It’s been a tough 18+ months for film festivals around Australia, with lockdowns and border closures forcing many to be cancelled, postponed or go online in recent times. Which is all the more reason to make a beeline for the south this August 24-29 when Cinefest Oz Film Festival returns to screens around the southwest region for its 14th year!
WA’s own little Cannes Film Festival, the stacked program is filled with world premieres, Australian premieres, red carpet events, in-conversation lunches and of course – some brilliant new films. We got so excited about it we decided to cast our wandering eye over that program and pick out a bunch we’re excited to catch, check ’em out below:
Under The Volcano
This high profile documentary features some of the world’s biggest names in music, recalling a very special recording studio tucked away in the Caribbean and essentially the home of pop music in the 1980s. Even cooler, its creation is very much based in Western Australia, produced by Perth’s Cody Greenwood who assembled an Aussie female team to tell the fascinating story of George Martin’s iconic Montserrat recording studio.
Girl Like You
Over the course of six years, Girl Like You documents the changing dynamics of the relationship between Perth couple Lauren and Elle. Six months into their relationship, Elle revealed to Lauren that she wanted to medically transition from male to female – Girl Like You explores how this process affects their relationship, gender roles and sexual identities, and gives a tender look into the sacrifices we make for those we love. This also happens to come out of the Cody Greenwood production house, and co-directed by talented Perth duo Samantha Marlowe and Frances Elliott.
An inspiring tale about conquering the odds, Blind Ambition follows four Zimbabwean sommeliers as they compete to become world champion wine tasters. Each with their own painful journey, their determination and charm take France by storm.
The darkest movie on the program but arguably the buzziest, Cinefest Oz will the Western Australian premiere of Nitram, director Justin Kurzel (Snowtown, The Secret History Of The Kelly Gang)’s look back at the lead up to one of the most horrific moments in Australia’s history – the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre. The talent involved and early buzz suggests this is one to look out for – treating its subject matter with the respect it demands.
Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra
Bangarra, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, remains Australia’s leading Indigenous performing arts company – and defined an era of contemporary performance. Firestarter is the moving story of how three brothers revolutionised Australian dance, and also a heart wrenching look at racism, trauma and colonisation.
We’re suckers for a surf movie, and Facing Monsters will shine a light on one of Western Australia’s unsung heroes when it comes to big wave surfing – Kerby Brown. Tackling some of the world’s most dangerous waves off of our very own coastline, it’s shot legendary camera man and fellow West Aussie, Rick Rifici.
Hating Peter Tatchell
Produced by Elton John and David Furnish, Hating Peter Tatchell documents the contributions of controversial human rights activist Peter Tatchell. The film includes interviews between Ian McKellan and Tatchell, archival footage of Tatchell’s provocative acts of civil disobedience, as well as his current attempts to bring attention to the persecution of LGBTQI+ people in Russia and Chechnya.
Nothing gets the juices flowing like a well-made documentary film, and Big Deal looks like it’ll create plenty of chatter upon release. Directed by Craig Reucassel (The Chaser’s War On Everything), it follows Chirstiaan Van Vuuren (Bondi Hipsters) as he examines the way money and politics interact, and what the effect is on our democracy.
Iggy + Ace
The world premiere of WA-made Iggy + Ace, a comedic series that follows to dysfunctional, gay best friends. When Ace begins to suffer debilitating panic attacks, he finds himself at Alcoholics Anonymous – but Iggy takes his sobriety as a personal attack on her own lifestyle. A humorous look at whether friendships can survive as we change and grow as people.
A real slice of life look at Australia in the 1970s, the cinematography alone on Little Tornadoes looks worth checking out. However its the nostalgic look back at a time when this country was going through so much change – immigration, post-war resettlement, anti-Vietnam protests and the women’s liberation movement – through the eyes of an introverted metalworker that has our interest most piqued.
Head to the Cinefest Oz Film Festival WEBSITE for all the details and to start planning your cinematic adventure.