Festival launches for Slow West, Strangerland

28 April, 2015 by Don Groves

John Maclean’s Slow West and Kim Farrant’s Strangerland will debut in Palace cinemas and in select regional locations in June immediately after being launched at the Sydney Film Festival.

The SFF is partnering with Transmission Films on the initiative dubbed SFF Presents. Both films had their world premieres in January at the Sundance Film Festival where Slow West, a fresh take on the Western genre, won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic).


“SFF Presents will be at the forefront of a new approach to reaching fans of cinema,” said festival director Nashen Moodley.

“Slow West and Strangerland are both great festival-quality films wider audiences will enjoy. Holding screenings across Australian capital cities immediately following Sydney Film Festival’s premiere is a wonderful new way of sharing the excitement for these films around the country.”

Transmission’s Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie said, “We are pleased to be partnering with Sydney Film Festival to bring Strangerland and Slow West to audiences nationally in June. Strangerland is a bold and audacious debut. Slow West reinvents the modern western. These two films demand a release strategy as innovative as their storytelling.”

Mackie tells IF that both films will screen in at least a dozen urban and regional locations, exclusively in Palace's footprint, with more to add.

Shot in Scotland and New Zealand, Slow West stars Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren Pistorius and Rory McCann. It will begin its cinema roll out on June 4. It's produced by See-Saw Films, Fassbender and Conor McCaughan’s DMC and Rachel Gardner.

Opening a week later, Farrant’s feature debut Strangerland stars Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes, produced by Naomi Wenck and Macdara Kelleher.

SFF Presents 2015 program:

Slow West

Director: John Maclean | UK, New Zealand | 84 mins | In English
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance, this darkly funny, unconventional western is both thrilling and romantic. A bounty hunter (Michael Fassbender) conceals his motives from a lovelorn and naïve Scottish teenager (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who embarks on a perilous quest to find his beloved in 1800s Colorado. Ben Mendelsohn is brilliant as a fur-clad outlaw.


Director: Kim Farrant | Australia, Ireland | 111 mins | In English
Nicole Kidman makes a welcome return to Australian independent cinema in this striking film. The teenage children of Catherine (Kidman) and Matthew (Joseph Fiennes) mysteriously disappear from the outback town the family has recently settled in. When local cop Rae (Hugo Weaving) tries to solve the case, he uncovers a dark history that has repercussions for him too.

The festival, which runs June 3-14, will announce the screening dates at the program launch on May 6.