Last Cab to Darwin to premiere at Winton festival
Winton’s Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival was launched in Brisbane this week where the bush came to the city to spread the word.
The small town of Winton, in the heart of Queensland’s Outback, may be in the grips of a devastating drought, but this has not weakened the proud spirit of the town and its determination to stage a film festival like no other.
As the Festival’s Artistic Director, Dr Greg Dolgopolov reflects, “The first time I heard of Winton was as the godforsaken setting of the film The Proposition. The first time I visited Winton was to see Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road. Winton and its surrounds are remarkably cinematic, every sunset is epic and sublime.
"But Winton is also a remarkably diverse, surprising and legendary little town – that is the home of the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival – the only festival in Australia to feature exclusively Australian cinema and especially films from and about the outback”.
Announcements at the launch included the premiere of Reg Cribb and Jeremy Sim’s Last Cab to Darwin starring local Michael Caton, who will attend the opening night party and the Breakfast with the Stars the following morning.
Other new films include Kim Farrant's Strangerland starring Nicole Kidman and sci-fi rom-com Infinite Man.
“Following the success of last year’s inaugural festival we really needed to do something special this year,” said Dolgopolov. “We have a combination of brand new Australian films that engage with the theme of the outback, forgotten classics, charming children’s and family entertainment, a night of horror and a Mad Max movie marathon featuring the yet to be released, Mad Max 4: Fury Road."
Winton’s most famous Hollywood export Jason Clarke stars in the rarely seen crime thriller Swerve to be screened at this year’s event, which coincidentally also features the festival patron Roy Billing.
Other titles include Bill Leimbach’s new Bollywood ‘fly –in, fly-out’ musical, Departure Lounge which was filmed entirely at the Townsville Airport.
Classic films include the 60 year anniversary of Jedda and the 100 year anniversary of the charge of the Light Horse Brigade with new print screenings of Charles Chauvel’s 40,000 Horsemen to be introduced by his grandson Ric Carlson Chauvel.
A festival tradition already is Friday Fright-Night with a horror double featuring one of the best films of last year, The Babadook, and a schlock screening of the original Turkey Shoot.
There is a strong indigenous component with Charlie’s Country and The Sapphires along with workshops and tours to locations featured in two of Winton’s most iconic films, Mystery Road and The Proposition.
"These screenings will be followed by tag-a-long driving tours to take audiences out to some of the incredibly scenic locations featured in these films,” Dolgopolov said.
Among other classics are the rarely seen Smiley Gets a Gun, Shame, Burke & Wills and Tarantino’s favourite Aussie creature-feature, Dark Age.
In the centenary of the ANZACs the festival will mark Australia’s experience at war with Beneath Hill 60, Paradise Road and Attack Force Z
The short film program will feature some of the best shorts from around the country, festival partner Griffith Film School and from community members vying for prizes as part of the ‘UNSUNG’ short film competition.