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With 13 narrative features, 16 documentaries, 30 shorts and its central agenda-driven 11 ‘Action Sessions’, this year’s BOFA Film Festival is dedicated to change: “We see screen based stories as a powerful way to inspire people to take action – and to create change in the world,” is how festival director Owen Tilbury has put it. Andrew L. Urban reports.

“We’re excited by the messages of film,” says Owen Tilbury. “Where most film festivals focus on excellence and filmmaking - that’s a basic building bock, of course, - but we’re hoping to not only raise consciousness but to see that translate into action, into doing something about it.”

"virtual mentoring project, What Makes A Man A Man"

True to his word, one of the interactive action sessions BOFA is staging will be the presentation by psychologist Agi O’Hara of a specially edited collation from some of the 16 interviews (conducted by this writer) for her virtual mentoring project, What Makes A Man A Man. Interview excerpts will be screened from star of Mad Bastards Dean Daly Jones, author & columnist Peter FitzSimons, and Angry Anderson among others.

The Sunday morning devoted to this session (9.00 – 12.30, Architecture & Design Theatre, Inveresk Precinct) will encourage audience discussion, with a panel comprising O’Hara, Hawthorn footballer Peter Hudson, marriage equality campaigner Rick Marton and Launceston’s Young Citizen of the Year, Adam Mostogl.

Paul Barclay of ABC Radio National will facilitate a debate with a panel on the provocative and topical issue of fracking as a way of releasing underground oil. This process has created controversy in Queensland and overseas and is under consideration in Tasmania. Excerpts from soon-to-be-released film, The Frackman, will set the scene for the panel to debate the potential for and concerns regarding fracking in Tasmania.

"the films are fascinating"

But the films are fascinating, too, not least the astonishing Palme d’Or winner from Cannes, Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep, which Variety has described as “near perfect filmmaking”.

Opening the festival is Jennifer Steinman’s acclaimed documentary, Desert Runners. The 4 Desert Ultra-marathon Series is an extraordinary challenge attracting extraordinary competitors, who run four 250km races in the space of a year in the most inhospitable locations imaginable - the Gobi, the Atacama, the Sahara and finally Antarctica. Desert Runners tracks the dramatic journey across the planet’s most picturesque yet brutal landscapes of four contestants including Australian, Samantha Gash, the festival’s special guest.

By complete contrast, Advanced Style takes us to New York, where photographer Cohen loves to snap New York fashionistas for his street-style blog, Advanced Style. Now, with help from director Lina Plioplyte, these vivacious, vibrant and outspoken ladies (and gentlemen) join us on the big screen. Ranging in age from 60 to 90 years old, these flamboyant women offer proof that age is no barrier to being fabulous, creative and living life to the fullest.

In narrative features, another Cannes winner (Un Certain Regard Jury prize) Force Majeure by Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, a psychological thriller. When an avalanche comes rumbling towards Tomas and his family in the middle of a skiing holiday, he follows his first instinct and runs – leaving his wife and two children behind. The avalanche turns out to be a false alarm, but when Tomas returns to his family he finds that his betrayal may have caused more damage than a wall of snow ever could.

There’s fun with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon with A Trip to Italy and Australian cultural drama with Charlie’s Country, among many more, including two films with diverse visions of China – The Nightingale and China’s 3 Dreams.

Published September 18, 2014

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BOFA, Thursday November 6 – Sunday November 9, 2014, Launceston, Tasmania

Desert Runners

Dean Daley Jones

Winter Sleep

Charlie's Country

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