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The REAL: life on film festival has finalised its program for 2002, and has been given extra oomph from new director Hilary Blackman, who has worked previously with dancer Cazerine Barry and as digital media coordinator for the Melbourne International Film Festival last year. The festival now tours to Melbourne (May 2-8), Sydney (May 9-15), Perth (May 16-18) and Adelaide (May 23, 25, 27) and focuses on innovative documentaries, Australian and international—mostly premieres, and rare to see on the big screen.

This year’s meaty selection includes Dark Days, Marc Singer’s underground film about the underground, the lives of NYC’s displaced people living beneath Penn Station (winner Audience Awards at Sundance 2000); Melissa Kyu-Jung Lee’s A True Story About Love (see our feature interview with Melissa, RT47 p15); Darlene Johnson’s documentary about Ray Cott’s personal discovery tour, Everyday Brave—Stranger in My Skin; and Catriona McKenzie’s profile of leading Aboriginal activist Naomi Myers, Everyday Brave—Jetja Nai Medical Mob. Other highlights include Megan Spencer’s guided tour through transgressive documentaries such as The Annabel Chong Story; and doco legends Pennebaker, Hegedus and Doob’s celebration of the acclaimed soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ O Brother Where Art Thou in Down From the Mountain.

Qld TV series tackles new technology

Queensland producers, Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield (Hoodlum Entertainment) are working on Fat Cow Motel, a 13-part multi-platform mystery series in the style of Twin Peaks. The show will be delivered to its audience thought Austar cable TV, radio, mobile phone, email, snail mail and dedicated websites, and is the first of its kind in Australia. Throughout the series, participants will be sent SMS messages giving clues to weekly mysteries.

Robertson commented on the writing process: “The challenge is finding writers who can do it. Firstly, they have to bear in mind all the platforms while writing the script. Then they have to not only write the material for each of those platforms but also co-ordinate the writing of all those platforms so they link together in the most effective way possible” (PFTC news). For more info visit

Asian feast

Short Soup, a national short film competition offers filmmakers a cash prize and the chance to have their work shown on SBS’s Eat Carpet. Part of the Sydney Asia Pacific Film Festival, the competition is open to documentaries, animations and experimental works by, or about Asian Australians. The films can be up to 26 minutes

All the films entered in the competition will be shown throughout the festival, which runs from August 8-17. The finalists’ films will be screened on August 8.

Eat Carpet’s executive producer, Joy Toma says that by encouraging films from both Asian and non-Asian directors, the festival acknowledges that, “It’s not just Asian Australians who can tell stories about Asian experience. In multicultural Australia there are a wide variety of stories and telling them is part of our lives.”

At least one film will be purchased and screened on Eat Carpet. Last year 5 winning films were screened, including Linden Goh’s richly coloured drama My Old China depicting the joys and strains of cross-cultural schoolyard friendships.

Entry deadline May 30. Application forms and entry conditions available at or by post: Short Soup Competition Co-ordinator, PO Box 339, Darlinghurst, NSW 1300.

Rachel Griffiths rules

For anyone who hasn’t caught it yet, don’t miss Six Feet Under. Written (and produced) by American Beauty’s Alan Ball, and featuring the same caustic humour, it is a breathtaking, surreal genre piece on all the good things: death, honour, love, sex, loyalty, family—in the funeral business.

Rachel Griffiths, in her winning speech at The 2002 Golden Globes, called her producers “you crazy bastards” for trying to get the show off the ground, and you can see why. This series breaks the mould, more like Dennis Potter than any US show I can recall. It is harrowing and funny; and Griffiths does a gorgeous contemporary turn as the woman who won’t commit, spouting psychobabble to ward off any advances: a sexually charged, strong and just damn cool female character. More please!

Six Feet Under screens on Channel 9, Monday nights, around 10.30pm (but usually about half an hour late). Hopefully it won’t be bumped around too much like The Sopranos. KK

RealTime issue #48 April-May 2002 pg. 20

© Kirsten Krauth; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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