Richard Linklater and Roseanne Liang.

The Australian International Screen Forum, to be held later this month, has unveiled its full program, including talks with writer, director and producer Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Before Midnight); Thunder Road CEO Basil Iwanyk (Sicario, Hotel Mumbai) and writer-director Roseanne Liang (My Wedding and Other Secrets, Banana in a Nutshell).

Blossom Films executive Per Saari (Big Little Lies, The Undoing) and Elizabeth Haggard, Participant Media VP will also appear in conversation.

For US registrants, the event will also open with a screening of Robert Connolly’s The Dry, an industry preview ahead of its Stateside release in May via IFC Films. A Q&A with the film’s star, Eric Bana, will be held after the session for all registrants worldwide.

Typically held in New York in partnership with Screen Australia, the Australian International Screen Forum aims to connect the Aussie and US industries.

The 2021 event will take place entirely online, consisting of screenings, keynotes, interviews, panels, and workshops.

The panel sessions promise a range of topics including: female-led production companies; excellence in casting; podcasts to screen; and literary adaptations from book to film & TV.

There will also be two sessions on music in film: A panel on the HBOMax music documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart will include director Frank Marshall and producers Nigel Sinclair and Jeanne Elfant Festa. Screen composing will also take centre screen with Caitlin Yeo (Playing With Sharks), Marcelo Zarvos (Penguin Bloom) and Stefan Gregory (The Dig) in discussion with renowned composer David Hirschfelder (ShineElizabethStrictly Ballroom).

As previously announced, Peter Weir’s 1981 film Gallipoli will be the focus of a 40th anniversary retrospective, including a screening of the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) restored version of the film, a conversation with star Mel Gibson, and tributes and reminiscences from fellow cast members, crew and industry.

Ahead of the Screen Forum program, the adjunct Talent USA program has commenced this week with support from Screen Australia, with 11 Australian screen creatives participating in two weeks of exclusive and bespoke professional development and networking sessions in a virtual setting. These filmmakers are meeting with key New York-based screen decision makers, with the goal to help establish and foster creative and business relationships for their careers and Australian projects.

Australian International Screen Forum executive director and co-founder Michael Kelleher said: “Our focus this year is on how projects are developed for the international marketplace, not just film and TV, but the growing influence that podcasts have in the development process.

With Australians now unable to travel to international festivals and marketplaces, these virtual industry events are more important than ever for both emerging and established industry. This year, we are using a new interactive technology called Airmeet that is more akin to being there in person – not a bad compromise.”

Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia, says: “We are thrilled that the Australian International Screen Forum is able to go ahead virtually this year. Australian screen professionals are highly regarded and we hope this spotlight on our wealth of talent here, coupled with the current high interest in working in Australia, with Australians, will see exciting business relationships made. While we still cannot travel overseas, the opportunity to connect virtually with key international decision makers and practitioners is invaluable, particularly for our 11 Australian screen creatives currently participating in the Talent USA program sessions.

“This year’s forum line-up includes many impressive panel and in conversation sessions, and I hope attendees will take advantage of hearing from many esteemed filmmakers and executives including producer Basil Iwanyk and Blossom Film’s Per Saari. It’s exciting to see The Dry, which has already broken box office records in Australia, will be screening for international audiences to enjoy, and of course the chance to revisit Peter Weir’s classic Gallipoli and conversation with Mel Gibson will be a fantastic celebration of a classic Australian film.”

Tickets are on sale for the entire program at australianscreenforum.org.

The Australian International Screen Forum runs March 21 – 26.

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