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The BigPond Adelaide Film Festival (BAFF) announced its 2011 slate of new screen works which have received funding through the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund (AFFIF) and will world premiere at the 2011 festival.  The list includes three fiction and four factual features, three cross platform works and four short films.

Festival Director Katrina Sedgwick says, ‘Each of the Festival fund directors have previously created works that have delighted local and international audiences, and here stretch themselves in different directions working with strong creative teams. It is with great anticipation we look forward to their new works that will screen for the first time in Adelaide in February/March 2011’.

The investment fund feature films include the debut feature from Indigenous filmmaker Beck Cole (Making Samson & Delilah) entitled HERE I AM, an uplifting drama about a young Aboriginal woman released from prison and trying to find her life and family again, starring Shai Pittman and Marcia Langton; Justin Kurzel (Blue Tongue) directs his first feature SNOWTOWN, based on the Snowtown murders, the first film to be produced by Warp Films Australia, starring new talents Daniel Henshall and Lucas Pittaway; Amiel Courtin-Wilson (Bastardy) directs the low budget HAIL, exploring the interface between documentary and drama and inspired by his five year collaboration with Daniel P. Jones, a former prison inmate with an artist’s vision of the world; Tony Krawitz (JewBoy) directs THE TALL MAN, a feature doc based on the award-winning bestseller by Chloe Hooper about the death in custody of Cameron Doomadgee at Palm Island; Bob Connolly (Rats in the Ranks) co-directs documentary feature MRS CAREY’S CONCERT with Sophie Raymond, following music teacher Karen Carey as she prepares students for a concert at the Sydney Opera House; and South Australia’s Closer Productions present three films LIFE IN MOVEMENT (dir Sophie Hyde & Bryan Mason), the story of dancer/ choreographer Tanja Liedtke; SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE (dir Matt Bate), a documentary feature about two Gen X slackers who covertly recorded their next door neighbours and accidentally created a worldwide viral phenomenon, and the half hour doco, STUNT LOVE (dir Matt Bate) about Hollywood film pioneer, J. P. McGowan and his daredevil wife Helen Holmes.

Cross platform works include commissioning Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah) to create his first video installation which will feature in the Samstag Museum exhibition Stop the Gap: Indigenous Art In motion; visual artist Lynette Wallworth is creating REKINDLING VENUS: IN PLAIN SIGHT, a breathtaking transmedia work; and dynamic South Australian duo, Dario Russo and David Ashby whose Italian Spiderman was a YouTube phenomenon watched by over eighty million viewers, will unveil the first stage of DANGER 5, a cross platform action/comedy series following the adventures of five specialist secret agents, co-funded by the SAFC and SBS.

Short films include THE MOMENT, based on a short story by Shaun Micaleff and co directed by live action director, Shane McNeil and animation director, Troy Bellchambers; the Greek Australian co production THE PALACE, written and directed by Anthony Maras and filmed in Cyprus and MAGIC HARVEST, directed by Jeni Lee, documenting a community project in the City of Onkaparinga where residents are invited to devote one square metre of their garden to create a food plot.

The AFFIF provides equity investment in Australian screen production of $500,000 per year for two years (2010-2011). The Adelaide Film Festival Board, considering recommendations by the Festival’s Director Katrina Sedgwick, selects the projects. To date the AFFIF has invested over $3.6 million in 47 projects including 14 features, 8 feature documentaries, 16 short films and 6 cross-platform projects.

Since its establishment in 2002, the AFFIF has created a highly impressive track record. Warwick Thornton’s Samson and Delilah had its world premiere at the 2009 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival and went on to win awards across the world including the Camera d’Or prize for a first film at the Cannes festival; Rolf de Heer’s Ten Canoes has achieved stunning success around the globe and Tony Ayres’ Home Song Stories received 31 international nominations and awards following its 2007 Adelaide Film Festival premiere.

2011 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival Chairperson, Cheryl Bart said, ‘The AFFIF continues to support creative and ground-breaking Australian screen projects. Our support for the Australian film industry is a key platform for the Festival’s success and 2011 will continue to build on that strength. We are delighted to once again have BigPond as our naming rights sponsor. We share a vision for screen industries and telling stories from our unique Australian perspective nationally and beyond. We are delighted with the calibre of this new slate of projects which demonstrate our position as a key player in financing structures available to independent and art house screen production in Australia.’

Adelaide Film Festival INVESTMENT FUND SLATE – 2011

Feature Films

Cast:              Daniel P. Jones, Leanne Letch
Director:             Amiel Courtin-Wilson
Producer:          Michael Cody (Flood Projects)
Writer:              Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Daniel P. Jones
Cinematographer:      Germain McMicking
Film Editor:          Peter Sciberras, Benjamin Meurguet, Amiel Courtin-Wilson
Production Designer:      Zohie Castellano
Music:              Steve Benwell
Sound Production:      Rob McKenzie
Distributor:          Madman Entertainment
Co-investors:          Film Victoria, Screen Australia

Short synopsis
Dan is in love with Leanne. They were born on the same day – 19th June 1960. They eat together. They live together. They steal together. When Dan’s love is suddenly ripped away from him he is reduced to savagery…

Cast:              Shai Pittman, Marcia Langton, Quinaiha Scott, Bruce Carter
Writer/Director:          Beck Cole
Producer:          Kath Shelper (Scarlett Pictures)
Associate Producer:    Fiona Pakes
Cinematographer:      Warwick Thornton
Film Editor:         Roland Gallois
Production Designer:      Sam Wilde
Music:              Cliff Bradley
Sound Production:      Liam Egan
Distributor:          Footprint Films
Co-investors:          Screen Australia, Screen NSW, South Australian Film Corporation

Short synopsis
Karen is a beautiful young woman with a dark past. Fresh out of prison, she finds herself on the streets with a burning desire to turn her life around but no one to call for help. Eventually she finds a haven at a shelter for Aboriginal women like herself. With the support of her new community of friends Karen begins the painful journey of reconnecting with her estranged mother and her young daughter, and she is soon propelled to face the most difficult truths of her life. Along with the creative team behind Samson & Delilah (including producer Kath Shelper and cinematographer Warwick Thornton) director Beck Cole (The First Australians) has marked out a place as one of the most important young filmmakers in Australian cinema. Set in and around Port Adelaide, her debut feature marks a new point of departure, a moving story of the strength and resilience of Aboriginal women.

Cast:              Lucas Pittaway, Daniel Henshall
Director:              Justin Kurzel
Producer:          Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw (Warp Films Australia)
Writer:              Shaun Grant
Cinematographer:      Adam Arkapaw
Film Editor:          Veronika Jenet, ASE
Production Designer:      Fiona Crombie
Music:              Jed Kurzel
Sound Design:          Frank Lipson, MPSE
Executive Producers:     Robin Gutch, Mark Herbert (Warp Films)
Distributor:         Madman Entertainment
Co-investors:     South Australian Film Corporation, Film Victoria, Screen Australia, Omnilab Media

Short synopsis

The shadow of the Snowtown murders still looms large, raising questions about the violence that can explode out of forgotten communities in Australian society. 16-year-old Jamie is a kid from the northern suburbs who desperately needs a father figure. What he gets instead is John Bunting, a charismatic figure who condenses all the hatred and grievance in our culture and then unleashes it in a cold fury. Justin Kurzel’s debut feature marks the arrival of a major filmmaking talent. He has made a film as starkly confronting as it is beautifully controlled, with consistently fine performances from a local cast of mainly first-time actors. In the style of The Boys or Samson & Delilah, it is a film of silences that cut deep; it evokes the Dardenne brothers through its ability to lay the brutality of life before us with a power born of simplicity. Snowtown will resonate with you long after you leave the cinema.

Feature documentaries

Cast:      Tanja Liedtke, Solon Ulbrich, Kristina Chan, Paul White, Julian Crotti, Amelia McQueen, Anton, Theo Clinkard, Garry Stewart, Lloyd Newson
Director:              Bryan Mason
Co-director:         Sophie Hyde
Producers:          Sophie Hyde, Bryan Mason (Closer Productions)
Executive Producers:     Solon Ulbrich, Susan McKinnon
Writers:              Bryan Mason, Sophie Hyde
Cinematographer:      Bryan Mason
Film Editor:          Bryan Mason
Music:              DJ TR!P
Additional Music:        Jason Sweeney
Sound Production:      Adrian Medhurst

Short synopsis
In 2007 the Sydney Dance Company appointed 29-year-old choreographer Tanja Liedtke as their first new artistic director in 30 years. However before she could take up the position, she was struck and killed by a truck in the middle of the night. Widely respected and admired as deeply intelligent, dorky, funny and generous, she was a dedicated artist committed to physical exploration. 18 months after her death her collaborators embark on a world tour of her work, and in the process they must deal with their grief and explore the reasons for her death. Interspersed with intimate footage of her artistic process and previously unseen interviews, Life in Movement is a film about moving creatively through life and loss. Local filmmakers Bryan Mason and Sophie Hyde give us a powerfully rendered take on art and artists, creativity and our own mortality.

Directors/Writers:        Bob Connolly, Sophie Raymond
Producers:       Bob Connolly, Helen Panckhurst (Music Films)
Cinematographer:       Bob Connolly
Film Editors:       Sophie Raymond, Ray Thomas, Nick Meyers
Sound Production:       Sophie Raymond, Doron Kipen, Bob Scott
Co-investors:       Screen Australia, Screen New South Wales, Arundel Films

Short synopsis
Karen Carey has been Director of Music for twenty years at MLC Burwood, an independent Sydney girls school. She oversees the Biennial MLC Opera House Concert that takes 18 months of hard slog from conception to execution. Bob Connolly (Rats in the Ranks), one of the great figures of Australian documentary, makes his return to directing after a ten-year absence. He and co-director Sophie Raymond follow Mrs Carey and her team as they coax, inspire, cajole and frog march their young performers to reach the required standard. Carey insists on a challenging classical repertoire, demands a dauntingly high level of performance, and requires the active participation of not only her select group of dedicated student musicians, but also the entire 1200 strong student body. Along the way we can glimpse the great divide between those prepared to open their hearts and minds and those yet to discover the potential within.

Cast:              Eddie Guerriero, Mitchell Deprey, Raymond Huffman, Peter Haskett
Writer/Director:          Matthew Bate
Producer:          Sophie Hyde, Matthew Bate (Closer Productions)
Co-producer:         Julie Byrne
Executive Producer:     Julie Ryan
Cinematographer:     Bryan Mason
Film Editor:          Bryan Mason
Production Designer:      Tony Cronin
Music:              Jonny Elk Walsh
Sound Production:      Pete Best
Motion Graphics:         Raynor Pettge
Distributor:          Madman Entertainment
Co-investors:        South Australian Film Corporation

Short synopsis
The most important recording in the 1990s grunge era wasn’t made by some alt.rock star. It was a covert audio recording of two drunken men living in a small flat in San Francisco, who spent their available free time yelling, screaming, hitting and generally abusing each other. The phenomenon began in 1987 when Eddie and Mitch (two young punks from the midwest), moved next door to Peter Haskett (a flamboyant gay man), and Raymond Huffman (a raging homophobe). This ultimate odd-couple hated each other with raging abandon, and through the paper-thin walls their alcohol-fuelled rants terrorised Eddie and Mitch. Fearing for their lives they began to tape record evidence of the insane goings on from next door. In the process, the boys accidentally created one of the world’s first viral pop-culture sensations. Their tapes went on to inspire a cult following, spawning sell-out CDs, comic artworks by Dan Clowes (Ghostworld), stage-plays, music from the likes of Devo, and a Hollywood feeding frenzy. For the newly famous Eddie and Mitchell, this would be a life-changing experience that would see them ingested into the belly and fired out the orifice of the pop culture beast. In this first feature to come out of the SAFC’s FilmLab initiative, Matt Bate (What the Future Sounded Like, Mystery of Flying Kicks) explores the blurring boundaries between privacy, art and exploitation.

Writer/Director:        Tony Krawitz
Producer:            Darren Dale (Blackfella Films)
Executive Producer:    Rachel Perkins
Based on the novel by:     Chloe Hooper
Cinematographer:    Germain McMicking
Film Editor:        Rochelle Oshlack
Music:            Decoder Ring
Sound Production:    Sam Petty
Archival Research:    Naomi Hall
Distributor:        SBS Content Sales
Co-investors:    SBS, Screen Australia, SBS Television, Screen NSW, Screen Queensland

Short synopsis
Atmospheric, gritty and original, The Tall Man takes you into the courtrooms, the indigenous communities, and the police stations where the inescapable complexities of Australia’s racial politics are focused. Written and directed by Tony Krawitz (Jewboy) and produced by Blackfella Films (The First Australians) this adaptation of the award-winning book by Chloe Hooper is the story of Palm Island, the tropical paradise where one morning Cameron Doomadgee swore at a policeman and forty minutes later lay dead in a watch-house cell. It is the story of that policeman, the tall, enigmatic Christopher Hurley who chose to work in some of the toughest and wildest places in Australia, and of the struggle to bring him to trial.

Short films

Director:            Jeni Lee
Producer:             Julia de Roeper
Cinematographer:    Sieh Mchawala

Short synopsis
The revolutionary book, One Magic Square by Adelaide Hills author Lolo Houbein inspired this unique project, undertaken in the City of Onkaparinga. Residents within a one square kilometre area were invited to create a food plot in one square metre of their gardens. The idea, conceived by Tori Moreton, is as simple, as it is radical, as it inspirational.

Cast            Ralph Cotterill, Barbara West
Writer/Co-Director:    Shane McNeil
Co-Director:         Troy Bellchambers
Based on the short story by: Shaun Micaleff
Co-Producer:        Kristian Moliere
Co-Producer:        Justin Wight
Cinematographer:    Nick Matthews
Film Editor:        Troy Bellchambers
Production Designer:    Tony Cronin
Music/Sound Production:    Justin Pounsett
Distributor:        Monkeystack / Smoking Gun Productions
Co-investors:        South Australian Film Corporation

Short synopsis
Local filmmakers Shane McNeil and animation director Troy Bellchambers from Monkeystack collaborate in this adaptation of a Shaun Micallef short story that balances guilt and delusion. An old man, who may or may not have killed his wife, is torn from his slumbers by a horrible and unshakable vision.

Cast:            Kevork Malikyan, Erol Afsin, Tamar Arslan, Daphne Alexander
Writer/Director/Producer/Editor: Anthony Maras (AntHouse Films)
Producer (Australia):    Kate Croser (Cyan Films)
Producer (Cyprus):    Andros Achilleos
Executive Producer:    Julie Ryan
Cinematographer:    Nick Matthews, ACS
Production Designer:    Lisa Tsouloupas
Music:            Argyro Christodoulides
Sound designer:        Tom Heuzenroeder
Costume Designer:    Jo Katsaras
Co-investors:        South Australian Film Corporation

Short synopsis
Anthony Maras returns with a third AFFIF film following Azadi (2005) and the AFI Award-winning Spike Up (2007). Set amidst the 1974 Cyprus conflict, this harrowing drama explores the tragedy that stems from pitting neighbours against one another, and the humanity that surfaces in even the bleakest of circumstances. Shot on location around the United Nations Green Line in Lefkosia, Cyprus—the world’s last divided capital—The Palace brings together an international cast and crew including Erol Afsin, Tamer Arslan and renowned Turkish-born actor Kevork Malikyan (Midnight Express, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade).

Director/Writer:        Matt Bate
Producers:        Caroline Man, Sophie Hyde (Closer Productions)
Cinematographer:    Nick Matthews, Bryan Mason
Editor:            Karryn De Cinque
Music:            Benjamin Speed
Sound Production:    Pete Best
Motion Graphics:        Raynor Pettge
Co-investors:        South Australian Film Corporation

Short synopsis
The story of Australia’s J.P ‘Jack’ McGowan plays like a Hollywood script. An epic romance set against the birth of cinema featuring high adventure, war, fame and great love won and lost. J.P was one of Hollywood’s first stunt directors, who with his wife and on-screen daredevil Helen Holmes, paved they way for the action-adventure blockbusters we know today. Long before ‘Brangelina’ it was Jack and Helen who ruled Hollywood’s silver screens.

Cross Platform

Artist:            Warwick Thornton
Producer:            Fiona Pakes (Scarlett Pictures)

Short synopsis
“When I grow up I want to be just like Jesus.” (Warwick Thornton, aged 6). Warwick Thornton takes his storytelling beyond the realms of cinema and into the gallery with his first moving image art work.
Sometimes, even the Messiah gets bored.
Stranded has been commissioned by the 2011 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival and produced by Scarlett Pictures with the kind support of AFTRS, Panavision Australia and Definition Films.

Artist:            Lynette Wallworth
Producer:            Sue Maslin (Film Art Media)

Installation artist Lynette Wallworth was the subject of a major exhibition, Duality of Light, at our 2009 festival. She continues her tradition of using the most contemporary of technologies to trigger the most essential of human responses. In this new work, she launches the beginnings of an eighteen month long odyssey which will culminate with the launch of the transmedia work, ReKindling Venus to coincide with the next Transit of Venus in 2012. This work marks the beginnings of this journey with a signature piece that hides its meaning literally, in plain sight, awaiting activation by festival audiences. Using Augmented Reality to reveal the content of this new work, Wallworth will begin to unravel a puzzle that will take us to the cosmos and bring us back to our complex, fragile and familiar home.

Cast:      David Ashby, Aldo Mignone, Sean James Murphy, Amanda Simons, Natasa Ristic
Director:              Dario Russo
Producers:          Kate Croser, Dario Russo (Dinosaur Pty Ltd)
Writers:              Dario Russo, David Ashby
Cinematographer:      Sam King
Film Editor:          Dario Russo
Production Designer:      Obie O’Brien
Music:              Dario Russo
Sound Production:      Dario Russo
Series Creative Consultant:  David Ashby
Distributor:          SBS Online
Co-investors:          SBS, South Australian Film Corporation, Screen Australia

Short synopsis
Dario Russo and David Ashby, part of the team behind Italian Spiderman, strike again! This 1960s-inspired version of World War II follows a team of suave international super-spies on their bizarre mission to kill Hitler. Danger 5 is the finest group of special operatives the allies have to offer; Jackson from the USA, Tucker from Australia, Ilsa from Russia, Claire from Britain and Pierre from Europe. Each episode of Danger 5 unravels another of Hitler’s diabolic schemes and travels across a myriad of exotic locations spanning the globe. The action and offbeat humour never relents as Danger 5 mounts a series of thrilling missions which include discovering Josef Mengele’s perverted Antarctic death circus, busting down Erwin Rommel’s golden murder casino and posing as exotic dancers in an attempt to take out Hitler at his own birthday party. BAFF launches six action-packed prologue episodes to whet your appetite for the new SBS comedy series.

The BigPond Adelaide Film Festival full program will be launched in January 2011.

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