Australians take Berlin
A record 7 Australian films have been selected for the Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 6-17). Ivan Sen’s directorial feature debut Beneath Clouds will have its world premiere screening in competition before showing at the 2002 Adelaide Festival. Screening in the International Panorama Section are Tony Ayres’ Walking on Water (also featured at Adelaide) and Nash Edgerton’s short The Pitch, fresh from Sundance. The festival’s International Forum of New Cinema will feature Rachel Perkins’ One Night the Moon and the Australian/Chinese feature Shanghai Panic.
International cast for WA TV conference
The 6th Small Screen BIG PICTURE conference gets into gear at the end of February with international speakers including British producer Verity Lambert (Dr Who, Minder, Rumpole of the Bailey) and commissioning editors from SBS, ABC, Network Ten and the Seven Network. Panellists include AFC chief Kim Dalton, Sue Masters (drama, Ten), Glenys Rowe (SBS Independent), Penny Chapman and Amanda Higgs (producer, The Secret Life of Us, see page 19). Tania Chambers (acting CE, Screenwest) comments: “…[we] will focus on issues such as the changing marketplace for Australian drama and documentaries, opportunities in education and children’s television, and new technologies…we will also be exploring the potential of the Singapore market.” Fremantle, Feb 28-March 2. 08 9228 1999
Australian box office success (finally)
2001 was a strong year for Australian films. According to the AFC they earned 7.8 per cent of Australia’s total box office. While it’s important to focus on issues other than money-making to promote our screen culture, Moulin Rouge, Lantana, The Man Who Sued God, The Bank and Mullet did particularly well to each earn over a million dollars, especially in competition with mega budget Hollywood product. Tait Brady (head of distribution, Palace Films) commented: “The incredible popularity of Lantana is a very encouraging sign that the Australian filmgoing audience is maturing and recognises intelligent filmmaking and identifiable, real Australian characters.”
Super 8 moves on
The new Moving Image Coalition has formed from the remnants of the Super 8 Film Group with the aim of supporting Super 8, 16mm, VHS, DV and sound artists by organising screenings consisting of a curated program and an open screening, starting the end of April at Cinema Nova, Melbourne. Please email to join the group or submit material.
Queensland short film Mohamed’s Passion (writer/director Sandra Graham), part of the Extreme Heat short film package co-financed by PFTC and AFC, won the Best International Fiction Award at the Chilean Short Film Festival in Santiago in November. Festival director Teresa Izquierdo commented that the film “was a favourite with both audiences and the jury.” (PFTC, Getting Ideas On Screen)
AFC screen culture funding
The AFC has announced Industry & Cultural Development funding of more than $1.2 million for over 40 film festivals, awards, events and publications in 2002. The Emirates AFI Awards received increased funding with a commitment for 2003-4, as did their touring Cinematheque program. The Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Film Festivals will now be funded triennially, and WA’s REVelation Film Festival gained a significant increase. Touring will also benefit with 45 regional centres (over 80,000 people) able to see films from a selection of festivals including St Kilda Film Festival, Real: Life on Film docos, Flickerfest, Sydney and Melbourne Travelling Film Festivals, Over the Fence, Women on Women and the Jewish Film Festival
Joining the A list
Melbourne-based writer Max Barry has come to the attention of Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney with his yet-to-be-published novel Jennifer Government. Soderbergh’s company Section Eight has acquired the rights to Barry’s “social satire about living in a totally privatised world”, set in St Kilda. Barry commented, “After having my first book set in America, I’m just thrilled to have found a way to write a story that has something to say about Australia and the US.” (The Age, January 3 2002)
Nurturing young talent
Fremantle filmmaker Sophie McNeill recently won the Triple J Independent Spirit if Award for her documentary Awaiting Freedom. What’s remarkable is that she was just 15, and had never made a film before, when she convinced her parents to let her fly to East Timor with few resources or funds. Let’s hope it gets a festival release soon.
MAFIA hits Sydney
Music and Film Independent Artists (MAFIA) has just announced the first dedicated documentary awards, which will screen and be judged April 7, Chauvel Cinemas, Sydney. Make a 10-minute doco and send to MAFIA by March 7 to be in the running and judged by a panel from ABC, SBS, AFTRS as well as AFI Awards winners. Prizes include equipment, courses and training, facilities, plane tickets and money to make your next doco. Email. Website
Flickerfest: first time Oz winner
For the first time in history, an Australian short won the top prize at Flickerfest. In Search of Mike (see RT44 p35), Andrew Lancaster’s film starring Brian Carbee (which also won a Dendy Award), took the Grolsch Award for Best Film and Audio Loc Sound Design Award for Best Achievement in Sound ahead of a record number of 800 entries. AFI nominee Delivery Day (part of SBS’s Hybrid Life series) won the Adobe Award for Best Australian Film and Inside Film Magazine Award for Most Popular Film. Another Hybrid Life product, The Last Pecheniuk, won the National Geographic Channel Award for Best Documentary.
Sydney Film Collaborators have C I N E R G Y
A new weekly email newsletter is now helping Sydney filmmakers to collaborate in production. With subscriber provided content, individuals can post requests to find people involved in production and performance, as well as keeping up to date with festivals and events around town. It is a great way to generate immediate interest in a project and move it into 'GO' mode. It gives more power to those 'out of the loop' or with few established contacts. It is a free service available from
RealTime issue #47 Feb-March 2002 pg. 20
© Kirsten Krauth; for permission to reproduce apply to email@example.com