A freelance writer and copywriter for over fifteen years, Helene has written for publications and brands all over the world and couldn’t imagine herself in any other job. A shameless film freak, her first onscreen experience involved a trip to Avondale’s Hollywood Theatre at the age of five to see Yul Brynner in The Ultimate Warrior and she hasn’t looked back since. A big fan of documentaries, she has interviewed subjects as diverse as Henry Rollins, Jimmy Choo and Beyonce Knowles, and also has her own beauty blog - which can be found at www.mshelene.com - for the purpose of raving about red lipstick, big hair and other essential indulgences.

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Film Fess by Helene Ravlich

25 Latest News Articles

A spoonful of sugar helps… pretty much no one, ever: THAT SUGAR FILM

Posted on Friday 1/04/2016 April, 2016 by Rialto Admin

It seems highly ironic that I am writing about tonight’s documentary, THAT SUGAR FILM whilst Easter weekend is in its death throes, surrounded by a nation gleefully overindulging despite our hideous statistics when it comes to childhood obesity and diabetes. I can also view the film quite objectively (and smugly) as I have never had even the inkling of a sweet tooth, however when someone finally gets around to making “That Salt Film” I will probably be running in fear.

For those unaware of its premise, THAT SUGAR FILM is in essence “one man's journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar”. It follows Damon Gameau as he embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as “healthy”. This means the likes of fruit juice, snack bars and flavoured water get a right dressing down, as Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves. 


Posted on Thursday 24/03/2016 March, 2016 by Rialto Admin

The premise of tonight’s controversial documentary (T)ERROR is quite bloody astounding, and it defies belief how the directors actually pulled it off. The slightly slow paced at times but still solid outing is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counter- terrorism sting operation, an all-too-familiar scenario in post-9/11 USA.

HOMME LESS - a portrait of the man as a model, photographer and person of no fixed abode

Posted on Tuesday 15/03/2016 March, 2016 by Rialto Admin

The picture of what has been called “high-functioning homelessness”, Mark Reay is the enigmatic subject at the centre of tonight’s beautifully paced documentary, HOMME LESS. As the opening credits roll, we see ex-model Reay prepare for his day in extreme close-up. The still handsome, struggling photographer wets his hair and slicks it back with quality brand styling product, ties his tie, does up his pants and puts on a suit jacket, making sure the handkerchief in the breast pocket is just so. He knots the laces of his well-shined leather shoes, and after all of this, is ready to face whatever the day throws at him. All good thus far, until we realise that Reay is performing his toilette in a pretty grimy 


Posted on Thursday 10/03/2016 March, 2016 by Melanie Curry-Irons

Following a major earthquake in Japan, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a life-threatening nuclear accident on 11 March, 2011. All three cores largely melted in the first three days and things looked extremely dire – but amazingly the reactors were held in check and the millions of lives affected were saved.

But how? Well tonight’s documentary FUKUSHIMA: A NUCLEAR STORY sheds more than a little light on the subject, by taking us on an exclusive journey inside the triple tragedy that hit Japan that fateful day. The fact-filled but still compelling film is jam-packed with insight into what really happened at Fukushima after the quake and the tsunami that followed.


BLOOD BROTHER, Christianity and Rocky Braat

Posted on Wednesday 2/03/2016 March, 2016 by Rialto Admin

Why would someone leave everything behind to devote their life to helping others? Director Steve Hoover explores that question in tonight’s documentary BLOOD BROTHER, the story of his long-time friend Rocky Braat, who did exactly that.

Documentary THE ANIMAL CONDITION, and can a film make you stop eating meat?

Posted on Thursday 25/02/2016 February, 2016 by Rialto Admin

Years ago after reading Ruth Ozeki’s 1998 novel “My Year of Meats”, I gave up eating well, meat. The first novel by award-winning writer and documentary maker Ozeki, it was a brilliantly worded read as well as damn depressing and occasionally hard to stomach. In the novel, protagonist Jane Takagi-Little takes a job as a producer on a Japanese reality show designed to encourage Japanese housewives to cook more beef. Jane is responsible for finding American housewives who are “wholesome and attractive” who will open their homes to the cameras and make a meal whose centrepiece is some kind of beef dish. As Jane becomes more involved in the show, she begins to learn things about the beef industry that cause her to doubt her commitment to the show. At the same time, Akiko Ueno, the wife of the advertising executive who oversees the show's production, watches and learns that there is more to life than subservient obedience to a husband that she never loved. “My Year of Meats” is not only a closer look into the controversial practices of the beef industry but also a story of self-discovery in the lives of two very different women. I highly recommend it, and it affected me to such a degree that I stopped eating meat for almost nine years. My return to the carnivorous fold was basically a craving, coupled with the fact that since I had given it up a plethora of options had opened to buy reasonably affordable, free farmed and ethically treated meat. I still don’t eat pork but that’s another story related to a deep set love for pigs – true fact.

Presenting brand - Russell Brand and THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

Posted on Thursday 18/02/2016 February, 2016 by Rialto Admin

Tonight’s very watchable documentary is THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES, a film from the always amusing and oft controversial personality, Russell Brand about the growing disparity between economic classes. Created in collaboration withdirector Michael Winterbottom, the film contains archival footage from the 21st-century recession paired with "comedic send-ups" from Brand, conducted in the financial districts of London and New York.  Winterbottom stated that the film explores why "nothing has changed" since the economic crisis in 2008, saying: "It's about inequality and why the one per cent (of the world's wealthy) seem to have so much and the rest of us not quite so much, everyone knows about equality and what's going on in the world, so the idea is to point out the ludicrous extremes of our society."

Reactions to the doco have been mixed, and as a fan I may be biased. With this in mind I instead present to you my favourite on-screen appearances by Brand of late, in no particular order…

POVERTY INC. and the ‘trade not aid’ debate

Posted on Wednesday 10/02/2016 February, 2016 by Rialto Admin

We’ll all done it in some way, shape or form – sponsored the child in Africa, bought the TOMs shoes, signed the change.org petition to hopefully exact social er, change. But how much good are we actually doing, or are we just making ourselves feel better about our own comfortable situation in the world? Are we smugly gifting to the charity du jour just so we sleep easier on our 400 thread count sheets?

THE CASE AGAINST 8 – great watch… and essential reminder

Posted on Thursday 4/02/2016 February, 2016 by Rialto Admin

By the time the documentary THE CASE AGAIN 8 was released, we had all followed the State of California after Proposition 8 was unveiled with great fervour. It was both infuriating and intriguing to watch for those of us on the outside, and it had been covered heavily in the press all around the world. With that in mind, how effective would the aforementioned documentary actually be – given that we knew all the details of the tale well in advance?

Bloody compelling to put it mildly, which is a testament to the amazing storytelling skills of its talented directors, Ben Cotner and Ryan White 

For those of you who may have been living under a rock – or on a news fast at the time to give you the benefit of the doubt - after the California Supreme Court ruled in May 2008 that same-sex couples could marry, a proposition was put to voters to amend the state constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. After that proposition – known as Prop 8 - was passed a passionate, well-informed group decided to challenge the constitutionality of the amendment. This documentary follows the efforts of the plaintiffs and lawyers over four years as the case winds its way through the courts, and it is fascinating stuff even if on screen legal battles aren’t your thing.

SWEET MICKY FOR PRESIDENT - how a nappy wearing popstar got Haiti’s top job

Posted on Thursday 28/01/2016 January, 2016 by Rialto Admin

"It's just so ridiculous, it's just one of the most ridiculous stories ever.”
Pras Michel on his documentary, SWEET MICKY FOR PRESIDENT. 

I love the brutally honest quote from the former member of the Fugees, above – having watched this quite bizarre and bloody interesting documentary I would have to agree. "You couldn't make it up,” he said, “if you wrote this script and you shopped it in Hollywood and they decided to make it, everybody would be like, 'Get the fuck out of here.'" 

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