the Australian film industry join filmmaker and host Rosie Lourde in a day featuring screenings, conversations and meditations on their experience, cultures and identity, the hurdles still being faced, and the discoveries being made as the Chinese Australian identity continues to evolve.

Opening with the inaugural Screen Presence In-Conversation, Benjamin Law, Wenlei Ma, Corrie Chen and Adrian Danks talk about representation in storytelling on screens of all sizes.

The film screening program sees:

  • broadcaster and screenwriter, Benjamin Law and actor Fiona Choi introduce Shanghai Express (1932), starring Marlene Dietrich and Anna May Wong, which premiered at The Capitol 90 years ago!;
  • filmmakers Clara Law and Eddie Fong present their film Floating Life (1996) described by Senses of Cinema as ‘a turning point in Australian cinema’;
  • author and artistic director of Queensland Ballet, Li Cunxin AO, speaks with one of Australia’s preeminent writers, Jan Sardi AO about their adaptation of his memoir Mao’s Last Dancer (2009);
  • and to conclude the evening industry icon Tony Ayres presents his autobiographical film The Home Song Stories (2007) and chats with the film’s producer and life-long collaborator, Michael McMahon about championing underrepresented, diverse emerging filmmakers.

The day’s celebrations close with the presentation and screening of the 2023 NEXT GEN Filmmakers Award winning film, presented by Tony Ayres with Mark Wang, Chinese Museum CEO.

View the full program and book here

Proudly sponsored by
VA Digital Hire | Galvaniize Insurance | Soundfirm | Melbourne Chinatown Association | Black Sheep Films

Agent Bodies — Body Melt

On June 15, ponder the permeability of bodies with Agent Bodies curators, Mikala Dwyer and Drew Pettifer, for a screening of Philip Brophy’s 1993 “gloriously gruesome, maddeningly moist, furiously filthy, and despicably disgusting” Australian satirical horror, Body Melt.

Reflecting on the varying states of bodily integrity as explored in RMIT Gallery’s current exhibition Agent Bodies, Dwyer and Pettifer will preface the screening with an introduction and presentations of two exclusive artwork screenings by RMIT PhD candidates Mig Dann and Daniel R. Marks.


The Future on Film: Stranger Days

Strange Days (1995) takes place in a vision of LA torn by crime and violence on the last two days of 1999. It follows the spiralling investigations of an ex-cop who now deals in recorded memories and emotions, presenting the central paradox of VR: you cannot share someone else’s reality without abandoning your own.

This cyberpunk sci-fi story from writer James Cameron and director Kathryn Bigelow offers a dark and compelling confrontation of the implications of technology by depicting so many of VRs dangers within the context of a movie — itself a form of VR. Following the film screening, a panel discussion will explore the film’s themes.

6pm – doors
6.30pm – film commence
8.55pm – film conclude
8.55-9.15pm – interval
9.15-10pm – panel discussion

This film is part of Melbourne Knowledge Week, 9 – 15 May 2022, proudly presented by the City of Melbourne.

The Future on Film: World on a Wire

Join us for an extended Sunday session screening of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s surreal noir-epic, World on a Wire: a gloriously paranoid, boundlessly inventive take on the future.

The noir-spiked story centres on a familiar sci-fi theme: the possibility that this entire world exists entirely inside another world, perhaps as a computer simulation. Fassbinder’s reluctant hero, Fred Stiller (Klaus Löwitsch), is a cybernetics engineer who uncovers a massive corporate conspiracy. At risk? (Virtual) reality as we know it. Released in 1973, this two-part, three-and-a-half-hour science fiction project was initially made for West German television and was only recently rediscovered. It offers a satiric and surreal look at the world of tomorrow from one of cinema’s kinkiest geniuses.

1.15pm – doors
1.45pm – part 1 of film commences
3.40pm – interval
4.15pm – part 2 of film commences
6pm – event concludes

This film is part of Melbourne Knowledge Week, 9 – 15 May 2022, proudly presented by the City of Melbourne.

The Future on Film: The Matrix

In the first instalment of this cult-classic series, The Matrix offers a kinetic explosion of visually dazzling cyber adventure with flawlessly integrated special effects and animation. It tells the story of Thomas Anderson — aka Neo — a computer programmer led to fight an underground war against powerful computers who have constructed his entire reality.

After the screening, a talk led by Naja Later will explore identity, social metaphor and the ritualisation of “coming out”. Naja Later is an academic tutor at Swinburne. They have a PhD in 21st-Century American horror movies and their relationship to terror culture, and have published research on superheroes, monsters, and transmedia storytelling.

6.15pm – doors
6:30pm – film starts
8.46pm – film concludes
9.15pm – talk commences
10.15pm – talk concludes


This film screening is part of Melbourne Knowledge Week, 9 – 15 May 2022, proudly presented by the City of Melbourne.

The Songs of David McComb & the Triffids + Love in Bright landscapes

The film reveals the man behind the music, with his story brought to life on the screen via music, poetry, letters, and unseen family archives. McComb’s poetry and newly discovered letters are read by Man Booker prize-winning Australian novelist DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, 2003) accompanied by beautifully restored 35mm slides, evocative home movies, and heart-rending interviews with musicians, friends, and family.

The evening’s second instalment, titled Songs of David McComb and the Triffids is a music showcase, featuring some of The Triffids’ biggest hits, songs from McComb’s solo catalogue, and time spent in the Blackeyed Susans – as well as some lost gems. Featuring an all-star line-up of Evil Graham Lee & Rob McComb (the Triffids), Mick Harvey (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey), Phil Kakulas, J.P. Shilo (Blackeyed Susans, Hungry Ghosts, Rowland S. Howard, Mick Harvey), Bruce Haymes, Mark Dawson (Ed Kuepper), Rob Snarski (Blackeyed Susans), Romy Vager (RVG), Alex Gow (Oh Mercy).

Presented as part of Melbourne Music Week.

Melbourne International Film Festival (Now Online)

In light of the current COVID situation in Melbourne, and with the safety of audiences and staff at the forefront of their thinking, the Board and Management of the Melbourne International Film Festival have taken the difficult decision to cancel the in-cinema component of this year’s festival, planned to be delivered from Thursday 12 to Sunday 22 August. Refunds will be issued to all patrons who have booked tickets for these sessions. Refunds will also be issued to all pass holders. For any ticket or refund queries please contact

MIFF is committed to the national delivery of our streaming platform MIFF Play with an expanded program, alongside MIFF’s world-leading XR (extended reality) program, which is available to audiences, for free, globally.

They’ve added more than 30 new titles to our MIFF Play program so that you can continue to enjoy the festival from home. Streaming films and sharing your favourite titles with your friends is a great way to stay engaged with the latest in cinema from around the world, and to support filmmakers and the festival.

There are over 100 titles to choose from, including free MIFF Shorts packages, available to stream Australia-wide until Sunday 22 August.

Celebrating its 69th edition, Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) returns in 2021 with an astonishing lineup of 283 international and Australian films and transformative screen experiences.

Highlights at The Capitol include the historical kaleidoscope Ablaze (2021), Alec Morgan and Tiriki Onusa’s compelling untold story of activism, resistance and politically-driven art-making; Gero von Boehm’s Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful (2020), an expansive portrait of the controversial fashion icon capturing both light and shade; and Palme d’Or contender Bergman Island (2021), the latest instalment in French writer/director Mia Hansen-Løve’s oeuvre of delicate, semi-autobiographical investigations into love.

Presented by Melbourne International Film Festival.

RMIT Media Virtual Showcase 2021

Emerging contemporary media professionals present their short films, video art, soundscapes and digital projects for the RMIT Bachelor of Communication (Media) end of semester online showcase.

Highlights include Cristina Ulloa Sobarzo’s meta-documentary on film editor Johanna Scott So, You’re Telling Me I’m Serving People Tea and Coffee? produced for the Women Beside the Screen studio in partnership with the Melbourne Women in Film Festival, which creatively profiles women who have forged a career in the Australian screen industries; Kennel, a phone app described as “Tinder for pets” by Marla Kalaw and Derek Xu; and the non-linear video series exploring the weight of grief, As Grief Holds Usby Sofia Georganas, Andy Eaton and Rishi Ranjan.

Presented by RMIT School of Media and Communication.

Expand to browse the showcase highlights below:

Future Play Studio

Kennel game/app trailer  by Marla Kalaw, Derek Xu

Women Besides the Screen Studio
So, You’re Telling Me I’m Serving People Tea and Coffee? by Cristina Ulloa Sobarzo

The Next Generation by Chau Vu

Eye of the Beholder by Isabel Savenake

Deliberate Film Studio

The Box by Shiyang (Jack) Wang

Failed Mission by Joyce Wong

Kitchen Play by Xinyu (Sandra) Zhang 

The Call by Madeleine Cheale

Real to Reel Studio

Salvage by Emmanuelle Mattana

I’m a Writer by Ruby Walker (contains some coarse language)

Antiquarians by Beatrice Madamba, Jasper Cohen-Hunter, Sophie Aitken

Preserving the Gallery by Simon Tran

Collecting Embodiment Studio

These are each collections of multiple works. Videos should be watched in the order they are on the page.

As Grief Holds Us by Sofia Georganas, Andy Eaton and Rishi Ranjan

Belong to my Body (Dirt of My Mind) by Maddy Weeks, Rhonda Hodgson, Eva Williams

Making Sense of Social Media Studio

(All work by the whole of the Studio)

Instagram Unfiltered Instagram Page

Instagram Unfiltered Tik Tok Page

Tools For Change

Future Machina Studio

Crux by By Seamus Daniel and Jessica Hooper

The Doppelganger by Jiayao (Cherry) Lin 

The Breakfast Bandits by Chiara Watt, Leith Edwards, Lisa Jacobsen, Max Meaden and Patrick Neideck

Mars TV by JoongHyuk Joe, Marlon Mckinnon, Zane Giernatowski

Unravelling the Real Studio

Remember Me by Amelia Christie

How To Cope With Brussels Sprouts by Sabrina Phillips Brash

It’s not Rocket Surgery Studio

Why History can be Unreliable… by Joel Cormack, Keely (Yuqi) Xing, Willa Robinson, Xena (Xiaohang) Dong

Mona’s Secret by Alice Nguyen-Manderson, Jessica (Anqi) Li, Hamza Ipek, Trevor (Zihang) Wang

Seeing the Unseen Studio

Greenhouse Cage by Hang Yi Wong, Tianjin Shi, Jiangxue Han

The Dying Natural Vitality by Abby, Lee, Jacky & Yvonne

Room With A View Studio

Each of the Radio Features are in the Soundcloud embed below the RWAV live show

First Nations Artists by Bronte Pitcher, Holly Colvin, Lachlan Flannigan and Eliza Butcher

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Melbourne Overlooked Film Festival 2021

This event has been cancelled in line with the Victorian government’s public health announcement. For further information please visit MOFF’s website.

An RMIT student-led initiative unearthing underground, underappreciated and unconventional cinema. The Festival opens with an exclusive screening of cult classic sci-fi horror Body Melt (1993) followed by an intimate panel with director Philip Brophy.

Starring iconic Aussie actors Ian Smith (best known as Harold Bishop from Neighbours) and Gerard Kennedy (Glitch, 2015), this schlocky ozploitation gem follows the residents of peaceful Pebbles Court who are being unknowingly used as test experiments for a new supplement pill that causes rapid body decomposition, ghastly mutations and painful death.

Tickets on sale 3 June.

Presented by RMIT School of Media and Communication.


Blak Fillums

Tue 11 May: Servant or Slave

Stolen from their families and forced into slave labour, five women draw on courage, strength and fortitude to pursue justice. Servant or Slave is a true story about the heartbreaking experiences of Rita Wright, Rita Wenberg, Violet West, Adelaide Wenberg and Valerie Linow. Theirs was a hard fight for personal retribution, and a pivotal one for the next generation.

Wed 12 May: Marked, Closed Doors, Between Two Lines and Transblack

In Marked, a young artist is tormented by evil spirits in the wake of his mother’s death.

Closed Doors is an abstract look at the process of grief and forgiveness in a time of loss, told through a young father’s thoughts as he moves through his own pain.

Set against a WWI backdrop, Between Two Lines explores the idea of what a conversation would be like between two enemy soldiers.

In Transblack, four larger than life personalities push the boundaries of social norms, but their day-to-day lives reveal more than a touch of adversity to overcome.

Thu 13 May: A Piece of Us, White Paper and Say Something

In A Piece of Us, the writer draws on his own loss experienced throughout his family life. It’s a glimpse into a storytelling method used to teach young people and help spirits heal.

White Paper is a documentary exploring mining greed by an Australian-owned company in Greenland, and its effect on ancient land, and the health of an entire community.

Say Something reflects discrimination against Blak peoples and the perpetrators who learn nothing.

The Handmaid’s Tale (1990)

The new TV season is imminent, so it’s an excellent time for a vintage refresher of the original Schlöndorff film, made in 1990, long before Elizabeth Moss donned her red robe. Fans of the book and TV series will be familiar with the futuristic, theocratic and dystopian United States, where fertility has become alarmingly rare and women able to bear children are forced into sexual slavery. Starring the glorious Faye Dunaway, Natasha Richardson, Robert Duvall and Aidan Quinn, there is no past-future more prescient than Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. 

This film screens in a double bill with On Guard (1984). 


Past Futures curatorial notes —
What futures were past filmmakers imagining for our present world? And did those sci fi prophesies come true? All dreamers and designers start from a place of deep imagining.

In Past Futures we look at imagined dystopias and utopias that made their way into the collective conscious – into the design of now – and consider what might be in the making to come.

In our selection of sci fi visionaries, some classic, others populist, and still others perhaps idiosyncratic, we look away from the stuff of shiny space wars, and towards a survey of the social, political, technological, environmental, interpersonal and existential prophesies dreamed onto the cinema screen over the last century. To paraphrase Roger Ebert, these films offer “an arsenal of images for imagining the world.”

What worlds were filmmakers of the past envisioning for today? Which of these past-futures have materialised in shades of our lived realities? What do modern utopias and dystopias look like? Can cinema help us collectively design a world we want to see?

In curating this series my co-curator, Michelle Carey, and I considered the future worlds that filmmakers were envisioning in the past. In our selection you’ll find distinct visions from pasts that vary in length from way back to cinema’s silent beginnings, to just a moment or two ago.

The curated titles awakened a curiosity in us by way of each film’s aesthetic and philosophical design, some quixotic and wildly ambitious, others comparatively domestic while still suggesting a collective turn in consciousness or new ways of seeing and being. Our present is very much felt and reflected in these past futures.

What future visions are we projecting on screen, now?

Ghita Loebenstein
Creative Producer, The Capitol

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Presented by The Capitol as part of Melbourne Design Week 2021, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.

What is This?

Innovative design developed through and beyond function expands preconceived confines of “design” into realms that encompass artistic value, social & environmental attention and imaginative human experience. Creating an inhabitable space housing a series of activations, films, performances and public talks, the artists disrupt concrete definitions and formal delineations in design, opening fluid approaches intertwined with art and daily life that encourage communication, cooperation and change.

The artists would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri, Djab Wurrung, Gunditjmara, and Gulidjan peoples of the Kulin Nation as the traditional custodians of the unceded lands and waters, on which they live, create and exhibit their work, and pay their respect to all First Nations Ancestors and Elders, past, present and emerging.

Presented by The Capitol and RMIT University School of Art as part of Melbourne Design Week 2021, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.