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Running from February 18 to March 3, the second biannual Adelaide Film Festival is gaining muscle and will showcase films from more than 43 countries in more than 200 screenings including over 100 Australian premieres, nineteen of them world premieres; in all, more than seventy feature films and more than sixty documentaries, having almost doubled its capacity from 28,000 to 55,000 seats. Andrew L. Urban reports.

Slotted as far away from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane’s festivals as possible, the Adelaide film festival is young – and enthusiastic. “I’m really excited that we can showcase some of the most exciting works coming out in cinema globally,” says festival director Katrina Sedgwick. 

World Premieres include Dark Sunrise, kNOT@home, OK Let’s Talk About Me, Jewboy and Wrong Skin, plus the Australian premieres of Control, Blue Collar White Christmas, Butterflies, 99 Years of My Life and Checkpoint.

She’s also delighted that a number of the strands developed organically, like the ones presented under a sidebar title (see below), but also others, like the Chinese and French selections, which Sedgwick had trouble booking last time. Now there are six French features in the program.

"a focus on South American Cinema"

The line up of feature films, documentaries, shorts and animations will be augmented this year by a focus on South American Cinema, plus sidebars like The Screen Goddess, Architecture on Film, Globalisation, Sports Docs, Late & Great, and Dance on Film. In addition the Festival has formed key partnerships with the Australian International Documentary Conference and Giffoni Film Festival [Italy] for children.

The South American strand features some of the best new work from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil, including the Australian premiere of B-Happy, with director Gonzalo Justiniano, in Adelaide as a guest of the Festival.

The Screen Goddess strand explores classic Hollywood screen legends and also showcases goddesses from other cultures. From silent films, dramas, comedies and biopics this strand explores the many faces of the screen goddess, including the Australian Premiere of 2046 (Wong Kar-Wai 2004.) which also screens as the Closing Night Gala.

Dance On Film is curated by Garry Stewart, Director of the Australian Dance Theatre. The program features some of the best explorations of dance on film – from the revelatory bio pics exploring the lives and work of Merce Cunningham and Douglas Wright, to the films which break ground in the fusion of these two art forms.

Globalisation takes up the baton from Farenheit 9/11 and The Corporation, exploring the impact of globalisation on individuals and industries, neighbourhoods and nations. It includes the Australian premiere of three documentaries: Blue Collar White Christmas, directed by Max Kestner; A Decent Factory directed by Thomas Balmès and Riot On! Kim Finn. All three directors will be guests of the 2005 AFF and AIDC 2005.

The range of special events at the Festival will include the Gala Opening and Closing Nights, a return of the highly successful Horror Sleepover, an Oscars Night, a special presentation of Metropolis with a new live score performed by Adelaide ‘s New Pollutants, and Celluloid and Tinsel a world premiere theatre show for all cinema lovers.

"the exploration of music on film"

The return of the popular Music on Film strand to the AFF 2005 will see the exploration of music on film and music for film including documentaries about music and musicians, music video in the return of Mirrorball from the Edinburgh Film Festival, and a special spotlight on composition for film. A special overseas guest will be Grammy Award winner and Oscar Nominee Lalo Schifrin, a remarkable pianist, composer and conductor who has written almost 100 scores for film and television including: Bullitt, Cool Hand Luke, Enter The Dragon, Dirty Harry and most famously the theme for Mission Impossible. Lalo Schifrin will be In Conversation accompanied by screenings of three of his classic films.

Music on Film will also present Bugs Bunny on Broadway with Bugs’ famous Warner Bros opera and orchestral cartoon antics on the big screen accompanied live by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

Dennis O’Rourke will be the recipient of the 2005 Don Dunstan Award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Australian Film Industry.

Published January 27, 2005

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Katrina Sedgwick



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