Rows of red cinema seats in the NFSA Theatrette.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2024-05/Theatrette%20%282%29%202%20%281%29.png

Drop-In Docos

Free screenings of Australian documentaries every weekend in winter 

Every weekend in winter, drop in for free documentaries in the NFSA Theatrette. Four thought-provoking Australian documentaries will show on rotation throughout the season, offering a window into key moments and conversations in our history and culture. Films will screen at 11am and 1.30pm every Saturday and Sunday, from June through to August. Admission is free and no bookings are required – stay for 10 minutes or settle in for the full screening. 

The Drop-In Doco program extends and enriches the themes of our Winter Film Series in Arc Cinema. Delve into the history of nuclear weapons testing in Australia with Backs to the Blast: An Australian Nuclear Story, while Utopia Girls reveals the little-known story of how women in South Australia became the first in the world to attain equal political rights. And in the lead-up to the Paris Olympics, be uplifted by Australian sports documentaries Spirit 2000: Countdown to Sydney and 3 Seconds From Glory  

The Theatrette is the perfect place to spend a cosy morning or afternoon immersed in Australia’s audiovisual culture. Enjoy a coffee in the courtyard before or after the doco and discover other gems from the collection screening in the Mediatheque or on display in The Library. Explore our heritage building 

Screenings commence at 11am and 1.30pm every Saturday and Sunday – drop in at any time throughout the screening. Entry is free and no bookings are required. 

A black-and-white film showing on the big screen in the NFSA Theatrette.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2024-05/Theatrette%20%282%29%201.png

 

Backs to the Blast: An Australian Nuclear Story 

1981 | Exempt – PG advisory | 50 mins | AUS | D: Harry Bardwell 

Detail from a poster for the documentary Backs to the Blast: An Australian Nuclear Story. The name of the appears over an image of someone holding open a boy's eye to examine it
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2024-05/Backs%20to%20the%20Blast.png

This influential documentary examines nuclear weapons testing and its consequences in Australia, charting a 70-year history stretching back to 1910 and incorporating archival footage from scientific recordings and newsreels. Produced in 1981, 25 years after above-ground nuclear tests at Maralinga in South Australia, Backs to the Blast catalysed significant political and public interest, which eventually led to the Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia. 

This screening complements our Progress 1984: Atomic Weapons event series in Arc Cinema, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the issuing of letters patent for the Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia. Learn more 

 

Utopia Girls 

2011 | G | 52 mins | AUS | D: Jasmin Tarasin 

A grid of sepia-toned images of women from the time of the suffragette movement in Australia
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2024-05/Utopia%20Girls.png

Award-winning historian Dr Clare Wright delves into the little-known story of how women in South Australia fought to become the first in the world to attain equal political rights. Featuring beautiful cinematography, compelling re-enactments and insightful interviews, Utopia Girls traces 50 years of the suffrage movement, through to the successful passage of the Commonwealth Franchise Act (1902) in a newly-federated Australia. 

Celebrate the achievements of Australian women in the film industry, with a free panel conversation featuring industry leaders and a month-long spotlight on Oscar-nominated cinematographer Ari Wegner in Arc Cinema. Plus, enjoy an $8 screening of Memory Film: A Filmmaker’s Diary as part of our new $8 Collection Selection series, followed by a Q&A with Australian director Jeni Thornley. 

 

Spirit 2000: Countdown to Sydney 

2000 | G | 92 mins | AUS | D: David Goldie  

Cathy Freeman holding up the Olympic torch while standing in a pool of water surrounded by a ring of flame
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2024-05/Spirit%202000_%20Countdown%20To%20Sydney.png

This moving documentary follows the triumphs and tragedies of aspiring Australian athletes in the lead up to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Director David Goldie interviews would-be Olympic champions and their loved ones over six years, providing insight into what drives them and highlighting the courage and commitment required for elite sports.  

Screening permission for Spirit 2000: Countdown to Sydney kindly granted by David Goldie (Producer, Director, Writer: Goldie Media). 

 

3 Seconds From Glory 

1999 | Exempt – PG advisory | 48 mins | AUS | D: David Goldie  

Paralympian Louise Sauvage in her wheelchair on the track competing at an event
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2024-05/3%20Seconds%20From%20Glory%20Louise%20Sauvage%20OAM.png

Presented and narrated by David Goldie, 3 Seconds From Glory tells the story of how Paralympic gold medallist Louise Sauvage assembled and coached Australia’s first women’s wheelchair relay team, aiming not only to win gold but to break the world record. This inspiring film provides a window into the lives and journeys of Sauvage and her young team, as she equips them with the skills and confidence for international elite competition. 

Screening permission for 3 Seconds From Glory kindly granted by David Goldie (Producer, Director, Writer: Goldie Media). 

 

SCREENING TIMES 

 

Date 

11am 

1.30pm 

SAT 1 JUN 

Backs to the Blast 

Spirit 2000 

SUN 2 JUN 

Utopia Girls 

3 Seconds from Glory 

SAT 8 JUN 

3 Seconds from Glory 

Utopia Girls 

SUN 9 JUN 

Spirit 2000 

Backs to the Blast 

SAT 15 JUN 

Backs to the Blast 

Spirit 2000 

SUN 16 JUN 

Utopia Girls 

3 Seconds from Glory 

SAT 22 JUN 

3 Seconds from Glory 

Utopia Girls 

SUN 23 JUN 

Spirit 2000 

Backs to the Blast 

SAT 29 JUN 

Backs to the Blast 

Spirit 2000 

SUN 30 JUN 

Utopia Girls 

3 Seconds from Glory 

SAT 6 JUL 

3 Seconds from Glory 

Utopia Girls 

SUN 7 JUL 

Spirit 2000 

Backs to the Blast 

SAT 13 JUL 

Backs to the Blast 

Spirit 2000 

SUN 14 JUL 

Utopia Girls 

3 Seconds from Glory 

SAT 20 JUL 

3 Seconds from Glory 

Utopia Girls 

SUN 21 JUL 

Spirit 2000 

Backs to the Blast 

SAT 27 JUL 

Backs to the Blast 

Spirit 2000 

SUN 28 JUL 

Utopia Girls 

3 Seconds from Glory 

SAT 3 AUG 

3 Seconds from Glory 

Utopia Girls 

SUN 4 AUG 

Spirit 2000 

Backs to the Blast 

SAT 10 AUG 

Backs to the Blast 

Spirit 2000 

SUN 11 AUG 

Utopia Girls 

3 Seconds from Glory 

SAT 17 AUG 

3 Seconds from Glory 

Utopia Girls 

SUN 18 AUG 

Spirit 2000 

Backs to the Blast 

SAT 24 AUG 

Backs to the Blast 

Spirit 2000 

SUN 25 AUG 

Utopia Girls 

3 Seconds from Glory 

SAT 31 AUG 

3 Seconds from Glory 

Utopia Girls 

SUN 1 SEP 

Spirit 2000 

Backs to the Blast 

 

Celebrate the best of sports onscreen in Arc Cinema in the lead-up to the 2024 Paris Olympics with Oscar-winning classics Chariots of Fire and Rocky; school holiday screenings of Cool Runnings and Bend It Like Beckham; and thought-provoking documentaries The Australian Dream and Life Is Not a Competition, But I’m Winning 

And don’t miss our Arc Cinema screening of Australian drama Kairos, followed by a Q&A with writer-director Paul Barakat and lead actor Chris Bunton – who won gold for Australia in gymnastics in the 2023 Special Olympics World Games.   

Plus, enjoy an $8 screening of The Club as part of our new $8 Collection Selection series.