By Simon de Bruyn
Australian writer/director Christopher Weekes is packing his bags again to follow his debut feature Bitter & Twisted to the Sarajevo Film Festival where it will screen as part of the “international auteur” program alongside Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg and Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York.
The film was labeled one of the sleeper hits of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival after five sold out screenings, and made its Australian festival debut at the small but burgeoning Dungog Film Festival in late May. It will also screen at the Montreal World Film Festival in late August.
The film will screen in Sarajevo as part of the Panorama program, which is comprised of only 16 films defined by their “exceptional narrative” and “extraordinary quality” and helmed by a range of geographically diverse “international auteurs”.
Set in suburban Sydney, Bitter & Twisted is an ensemble piece about a family’s reaction to son Liam’s untimely death three years before, and draws powerful performances from a diverse cast including Noni Hazlehurst, Steve Rodgers, Leeanna Walsman, Gary Sweet, and Matt Newton. It was produced by Bridget Callow.
In an email interview from his current screenwriting base in New York, Weekes told INSIDEFILM he was excited about the festival slots, particularly the Sarajevo screening alongside Kaufman who was one of his personal filmmaking heroes.
“It’s an incredible honour to get selected for these two festivals. It was only a few months ago I’d given up thinking anyone was going to see Bitter & Twisted unless they watched it on my couch. Now I’m heading to Bosnia to screen it outside an old fire station the night after Charlie Kaufman screens his new film on the same wall," he said.
"That’s more than just a dream – that’s a sign I should go out and buy a lottery ticket; and maybe a copy of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for Charlie to sign when I get there.”
The film’s executive producer and sales agent Michael Favelle (with Odin’s Eye Entertainment) said he expected to announce an Australian distributor for the film in coming weeks.
Bitter & Twisted will have a limited preview season to quality for the AFI Awards at Melbourne’s Sun Theatre from September 4.
Have a look at the trailer for Bitter & Twisted at IF’s new Video Content section.