The world premieres of Tracks, musical The Boy Castaways, documentary Tender and short film I Want To Dance Better at Parties are among the highlights of this year’s Adelaide Film Festival.

The common denominator: Each was part-funded by the festival, which runs October 10-20. For the first time the event will be held in conjunction with the Festival of Ideas (October 17-20).

The AFF’s new CEO and Director Amanda Duthie is still finalising the line-up of about 150 titles; submissions close on July 25.

The bi-annual fest’s opener is the South Australian-shot Tracks, the true story of Robyn Davidson’s solo 2,700 km trek via camels across the Australian desert in 1977, accompanied by her dog Diggity.

Duthie hopes Mia Wasikowska, who plays Davidson, and US-based director John Curran will attend the premiere. She rang producer Emile Sherman when she heard the South Australian Film Corp. was about to invest in the film to offer her support via the AFF’s Investment Fund, which funnels $1 million into Australian films every two years. Tracks will open in Australia on March 6.

The inaugural HIVE Production Fund supported the other three projects, commissioned by AFF, ABC Arts and Australia Council for the Arts.

The Boy Castaways is a rock musical dramatic feature film from director Michael Kantor and producers Jo Dyer and Stephen Armstrong and executive producer Robert Connolly. Megan Washington stars as Sarina in her first acting role, alongside Tim Rogers and Paul Capsis.

Director Lynette Wallworth and producer Kath Shelper’s Tender looks at a feisty community centre in an industrial seaside town as it sets up a funeral service.

I Want to Dance Better at Parties
is a documentary/drama from directors Gideon Obarzanek and Matthew Bate. Based on a true story, it looks at a man who begins private dance classes to confront his loneliness and isolation after the death of his wife.

Duthie announced Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton will serve as the fest’s patrons.

A $10,000 cash prize for the best documentary, Australian or international, will be awarded for the first time this year, joining the audience award and gong for best international feature.

The AFF and the Samstag Museum of Art will present an exhibition by Australian artist Daniel Crooks as part of the AFF’s Art and the Moving Image programme. Filling the University of South Australia’s Samstag Museum, the exhibition will focus on the digital moving-image work that Crooks has created through his ongoing Time Slice project, which began in 1999.

The fest is teaming up with the Australian Writers' Guild to present the Insite award, inviting AWG members to submit a synopsis and writing sample of an unproduced screenplay. The winner will meet industry directors and producers with a view to moving the project forward and onto the screen.

Taking advantage of the synergy between the festivals, the Festival of Ideas will present talks and events around some of the featured films. 

The full programme for the Adelaide Film Festival will be announced late August.

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