Beck Cole’s drama Here I Am [pictured], about a young Aboriginal woman who has to find her feet after leaving prison, is the one world premiere that will be competing for the top prize at the Adelaide Film Festival (AFF), which opens on Feb 24.
Cole’s debut was produced by Kath Shelper, who also produced Samson & Delilah, and the cinematographer was that film’s director, Warwick Thornton.
Another Australian film is also in competition, Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Adventure, which just premiered at Sundance.
AFF director Katrina Sedgwick revealed the 12 films in competition today in Adelaide today. All but Here I Am have played at least one of the world’s A -list festivals but prizewinners are the exception rather than the rule: Mysteries Of Lisborn won the Silver Shell at San Sebastian and the Louis Delluc Prize; The Four Times won best European Film at Cannes and the Fipresci Prize at Motovun; and Whisper With The Wind won the Young Critics Award at Cannes.
In all, five of the 12 films were shown at Cannes in 2010.
The full list is as follows:
The Four Times, dir Michaelangelo Frammartinom (Italy, Germany Switzerland)
Here I Am, dir Beck Cole (Australia) [World Premiere]
Incendies, dir Denis Villeneuve (Canada, France)
Meek’s Cutoff, dir Kelly Reichardt (US)
Mysteries of Lisbon, dir Raoul Ruiz (Portugal, France)
Nostalgia For The Light, dir Patricio Guzmán (Chile, France, Germany)
October, dirs Daniel Vega, Diego Vega (Peru, Venezuela, Spain).
The Piano In A Factory, dir Zhang Meng (China)
Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure, dir Matthew Bate (Australia)
Tuesday, After Christmas, dir Radu Muntean (Romania)
Whisper With The Wind, dir Shahram Alidi (Iran, Iraq)
Year Without A Summer, dir Tan Chui Mui (Malaysia).
This year’s jury head is Julietta Sichel, former director of programming for the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, and on her team is Cannes programmer Pierre Rissient, Sundance programme director Trevor Groth, Iranian/Australian contemporary artist Hossein Valamanesh and joint managing director of UK production company Warp X Robin Gutch.
AFF opens with the world premiere of Mrs Carey’s Concert, a music-themed documentary set in an independent Sydney girls school. It is the first film for a decade by veteran filmmaker Bob Connolly, who directed it with Sophie Raymond.
Brendan Fletcher’s Mad Bastards, which has just screened at Sundance, closes the festival.
There are 14 projects showing at AFF that have received support from the festival’s investment fund. They include Mrs Carey’s Concert and Here I Am, Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown, Tony Krawitz’s The Tall Man and Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s Hail.
The festival extends its reach considerably this year with the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosting a week-long festival of eight of the films supported by the fund, including Look Both Ways, Ten Canoes, Samson & Delilah and Boxing Day.
AFF funds work that’s not just for the big screen: this year’s slate also includes Danger 5, a cross platform action-comedy series that follows the adventures of five secret agents, and Stranded, a gallery presentation from Thornton. As usual there is considerable indigenous content in the festival.
It was also announced today that actor Judy Davis will be the recipient of the Don Dunstan Award.