In Jackson Heights [SFF2016]

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Jun 122016


In Jackson Heights is the 42nd film from 85 year-old veteran American documentarian, Frederick Wiseman. Filmed over 9 weeks in 2014, the film paints a portrait of a vibrant, diverse community in flux. Gentrification is lapping at the doors of the largely immigrant neighbourhood, and big business is squeezing out the small.

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Sydney Underground Film Festival 2015

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Aug 062015


Sydney’s weirdest and most wonderful four days of cinema mayhem is back for its 9th year, with the Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF) announcing their programme for the September 17th -20th festival, held at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville.

SUFF will screen over 100 films (comprised of features & shorts) sourced from the very best in subversive, experimental, and controversial cinema. With Australian premieres, retrospectives and Q&A screenings alongside masterclasses and special musical performances, it’s going to be a massive four days.

Sydney, get ready for a money shot in 3D!!! I mean, get ready for provocative art house director, Gasper Noe’s newest film, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. LOVE is about exactly that, love. This controversial film is certainly an appropriate opener for a festival that prides itself on bringing controversial and challenging cinema to Sydney audiences.

Closing out SUFF this year will be Eli Roth’s latest thriller KNOCK KNOCK, starring no other than the enigmatic, Keanu Reeves.

In between LOVE and KNOCK KNOCK, there’s the festival favourite shorts like LOVE/SICK and REALITY BITES; a 5oth anniversary screening of the sexploitation classic FASTER, PUSSYCAT KILL! KILL!; the nest film from prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike, YAKUZA APOCALYPSE: THE GREAT WAR OF THE UNDERWORLD; and many more!

Head over to to check out the entire programme and to book your tickets

22nd Mardi Gras Film Festival Programme

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Jan 182015


The 22nd Mardi Gras Film Festival will deliver the best in LGBTQI cinema at Sydney’s Event Cinemas George Street from Thursday 19 February to Thursday 5 March 2015 thanks to the wonderful programme put together by Queer Screen.

This year’s Mardi Gras Film Festival program has such a special selection of films from all over the world. However, I’m especially proud of the really strong Australian talent that features this year. It’s incredibly important to us at MGFF to support the local industry and get Aussie films shown to as wide an audience as we possibly can. And it’s easy to support our filmmaking industry when it produces the incredible films we’ve chosen for our program!                                -Mardi Gras Film Festival Director, Paul Struthers

Two of the homegrown titles are Drown, which explores the world of Aussie beach culture through the story of handsome young Sydney surf club champion; and Skin Deep (shot in and around Newtown), which sees two lost souls who discover that sometimes a stranger is the best person to open up to. Skin Deep received an Honourable Mention for Best Narrative Feature at the Austin Film Festival.

Other highlights include:
Mala Mala celebrates the trans* community in Puerto Rico, through the eyes of nine trans-identifying individuals. Among the group are business owners, sex workers, and even RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, April Carrión.
Peter de Rome: Grandfather of Gay Porn tells the story of pornography art filmmaker, Peter de Rome, who captured the attention of the underground New York art scene from the ‘60s onwards (including Andy Warhol and David Hockney), with his erotic fantasy pornscapes.
Match, based on a Tony Award-winning play about an interview with an aging Julliard dance professor. This film also stars Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino and Matthew Lillard.
Lilting, about a man (Ben Whishaw) who, in his grief, reaches out to his dead boyfriend’s mother, who is of Cambodian-Chinese heritage and doesn’t speak English.
Brokebank Mountain, which will be shown in honour of it’s 10th anniversary.

WHAT: Mardi Gras Film Festival
WHEN: Thursday 19 February to Thursday 5 March 2015
WHERE: Event Cinemas, 505-525 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

2014 Sydney Film Festival Programme

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May 082014


The 61st Sydney Film Festival programme consists of 183 titles from 47 countries and includes 15 World Premieres (including 6 World Premiere short films), 122 Australian Premieres (including 14 Australian Premiere short films) and 6 International Premieres (including 1 International Premiere short film). The full programme is now live at

The Opening Night Gala features the Australian Premiere of 20,000 Days on Earth, an innovative film about international cultural icon Nick Cave directed by visual artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, who will be in attendance. Cinematographer Erik Wilson (The Imposter, The Double) is the reason I’m excited about this film – his work is fresh and interesting and I can’t wait to see more of his work.

The Closing Night Gala features the Australian Premiere of the vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, the new film from Taika Waititi (Boy, which won the Audience Award at SFF 2010) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords). I can’t think of a better way to close the festival than a sold out crowd cackling along to some choice Kiwi comedy. This is going to be a fun night.

SFF Festival Director Nashen Moodley on the festival experience. “SFF not only presents the best films from across the country and around the world, but we also open up dialogue between the creators and audiences and curators and critics alike, in every direction and combination. Together in a crowded theatre, comedies are funnier, horror films are scarier and tender moments bring tears more readily; everything we feel is amplified by the power of the shared experience.”

After the jump I delve into the programme in more detail.
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Cannes 2014 Official Selection Films Announced

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Apr 192014

The Cannes 2014 Official Selection lineup has been announced, with a host of well-known film-makers returning with new projects, as well as a few first timers and as always, a surprise or two.

Cannes returnees such as Mike Leigh, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, the Dardenne brothers, Andrei Zvyagintsev, Tommy Lee Jones, Zavier Dolan and Michel Hazanavicius are all back with new films. Compared to last year, this line-up of directors has a more Continental feel about it. While there are still American directors in competition, last year really felt like the year of the American story. I’m happy to see a little more variety in 2014, including new films from three very interesting and very different Canadian filmmakers.

In a slight improvement from 2012 and 2013, this year’s official competition features two female directors, Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase (Still the Water) and Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher (Le Meraviglie). New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion is the president of the year’s jury. Campion is the only female to win the Palm d’Or for 1993’s The Piano.

For a good analysis of this year’s offerings, I suggest checking out Variety .
Here are the 5 films that I am most excited about from the lineup.

Lost River – dir. Ryan Gosling. Gosling steps behind the camera for his directorial début Lost River which is playing in Un Certain Regard. The film which has been re-titled from How to Catch a Monster  stars Eva Mendes, Christina Hendrix, Ben Mendohlson and Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith. The brief official synopsis is as follows: “A single mother is swept into a dark underworld, while her teenage son discovers a road that leads him to a secret underwater town.” Well colour me very interested!

Foxcatcher – dir. Bennett Miller.  The Moneyball director is back with a boxing film of sorts, this one an account of the murder of Olympic wrestling champion Dave Schultz. The screenplay is adapted from the book written by Schultz’s brother, Olympic wrestling gold medalist Mark Schultz. Dave Schultz is played by Mark Ruffalo, while Channing Tatumn plays brother Mark.

Goodbye to Language –  dir. Jean-Luc Godard. The 83-year-old French director is back at Cannes with his 39th film, this one in 3D. Will Goddard be able to convince cinephiles that 3D is worthy of the eyeballs? I have no idea, but I am so intrigued to see this. It’s just the most unlikely combination!

Mommy – dir. Xavier Dolan. The 25 year-old (!!!!!!!!!!) is back at Cannes for the fourth time, this year for the first time in official competition. To be honest I don’t care what the film is about, I’ll watch anything that Dolan makes. We’re yet to see Tom at the Farm in Australia (it plays at the upcoming Sydney Film Festival), but that doesn’t mean I can’t get excited about his next offering. The synopsis for Mommy is as follows: “A widowed single mother, raising her violent son alone, finds new hope when a mysterious neighbor inserts herself into their household.”

Still in the Water – dir. Naomi Kawase. A Cannes returnee, the Japanese director has previously won the Grand Pix in 2007 and the Camera d’Or in 1997. This film centers around a couple who get caught up in a murder investigation on a small Japanese island.

Other films I’m interested in include: The Captive, La Meraviglie, The Rover, Eleanor Rigby and How To Train Your Dragon 2.

Full lineup after the jump.

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2014 Alliance Française French Film Festival

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Jan 222014

The full programme for the 25th Alliance Française French Film Festival has been announced, with tickets going on sale from 31st January.

The 2014 Alliance Française French Film Festival will screen across seven cities throughout March and April, launching in Sydney on 4 April. The festival will this year feature an exciting, adventurous and romantic line-up of 46 feature films and documentaries. To mark the ‘silver’ anniversary of the festival, Australian entertainer, Julia Zemiro will be coming onboard as the Festival’s inaugural Patron.

A slate of French-themed special events, international guests and Première screenings will dominate Palace Cinemas for a glorious two-month period and will include a tribute to François Truffaut, the master of French New Wave Cinema and a Closing Night that will honour the comic genius of Jacques Tati. The Finishers, a poignant drama with characters inspired by a true story, will take centre stage on Opening Night in each city. Directed by Nils Tavernier and starring Jacques Gamblin and Alexandra Lamy, The Finishers follows the journey of an embittered, former Ironman champion, and his disabled son who join forces to compete in a triathlon. Other highlights of the 2014 festival include: Michael Kohlhaas, Möbius, Camille Claudel 1915, Folies Bergère and Mademoiselle C.


Festival Dates & Locations

SYDNEY: 4 – 23 March Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema & Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
MELBOURNE: 5 – 23 March Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema, Como, Palace Westgarth & Kino Cinemas
CANBERRA: 6 – 25 March Palace Electric Cinema
BRISBANE: 6 – 25 March Palace Barracks & Palace Centro
PERTH: 18 March – 6 April Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX & Windsor Cinema
ADELAIDE: 20 March – 8 April Palace Nova Eastend
BYRON BAY: 24 – 28 April Palace Byron Bay


For more information about the festival & tickets, please visit the official website at:

Ore Ore/It’s Me It’s Me (JFF)

 Festivals, Japanese, Reviews  Comments Off on Ore Ore/It’s Me It’s Me (JFF)
Nov 132013

What seemed like a simple telephone scam for some easy cash, quickly escalates to a surreal nightmare that Hitoshi Nagano is unable to escape from. My review of It’s Me, It’s Me (Ore Ore/俺俺) screening as part of the Japanese Film Festival after the jump.

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