SFF announces free talks program

25 May, 2010 by IF

Press release from The Lantern Group

Thursday 3 June 2.30pm – Statement Lounge FREE
Join David Stratton (ABC At The Movies) in conversation with the creative team behind Sydney Film Festival’s Opening Night film South Solitary, which screens at the Festival on 2 June and 3 June 10.00am.


Director/Writer Shirley Barrett (Walk the Talk, Love Serenade – also screening SFF 2010), Producer Marian Macgowan (Death Defying Acts, Two Hands) and lead actors Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Love Serenade, The Last Days of Chez Nous – also screening SFF 2010), Barry Otto (Australia, Strictly Ballroom) and Marton Csokas (The Tree – also screening SFF 2010, Romulus My Father, Alice in Wonderland, The Bourne Supremacy) will discuss South Solitary from development through to production.

Friday 4 June 2.30pm – Statement Lounge FREE
Just Like Us (Pathway: Make Me Laugh)
Ahmed Ahmed, comedian and director of Just Like Us, which has its Australian Premiere at SFF on 3 and 6 June, gets down to funny business.

Ahmed Ahmed has appeared in films and television shows such as Iron Man, You Don't Mess With The Zohan, Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, Swingers, Tracey Takes On, Roseanne, JAG, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn on Comedy Central, and MTV's PUNK'D. His first film as director, Just like Us sets out to break down cultural barriers by touring US based stand-up comedians through the Middle East.

Saturday 5 June 12pm – Statement Lounge FREE
Film writer Ruth Hessey talks to lead actor Shirley Henderson and producer Christine K Walker about Life During Wartime (screening at SFF on 4 and 5 June), working with Todd Solondz and their impressive individual careers.

Amongst Scottish actress Shirley Henderson’s many celebrated screen performances are roles in Trainspotting, 24 Hour Party People, the Harry Potter series (as Moaning Myrtle) and Marie Antoinette. She has just finished shooting Michael Winterbottom’s Seven Days and is soon to appear in Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff. Christine K Walker is an award-winning producer and co-founder and president of Werc Werk Works. In addition to Life During Wartime, Christine produced HOWL, which has its Australian Premiere at SFF on 3 June, repeating 6 June. Amongst her current projects are Jill Sprecher’s The Convincer and (as Executive Producer) Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse.

This talk is immediately following the 10am screening of Life During Wartime at the State Theatre.

Saturday 5 June 2.30pm – Statement Lounge
Red Hill, The Loved Ones, Caught Inside (Pathway: Freak Me Out) FREE
Sydney Morning Herald’s Garry Maddox talks about the revival of genre filmmaking with directors Sean Byrne (The Loved Ones – screening at SFF 5 and 7 June), Patrick Hughes (Red Hill – screening 4 June) and Adam Blaiklock (Caught Inside – screening 11 and 13 June) whose Australian debuts form the gnarly backbone of SFF’s Freak Me Out pathway.

Hughes, Byrne and Blaiklock have successfully mined the history of horror films to twist their own distinctive, inventive genre films. Red Hill mixes the cinematic style of maestro John Carpenter with the twisted excesses of Quentin Tarantino; The Loved Ones fuses The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Carrie (via a bloody smattering of Pretty In Pink); Caught Inside sets psychopathic sail into the territory of Dead Calm and Knife in the Water. Stylistically very different, when seen collectively these three films signal a new cycle that coincides with the current Australian film industry focus on producing more genre films.

Monday 7 June 12.15pm – Statement Lounge FREE
Jason di Rosso (ABC Radio National, Movietime) talks with Haitian director, producer and writer Raoul Peck about Moloch Tropical (screening at SFF 6 and 7 June), his intriguing career as filmmaker and his perspective on international politics and history.

Peck was born in Haiti, raised in Zaire (Congo) and France and initially studied engineering and economics at Berlin University. He worked as a journalist and photographer from 1980 to 1985. In 1988 he received his film degree from the Berlin Academy of Film and Television. His feature L'homme sur les quais (1993) (The Man by the Shore) was the first Haitian film to be released in theatres in the United States and was also selected for competition at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. Peck’s other films include Haitian Corner (1988), Corps Plonges (1998), Lumumba (2000) and Sometimes in April (2005).

This talk is immediately following the 10am screening of Moloch Tropical at the State Theatre.

Tuesday 8 June 12.15pm – Statement Lounge FREE
Julie Rigg (ABC Radio National, Movietime) talks with the award-winning director Brillante Mendoza about his already prolific, and still very recent, filmmaking career. Lola (screening at SFF 7 and 8 June) is Mendoza’s third film since his last visit to Sydney Film Festival with Slingshot and Foster Child in 2008. His latest films Serbis and Kinatay screened in Official Competition berths at Cannes (with Kinatay winning Best Director, Cannes 2009) while Lola premiered in Venice.

Born in San Fernando, Philippines, Mendoza studied at Santo Tomas University in Manila then worked as a television, film and advertising production designer before his debut feature The Masseur, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival. Critically acclaimed as the contemporary successor of the Filipino master Lino Brocka, Mendoza’s films combine an extraordinary capacity for social analysis with the raw dramatic potential of everyday life.

This talk immediately follows the 10am screening of Lola at the State Theatre.

Wednesday 9 June 12pm – Statement Lounge FREE
OFFICIAL COMPETITION If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle
Variety critic and consultant programmer Eddie Cockrell talks with Romanian producer Daniel Mitulescu and lead actor George Pistereanu about their Berlin Grand Jury Prize Winner If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle which screens at SFF 8 and 9 June.

George Pistereanu is only 19 and when the filming of If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle took place he was attending the acting section at Dinu Lipatti High School, where he was discovered by director Florin Serban. George is now a first year student at the National University of Theatre and Film from Bucharest

Daniel Mitulescu is a producer based in Bucharest, Romania. His first film The Way I Spent The End Of The World received the NHK-Sundance Award for Best European Project in 2005, was presented in Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2006 where it received the best Actress Award and was the Romanian submission for the Academy Awards 2007, screening in over 30 film festivals worldwide.

This talk immediately follows the 10am screening of If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle at the State Theatre.

Friday 11 June 3.30pm – Statement Lounge FREE
American documentary filmmaker Judith Ehrlich will be presenting this year’s Ian McPherson Memorial Lecture. Ehrlich, whose film The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers is screening at SFF 10 and 14 June, will discuss the role of documentary film as a lens on the state of war.

Ehrlich has focused her career on films that explore questions of war and conscience and will discuss whether historical documentary film can offer a useful perspective on the perennial state of war in the world.

The lecture will be punctuated by film clips and will aim to uncover the narrative of war making and war resistance through Ehrlich’s films and others that focus on the question of war and its impact on individual warriors and resisters and their governments. Does the reality and/or the threat of war make transparency and truth in government impossible? What can film tell us about why we fight? And why is it so difficult to question the morality of war? Can our understanding of the inevitability of war be altered by the images of documentary film? Indeed, can the legitimate role of historical documentary film move beyond entertainment and education and inspire some to activism?

Ehrlich’s film, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers was nominated for a 2009 Academy Award and has won eight international film festival awards. It will screen at the Sydney Film Festival on 10 and 14 June and begins a theatrical run on 20 June at the Chauvel Cinema. Her previous film for U.S. Public television, The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It, the story of conscientious objectors to WWII, won both major American film history awards.

Ian McPherson, who died in 1980, helped found the Sydney Film Festival in 1954 and served on the Festival Board until 1977. Previous McPherson lectures have been given by John Gillett, Lindsay Anderson, Joseph Skrzynski, Ulrich Gregor, Susan Dermody, Moya Wood, Peter Watkins, Kim Williams, Peter Sainsbury, George Miller, Dennis O'Rourke, Donald Richie, David Robinson, John Flaus, Liz Jacka, David Stratton, Ian David, Professor Marcia Langton, David Marr, Professor Tom O'Regan, Bob Connolly, Nik Powell, Dr. David McKnight, Brian Rosen, Bird Runningwater, John Hartley, Deepak Nayar and Peter Carlton. The Sydney Film Festival would like to thanks the United States Studies Centre for their generous support of this film.

The 2010 lecture will be the 30th in the series.

Saturday 12 June 2.45pm – Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW FREE
RESTORATIONS: Love Serenade and The Last Days Of Chez Nous
Margaret Pomeranz (ABC At The Movies) in conversation with SFF Patron Gillian Armstrong (director The Last Days of Chez Nous), SFF 2010 Juror Shirley Barrett (writer/director Love Serenade) and SFF 2010 Jury President Jan Chapman (who produced both films) about two significant Australian features that have been preserved as part of the National Film and Sound Archive’s Deluxe/Kodak initiative. The preservation prints have their premiere screenings at SFF on 12 June at 10.30am (Love Serenade) and 1.00pm (The Last Days of Chez Nous)

At a time when the debate about creative careers for women in the film industry has been reignited, don’t miss this opportunity to hear from three extraordinary Australian women, each of whom has made significant impacts on world cinema with collective credits that include Bright Star, Lantana, The Piano (Chapman as producer); Death Defying Acts, Charlotte Gray, Little Women, Oscar and Lucinda, High Tide, My Brilliant Career (Armstrong as director) and SFF 2010 Opening Night film South Solitary and Walk the Talk (Barrett as director)

Sunday 13 June 12pm – Statement Lounge FREE
The Chaser’s Julian Morrow in a rare public talk with funny men director Chris Morris and lead actor Kayvan Novak whose film Four Lions screens at SFF 12 and 13 June.

UK broadcaster, writer, satirist, producer and performer Chris Morris has gathered a cult following for his television work The Day Today (working alongside Steve Coogan and Armando Iannucci) and Brass Eye. His short film My Wrongs 8245 – 8249 won a BAFTA, his TV appearances include Jam, Nathan Barley and IT Crowd while his radio work includes The Chris Morris Show, On the Hour and Why Bother. Kayvan Novak works extensively across film and television with feature film roles in the multi Award-winning Syriana and The Blue Tower. Kayvan is currently following up his 2008 BAFTA Award-winning comedy series Fonejacker for Channel 4 (UK), which he also wrote and created, with a new accompanying series called Facejacker. His other key roles in television include parts in Judge John Deed, Trial and Retribution VII, She’s Gone, Spooks III and The Government Inspector.

This talk immediately follows the 10am screening of Four Lions at the State Theatre.

Monday 14 June 10.30am – Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW FREE
RESTORATIONS: Australia’s Lost Films – the Search for Captain Thunderbolt with Graham Shirley (National Film and Sound Archive, Senior Curator of Film)

Hot on the heels of last year's Australian premiere of the previously lost, newly restored classic Wake In Fright, the National Film and Sound Archive and the Sydney Film Festival are collaborating again to kick start a search for one of Australia's great, lost feature films – Cecil Holmes' Captain Thunderbolt. Produced in 1951 at a time when Australia's feature film industry was grinding to a halt, this visually striking film about the escapades of the notorious bushranger has only been available in truncated form on poor quality 16mm film.

NFSA is seeking 35mm original materials (negatives and prints) of Captain Thunderbolt and the original negatives of other significant films including The Removalists (1975) and Bliss (1985). NFSA's Senior Curator of Film, Graham Shirley, will also pay tribute to Cecil Holmes, one of the great pioneers of Australian cinema, with a rare screening of the 'The City' segment from Three In One (1957) and a short documentary Cyclone Tracy (1975), written by Holmes and directed by Chris Noonan (Babe).

Informal discussion will continue over tea and coffee in the foyer following this session.

Monday 14 June 11.50am – Statement Lounge FREE

Sandy George (Screen International) in conversation with director Ben C Lucas, producers Janelle Landers and Aidan O’Bryan, and lead actors Alex Russell and Oliver Ackland. This session follows the World Premiere debut of West Australian feature Wasted on the Young, which screens 13 and 14 June at 10am, State Theatre.

Ben C Lucas received the IF Award for best unproduced screenplay in 2003 for All Flesh Must Be Eaten and has directed short films, documentaries and TVCs. Janelle Landers and Aidan O’Bryan have co-produced episodes of My Generation and collaborated on Something in the Water, a documentary about the West Australian music scene. Oliver Ackland won the inaugural Australians in Film Heath Ledger Scholarship in 2009, is well known for his TV roles in The Outriders and Pirate Islands, with previous feature credits including The Proposition and Peter Pan. Wasted on the Young is recent NIDA graduate Alex Russell’s first feature credit and his US debut The Wheeler Boys has its premiere at Los Angeles film festival in June.

Details of a talk with filmmakers of The Tree will soon be announced.

Details of the talk about Iranian Cinema at Sydney Opera House Saturday 12 June following the screening of Noone Knows About Persian Cats will soon be announced.

The 57th Sydney Film Festival runs from Wednesday 2 June – Monday 14 June 2010.
For more information visit www.sff.org.au