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The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) presents the next season of films within the popular Australian Perspectives program (March & April) with a spotlight on producer David Hannay, screening a number of films he produced over his prolific career, including the remarkable Mapantsula.

Before the celebration of David Hannay begins, Australian Perspectives will screen the Melbourne premiere of Utopia, the latest film from cartoonist, political satirist and filmmaker, Bruce Petty. Rhys Muldoon is cast as the protagonist, a documentary presenter who slips into unconsciousness when an accident happens on set while filming. From there, reality and fiction fuse, animation and actuality are intertwined to tell the tale of his imaginings of Utopia. Only screening for three sessions during March, the first will be hosted by the Australian Film Critics Association followed by a Q&A with creator Bruce Petty.

David Hannay began his career in the film industry as an actor – at age nine. From there he has acted in 7 films and has produced over 50 titles. Born in New Zealand to theatre actors Mary Stuart and Norman Hannah, Hannay moved to Australia and began his career. A career spanning over 60 years, Hannay has been recipient of numerous awards such as the 1996 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Producers and Directors Guild of Australia and in 2002 he was the inaugural recipient of the Maura Fay Award by the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) for his services to the industry.

Considered to be one of Hannay’s finest achievements, Mapantsula (1988) won Hannay the Human Rights Australia Film Award the year it was released. One of the first anti-apartheid films made by, for and about black South Africans, it traces the journey of a small time African criminal, Panic, as he traverses the era of apartheid. Aligning with Hannay’s extreme dislike of injustice, he was spurred to ensure this project was completed, shooting the film during the country’s state of emergency. Although initially banned in South Africa for its themes, it screened in the Un Certain regard category at Cannes that year and remains a potent example of political cinema.

Director John Hewitt and Hannay will introduce the only screening of Mapantsula on Saturday 6 April at 4pm.

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David Hannay

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