LOCAL films Last Dance and Mystery Road have won awards at the Festival des Antipodes held in Saint-Tropez last week.
David Pulbrook’s small thriller starring Firass Dirani and Julia Blake won the audience award. Ivan Sen’s thriller Mystery Road won two prizes: the jury mention and the best actress prize for Tasma Walton. The New Zealand film How to Meet Girls from a Distance won the top prize for director Dean Hewison. Best actor was shared by Shopping’s Julian Dennison and Kevin Paulo
IN DVD news, Umbrella Entertainment has negotiated the rights to restore classics from the Chauvel library of films from Australian film legend Charles Chauvel. The deal includes rights to some of the most notable films from our cinematic prehistory: Australian Walkabout, Jedda, In the Wake of the Bounty and 40,000 Horsemen. Umbrella’s managing director Jeff Harrison is thrilled at the deal and will possibly exhibit one or two during the midyear film festival circuit next year. He tells Reel Time it is the latest step in Umbrella’s “continuing commitment to restore and re-release Australian films”. “We are still looking for more titles and old catalogues and will continue to look,” he says, adding the restorations worked so well that they offered sustainable income streams. Some titles already in Umbrella’s catalogue, including Don’s Party, are likely to be made available in HD soon.
ELSEWHERE, the coming film about the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Parkland, starring Jacki Weaver, Zac Efron, Billy Bob Thornton and Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder, has been moved straight to DVD, despite solid reviews. It is released here on November 13, as is James Franco’s adaptation of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. And a DVD apology. In DVD Letterbox in the Review section on October 19 the release of the American documentary Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s was touted. It won’t be released until January. Also watch out for a 20th-anniversary edition of one of Reel Time’s faves, Muriel’s Wedding, and a 30th-anniversary edition of Phar Lap.
TROPFEST Australia has signed a sponsorship and partnership deal with Qantas. The world’s largest short film festival will partner with the airline on a Tropfest channel on its in-flight entertainment, featuring a selection of Tropfest films from the past 20 years, as well as on a Qantas film cadetship, a six-month paid internship in the airline’s digital and in-flight entertainment division. Festival-goers attending the main Tropfest event on December 8, which moves to the larger capacity Centennial Park in Sydney, also will have the chance to win Qantas event packs. Films by Tropfest finalists, meanwhile, will be screened live from the competition on SBS 2 following a five-year agreement with the broadcaster.
THE inaugural Sydney Intercultural Film Festival has announced its program, including an official competition for 26 features, documentaries and shorts, with more than 100 free screenings. The festival will feature more than 125 films from 30 countries including Japan, Russia, Iran, India, Poland and Israel from November 13 to 24, with only the official selection films ticketed. Among the highlights is a program of North Korean films from 1974 through to 2008. Festival creative manager Kate Ryerson says the common thread of every film, in competition or not, is a “cultural element — either in terms of content, theme or production backing”. The festival opens with the Australian premiere of Maina, a Canadian historical drama by director Michel Poulett, and closes with the world premiere of Australian film Forbidden Ground, a World War I action drama co-directed by Johan Earl and Adrian Powers. Other highlights include I am Gay and Muslim (The Netherlands/Morocco) and South Korean feature The Weight, which won the Queer Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival, the latest from animation legend Bill Plympton, Cheatin’, and crime-drama Luv, starring Danny Glover and rapper Common,, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
TIM Winton’s The Turning has passed the $ 1 million mark at the Australian box office, only the fourth local film to do so this year. It is an excellent result for the film and the bold release strategy of producer Robert Connolly’s CinemaPlus (see story left). It has exceeded his expectations and those of distribution partner Madman. The film, featuring 17 short stories adapted by 17 filmmakers, is likely to screen on ABC1 in March, with a DVD/download release the following day. It had the highest screen average of any national release in the country for its opening weekend and opening week, and continues to expand into regional areas. For what it’s worth, the top Australian films at the box office in this calendar year are The Great Gatsby ($ 28.3m), Goddess ($ 1.64m), Return to Nim’s Island ($ 1.22m) and Drift ($ 920,000). The Rocket performed well with $ 460,000 and the documentary Red Obsession can be pleased with $ 430,000.