The line-up for the 60th BFI London Film Festival was officially announced this morning, with a handful of Australian films amidst the festival’s usual array of art cinema and genre fare from across the globe.
Fresh from last year’s BFI London Film Festival (where it landed an unlikely nomination for Best Film), taut heist thriller Son of a Gun is the first feature from writer-director Julius Avery, whose short film Jerrycan won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2008. Imports Ewan McGregor and Alicia Vikander star alongside up-and-comer Brenton Thwaites, who plays a young prisoner taken under the protective wing of McGregor’s criminal hard man – accruing a debt that must be repaid on the outside.
Five fiction features, four documentaries, four shorts and one omnibus film, exploring life and death – from the outback to the city – with detours into sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll – Australian cinema is set to make a significant contribution to the 58th BFI London Film Festival, which takes place in cinemas across London, 8-19 October 2014.
The annual fiesta of film that is the BFI London Film Festival kicked off earlier this week, with a handful of Australian films set to ‘thrill’ audiences, show them ‘love’ and take them on a ‘journey’.
Ivan Sen’s excellent slow-burn thriller Mystery Road, starring Aaron Pedersen as an Aboriginal cop returning to his hometown and immediately thrown into a murder investigation, opened the ‘Thrill’ strand as its gala film on Thursday (repeating the feat of The Sapphires, which screened as the Nintendo gala at last year’s festival). A big crowd also took in Mystery Road yesterday at the Odeon West End (Leicester Square), with an intro and Q&A with Australian screen legend Jack Thompson (one of a myriad of familiar Australian actors peppered throughout the film). Mystery Road gets its final LFF screening on Saturday October 19 at the Curzon Renoir. That last session is now sold out, but hopefully the film’s exposure at LFF will encourage a British distributor to give it a wider UK release.
Based on the true story of Robyn Davidson’s 1977 solo camel trek across the Australian outback, John Curran’s mesmerising Tracks, starring Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver, takes a place in the official competition strand, competing for the Best Film award with three screenings next week; Tuesday (15/10) and Wednesday (16/10) at the Odeon West End, followed by a sold-out screening on Saturday October 19 at Screen on the Green in Islington. Tracks has UK distribution via eOne, and should be in British and Irish cinemas in early 2014. [Book]
The festival’s ‘Love’ strand plays host to French-Australian co-production Adore [aka Adoration], directed by Anne Fontaine, based on a Doris Lessing short story and starring Robin Wright and Naomi Watts as inseparable childhood friends with grown-up sons, with absent fathers drawing the four drawn ever closer together. The film has already had two screenings at the Vue West End, with one final chance to see it on Sunday (13/10) at Ciné Lumière. Adore should also get a UK theatrical release via Exclusive, with Paramount scheduled to handle VOD and home entertainment releases. [Book]
Another international co-production plays in the ‘Journey’ strand, with Kim Mordaunt’s Australia-Laos-Thailand produced The Rocket, a rural drama of displacement and resilience. Fresh from winning awards and critical praise at the Sydney, Berlin and Tribecca film festivals, the film has already had two screenings at the ICA and Rich Mix, with a final showing on Monday (14/10) at Vue West End. Having already been acquired by Eureka Entertainment, The Rocket should also get a limited UK theatrical release soon. [Book]
Also on show at LFF are two Australian-produced documentaries; Kitty Green makes her feature doc debut with Ukraine Is Not A Brothel [book] – an expose of controversial Ukrainian female activist group Femen – which screens in the documentary competition strand on Friday (18/10) at BFI Southbank and Sunday (20/10) at Vue West End, whilst Gracie Otto’s profile of notorious London theatre and film bon vivant Michael White in The Last Impresario [book] , which screens as part of the ‘Love’ strand at the Odeon West End tomorrow (Sunday 13/10) and a sold-out session at BFI Southbank on Tuesday (15/10). Also screening at LFF this year is Michelle Blanchard’s short film Aboriginal Heart, which plays support to South London-set adolescent comedy-drama Gone Too Far! There are three screenings next weekend at Odeon West End (18/10), Hackney Picturehouse (19/10) and Vue West End (20/10). [Book]
The BFI London Film Festival runs until October 20 at venues across central London. As always, for more information on upcoming festival screenings, theatrical and home releases and one-off events, keep an eye on our Aussie Film Calendar.
Announced earlier today, the programme for the 55th BFI London Film Festival features the usual clutch of big name auteur directors alongside some of the finest emerging talent that world cinema has to offer. Fitting squarely into that latter category is a recent Australian feature, Justin Kurzel’s directorial debut Snowtown.
A gritty portrayal of one of Australia’s most notorious serial killings, Snowtown examines the ‘bodies in the barrels’ murders which took place in Adelaide’s northern suburbs throughout the 1990s. Written by Shaun Grant, the film is told from the perspective of Jamie Vlassakis, a disenfranchised 16 year old pulled into the manic world of ringleader John Bunting.
After premiering at the 2011 Adelaide Film Festival (where it won the Audience Award), screening during Critics’ Week at Cannes and grossing a healthy $1m during its Australian theatrical release, Snowtown will make it’s British debut with a pair of screenings at the Vue West End during the 55th BFI London Film Festival. An evening screening on October 17 will be followed by a matinee on the 18th, ahead of a British cinema release in November courtesy of Revolver Entertainment.
Full details of the Snowtown screenings are available on the BFI website.
Australia is also contributing to the festival’s Short Cuts & Animation programme. The Do The Right Thing strand – showing on October 26 (with a matinee the following day) – features the 11-minute comedy-drama Bear, the latest effort from Blue-Tongue Films directed by Nash Edgerton (The Square), who also stars alongside Teresa Palmer and Warwick Thornton in a script co-written with Blue-Tongue cohort David Michôd (Animal Kingdom). Elsewhere, writer-director David Easteal’s 16-minute drama The Father has picked up a slot in the Small Town strand, screening on the 25th and 26th (matinee). Once again, full details for each of the shorts programmes can be found on the BFI website.
The 55th BFI London Film Festival runs 12 – 27 October at venues across central London. Following a priority booking period for BFI members, tickets will be available to the general public on September 26.