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fresh film talent at the London Australian Film Festival

The 17th London Australian Film Festival

Thursday 5 to Thursday 12 May 2011

barbican.org.uk/film Box Office: 0845 120 7527

 

Spring is in the air and so it's time for a breath of fresh film talent from Down Under as the Barbican hosts the 17th London Australian Film Festival, bringing audiences the best in contemporary Australian features, documentaries, shorts and, new for 2011, artist films. This edition runs from Thursday 5 May to Thursday 12 May 2011 with a programme that incorporates comedy, horror, historical drama, modern romance, classic Aussie film, literature and more in one of the most popular events in the Barbican Film year.

 

The LAFF 2011 Opening Gala takes place on Thursday 5 May with the UK Premiere of Red Dog, a charmingly amusing adaptation of Louis deBernières' bestselling novel. At a 1970s Western Australian ironworks, the opportunity to earn a fast buck attracts vagrants and eccentrics from the world over. Harsh conditions lead to ructions, until Red Dog arrives and helps rebuild the spirits and relationships of the miners. The LAFF is delighted to welcome actor Noah Taylor and producer Nelson Woss on stage to introduce this gala screening.

For its closing gala on Thurday 12 May LAFF welcomes back director Louise Alston whose 2008 entry All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane was an LAFF smash hit. Alston will introduce her latest film Jucy, a quirky comedy set in a Brisbane video store where Jackie and Lucy (collectively ‘Jucy') plot a way out of their boredom by getting involved in a local production of Jane Eyre, angling to snag the local heartthrob and a fab new job into the bargain.

 

Sandwiched in between is an exciting programme of new films including AFI award winner Tomorrow When The War Began, an absorbing tale of high school kids drawn into the moral dilemma and physical danger of war, introduced by star Rachel Hurd-Wood (tbc). WWI conscripts lead the charge in multi award-winning drama Beneath Hill 60, a story of Australian miners in the trenches that's artfully directed by Jeremy Sims.

 

Fascinating documentary The Snowman chart's a daughter's quest to uncover the truth about her father's allegations that the CIA lobotomised him after discovering an illegal nuclear dump whilst working for NASA in Antarctica. Can this possibly be true, or were the schizophrenic tendencies he experienced on his return destined to happen?

 

Yu-Hsui Camille Chen's sensitive drama Little Sparrows follows a terminally ill woman putting her house in order and planning for the daughters she will leave; while Matching Jack tracks the friendship between two people brought together by their children's cancer. Both seemingly heavy going dramas demonstrate humour, warmth and above all a celebration of life in a touching and watchable way.

 

LAFF 2011 sees the return of the Dark Side of Down Under, a showcase for the ever-strong vein of horror coming from Australia featuring The Reef - the latest from Blackwater award-winning director Andrew Tarucki; high school social networking shocker Wasted on the Young; and Pretty in Pink mashed up with Wolf Creek in The Loved Ones.

 

A little light relief comes in the form of Sandra Sciberras and Kate Whitbread's romcom follow up to Caterpillar Wish, Surviving Georgia, starring Holly Valance and Shane Jacobson (Kenny).

 

For those of an artistic bent, LAFF is excited to be showcasing the latest Australian artist film work for the first time in Short Sharp Shocks, together with a screening of the newly restored classic Wake in Fright. This programme will be introduced by celebrated Australian artist David Noonan.

More short films appear before each feature as the LAFF welcomes back Bondi Beach based short film festival Flickerfest with a prize winning selection of the best shorts and animations in contemporary Australian film.

 

Sundance winner Animal Kingdom, Cannes 2010 closing film The Tree and critically acclaimed UK/Australia co-production Oranges and Sunshine all pay testament to Australian film's success at the box office and on the world cinema circuit at this year's LAFF.

 

 

PROGRAMME

 

Thursday 5 May
7.00pm - OPENING GALA: Red Dog (PG*) (Australia 2010 Dir. Kriv Stenders 88 min) introduced by actor Noah Taylor and producer Nelson Woss

A warm and funny adaptation of Louis de Bernières bestselling novel following a stray sheepdog who gained national fame for reuniting the disparate residents of a tough and dangerous mining town in the 1970s. Ravishing images of the outback are capped by winning performances from Rachael Taylor, Josh Lucas, Noah Taylor and Keisha Castle-Hughes. Also Saturday 7 May - 2.00pm

Thursday 5 May

9.15pm - The Reef (15) (Aus 2010 Dir. Andrew Traucki 94 min)

A terrifying true story from Blackwater director Andrew Traucki of five friends stranded in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef after the sea ravages their boat. Their choice: to swim for it or wait for rescue. Their problem: a hungry shark...

 

Friday 6 May

6.00pm - Surviving Georgia 12A* (Australia 2010 Dir. Sandra Sciberras & Kate Whitbread 90 min.

Heidi and Rose (Pia Miranda and Holly Valance) are sisters struggling through life, one bad relationship after another. When their absentee gambling mother Georgia sends them a cryptic letter, they head to back to the old homestead to try and get things back on track. This warm, funny romcom also stars Shane Jacobson (Kenny).

 

Friday 6 May

8.20pm - Oranges and Sunshine (15) (UK/Australia 2010 Dir. Jim Loach 104 min)

Jim Loach's cinematic debut is a highly emotive tale of care home children deported to Australia up to the 1970s who now, as adults, have to deal with their past and find their identity amongst the scandal of their past. Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham give highly moving performances.

 

Saturday 7 May

10.30am Drop-In Workshop / 11.00am - Family Film Club: Babe (U) (Australia/US Dir. Chris Noonan 92 min)

Classic family favourite Babe sees the eponymous talking piglet striving to become a sheep dog - or, more accurately, a sheep pig, in a tale of farmyard politics and big aspirations that appeals to all generations. Bringing FFC and the LAFF together for the family to enjoy, this Aussie production was nominated for an Oscar and remains a firm favourite.

 

Saturday 7 May

4.20pm - Matching Jack (12A*) (Aus 2010 Dir. Nadia Tass 103 min)

Marissa (Jacinda Barret) and David (Richard Roxburgh) appear to have the perfect marriage but when their son Jack falls ill the painful truth is laid bare. Struggling to cope, Marissa befriends Connor (James Nesbitt), whose son also has cancer and who helps her realise that life is what you make it. 

Saturday 7 May

6.40pm - Beneath Hill 60 (15) (Australia 201 Dir. Jeremy Sims 120 min)

An extraordinary true story that changed the course of WWI, Beneath Hill 60 follows a group of Australian miners conscripted to dig tunnels under key battlefield Hill 60. Depicted with realism and artful direction by director Jeremy Sims, this intense drama grips from beginning to explosive climax. AFI Winner.

 

Saturday 7 May

9.25pm - Wasted on the Young (18*) (Australia 2010 Dir. Ben C. Lucas 97 min)

Heathers meets Hard Candy as two boys at an elite high school fight it out for the affections of a beautiful and self-assured girl, only to descend into a hellish mess of assault, revenge and horrifyingly unexpected twists.

 

Sunday 8 May

1.30pm - Mao's Last Dancer (PG*) (Australia 2009 Dir. Bruce Beresford 117 min.)

Australia's biggest box office hit of 2009mis based on the best-selling autobiography of Li Cunxin and directed by the legendary Bruce Beresford. In 1972, Li was plucked from his village in rural China and taken to Madame Mao's Beijing Dance Academy. After years of gruelling training, he was selected to travel to America, where freedom beckoned...

Sunday 8 May

4.00pm - South Solitary (PG) (Aus 2010 Dir. Shirley Barrett 120 min)

Wonderfully evocative of life in 1927 on a desolate island off the stormy South Australian coast, South Solitary opened the 2010 Sydney Film Festival. Miranda Otto plays a lighthouse keeper battling loneliness, disparaging islanders and a relationship with brooding, war-damaged Marton Csokas that's as much about companionship as love in a hostile world. 

 

Sunday 8 May

6.30pm - The Tree (PG*) (Australia/France 2010 Dir. Julie Bertucelli 100 min)
After the death of her father rocks her family, 8 year-old Simone believes his spirit resides in a beautiful tree that towers over their house, and is threatened with felling. The closing night film of Cannes 2010, this lyrical and deeply poignant Australian-French co-production features superb lead performances, including that of Charlotte Gainsbourg.

 

Sunday 8 May

8.40pm - Animal Kingdom (15) (Australia 2009 Dir. David Michôd 112 min)

Winner of the 2010 Grand Jury prize at Sundance and hailed as one of the best Australian films of all time, this superbly crafted thriller sees Guy Pierce return to home turf for one of his finest performances to date, as a true grit Melbourne detective hell-bent on saving a young boy from his criminal family. With Joel Edgerton and Anthony Hayes. AFI Winner.

 

Monday 9 May

6.00pm - Strange Birds in Paradise (Australia 2009 Dir. Charlie Hill-Smith 75 min.) plus Q&A with director Charlie Hill-Smith

Australian writer, cartoonist and comedian Charlie Hill-Smith explores the rich culture and recent history of West Papua in this revealing documentary. Having made strong connections there as a student, he returns to investigate the people's resistance to Indonesian rule, exploring the music and the stories of two political exiles from West Papua.

 

Monday 9 May

8.15pm - Red Hill (15) (Australia 2010 Dir. Patrick Hughes 95 min)
City cop Shane's wife is pregnant and stress needs to be avoided, so a move to the sticks is doctor's orders. But the sleepy community of Red Hill is soon rudely awoken when an escaped convict rides into town with murder on his mind and a cracking showdown ensues. Starring True Blood's Ryan Kwanten.

 

Tuesday 10 May

6.00pm - Little Sparrows (PG*) (Australia 2010 Dir. Yu-Hsui Camille Chen 88 min)

A simple and sensitive drama centred on the life and impending death of Susan and her relationship with the three daughters she will leave behind. Still in need of support and guidance, Susan's ‘Little Sparrows' must learn to fly without her.

 

Tuesday 10 May

8.00pm - Short Sharp Shocks, introduced by artist David Noonan

Brand new to the LAFF, Short Sharp Shocks showcases the practice of contemporary Australian artists working with moving image. A selection of artist film is paired with cult feature Wake in Fright (1971) selected by celebrated artist David Noonan, an Australian resident of London who is currently featured in the British Art Show 7. With thanks to curator Katrina Schwarz.

+

Wake in Fright (18*) (Australia 1971 Dir. Ted Kotcheff 114min.)

In this recently restored long 'lost' classic of Australian cinema, Gary Bond has little to his name and a teaching bond he's keen to shed when he finds himself trapped in 'Yabba. Wake in Fright's surreally vivid and nightmarish take on rural culture shocked audiences at its first outing, with no little thanks to the brutal and real Kangaroo hunt sequence.

 

Wednesday 11 May

6.00pm - The Snowman (15) (Aus 2009 Dir. Juliet Lamont 79 min)

A prizewinner at the Sydney International Film Festival 2010, this fascinating documentary charts a woman's efforts to uncover the truth behind the dramatic personality change in her father, who went to train NASA astronauts in Antarctica and returned with schizophrenic tendencies and dangerous impulses. Claiming he discovered an illegal nuclear dump, he believed that the CIA had given him a chemical lobotomy; can his story be true?

 

Wednesday 11 May

8.00pm - The Loved Ones (18) (Australia 2009 Dir. Sean Byrne 85 min)

This bunny-boiler of a teenage revenge movie makes Fatal Attraction look like Breakfast at Tiffany's. When Daddy's girl Lola's prom plans go awry, she enlists her demented family to help fulfil a personal vendetta that can only be described as beyond extreme... with a welcome whiplash of black humour to keep things fresh. 

 

Thursday 12 May

6.00pm - Tomorrow When the War Began (12A) (Australia 2010 Dir. Stuart Beattie 103 min) introduced by actress Rachel Hurd-Wood (TBC)

Tomorrow When the War Began is the tale of an unlikely group of high-school heroes who fight for their lives as a war nobody had predicted erupts in their hometown. Based on the classic Australian novel, it's an action packed drama starring some of the hottest young Australian talent including Caitlin Stasey, Lincoln Lewis and Rachel Hurd-Wood. AFI Winner.

 

Thursday 12 May

8.20pm - CLOSING GALA: Jucy (15*) (2009 Australia Dir. Louise Alston 86min)

plus Q&A with director Louise Alston
Jucy = Jackie + Lucy, best friends who work in a Brisbane video store, stuck in a rut with no obvious way out. But when a local theatre production goes into casting, they hatch a plan to snag the man and grab a cool new job. The latest quirky comedy from the team behind the LAFF's 2008 smash hit, All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane.

Thursday 12 May

10.00pm - Tropfest (tbc)

Tropfest is the largest short film festival in the world and the LAFF is delighted to once again show the sixteen finalists of the 2011 crop at this annual free screening. Beamed live from Sydney across Australia in February, Tropfest attracts an audience of 150,000 across Australia and is so successful, there are now US and Arabian versions. Films can be about anything, but must be under 7 minutes long and include the Tropfest Signature Item - this year it's KEY.

 

 

BOOKING INFORMATION

Visit www.barbican.org.uk/film or call the box office on 0845 120 7527

 

Tickets

Standard: £10.50 / £8.50 online

Members: £8.50 / £6.50 online

Concessions: £7.50

Under 15: £5.50

Opening and Closing Galas:

Standard: £10.50 online (£12.50 full price)

Barbican Members: £8.50 online (£10.50 full price)

Concessions: £9.50

Under 15: £6.50

 

For further information please contact:

Laura Bushell laff@sarahharvey.info / 07790 644 910

Sarah Harvey sarah@sarahharvey.info / 020 7232 2812

 

 

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About Editor

Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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