DUNGOG FILM FESTIVAL 2007 – PREVIEW
WHY DIDN’T WE THINK OF IT BEFORE?
There are festivals devoted to Australian films in St Tropez, Hong Kong, London
and Shanghai – but until this week, none in Australia. On May 31, the inaugural
Dungog Film Festival is launched at Dungog, an idyllic rural setting two hours
from Sydney; but don’t let the bucolic environment fool you: it’s more boutique
than backwater, with innovative elements and some world premieres, reports
Andrew L. Urban.
It’s odd, when you think about it, that until filmmaker Allanah Zitserman came
up with the idea for an exclusively Australian film festival, we’ve never had
one. But it seems the wait was worth it, with Zitserman having corralled a long
list of supporters, a good chunk of the film industry (those who are back from
Cannes) and an intriguing program of films, a blend of world premieres and
classics, the latter in association with the National Film & Sound Archive.
“It's a wonderful opportunity to get filmmakers out of the craziness of the
city, into a beautiful rural town, to experience Aussie movies in a non
competitive atmosphere at the oldest continuously running cinema in Australia,”
says Zitserman. “I'm thrilled by the collective enthusiasm of filmmakers,
film-lovers and rural communities for this event -- I think we've really tapped
into something unique here. The support for this festival has been above and
beyond anything I could have imagined. I hope that putting the focus on
Australian films will, in our little way, contribute to a greater appreciation
of local talent.”
The festival opens on Thursday night, hosted by Hugo Weaving, with The Picture
Show Man (1977) and two shorts, Dugong (by Erin White) and the world premiere of
Skin (by Claire McCarthy).
New Australian films Like Burke & Wills (2006) and the premiere of dance drama,
Thursday’s Fiction will follow. The world premieres include On the Edge of Eden,
directed by Damian S. Simankowicz, and Almost, directed by Chris Burnham, with
several invitation only screenings – these are premieres of films that are not
There is also a four part ‘scream’ program presented by Nell Schofield, a
masterclass by Bruce Beresford, and a work in progress screening from director
Michael Joy, 5 programs of shorts, a seminar on the new film funding details
announced in the 2007 budget, plus four Spotlight on the Director sessions.
Classic Australian films to screen include the 1983 comedy, Buddies (dir. Arch
Nicholson), Breaker Morant (1980, dir. Bruce Beresford) and Kid Stakes (1927,
dir. Tal Ordell).
AND ANOTHER THING …
Mambo, one of Australia’s iconic fashion labels has designed the official
T-Shirt for the 2007 film festival. This quirky work of art can now be seen on
the festival website.
Published May 30, 2007
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Festival founder Allanah Zitserman
The Morning After
Urban Cinefile is proud to be the Exclusive Online Media Partner for the
inaugural Dungog Film Festival, May 31 – June 3, 2007.
Countrylink, a major sponsor of the Festival, is supplying the 11.35am train on
May 31 from Sydney Central to Dungog for sponsors, filmmakers and special
guests; guests will be entertained by live music & complimentary food and wine
will be served.