New movies starring Anthony LaPaglia and Kate Winslet, Oscar-winning director Scott Hicks’ latest film, and the screen debuts of two prominent Australian dance and theatre makers will be highlights of this year’s Adelaide Film Festival.
The world premiere of Hicks’ Highly Strung — described as a story of the passion and obsession surrounding the rare 18th-century Guadagnini violins, and featuring the Australian String Quartet — will open the festival on October 15.
“It’s great to see him back on the big screen in Adelaide with a film that’s been made here,” festival creative director Amanda Duthie says of Hicks, who also directed music films Shine, based on the life of pianist David Helfgott, and 2007’s Glass: A Portrait of Phillip in Twelve Parts.
“It [Highly Strung] is really an exploration of these extraordinary instruments that are all antiques but are carried around and played and enjoyed and give so much pleasure … they still incite so much love and even obsession after all these years.”
Other highlights announced today ahead of the full program release on September 9 include A Month of Sundays, the new comedy-drama by director Matt Saville (The Slap) which was filmed in Adelaide and stars Anthony LaPaglia, and The Dressmaker, directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and based on Rosalie Ham’s novel of the same name and featuring Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth and Judy Davis.
The artistic director of Adelaide’s Windmill Theatre, Rosemary Myers, will make her film directing debut with Girl Asleep, an adaptation of the company’s play presented at last year’s Adelaide Festival.
Described as a girl’s own adventure, the story sees a teenager propelled to a weird parallel place on her 15th birthday and features a cast including Adelaide rising star Tilda Cobham-Hervey, from the 2013 Film Festival hit 52 Tuesdays.
Both Girl Asleep and Bangarra Dance Theatre artistic director Stephen Page’s film, SPEAR, were supported by the HIVE Fund, which encourages cross-genre screen-based projects. SPEAR features dancers from Bangarra, and follows the journey of a young Aboriginal man caught between the traditions of his culture and contemporary urban life.
“Here you have Rosemary Myers and Stephen Page, who are so well regarded in theatre and dance, bringing all of those powers and all of those skills to the big screen,” Duthie says.
She says Myers, already highly respected for her theatre direction, is a born filmmaker.
“It [Girl Asleep] is completely divine … an amazing feature debut.
“The transition from stage to screen is pretty seamless. What’s noticeable is how utterly fresh her direction for the screen is. There’s a feeling you are watching something special.”
Closer Productions, the SA-based collective behind 52 Tuesdays, will present feature documentary Sam Klemke’s Time Machine, which sprung from American filmmaker and satirist Sam Klemke’s project to document every year of his life on film, beginning in 1977.
There will also be a special 21st anniversary screening of Rolf de Heer’s cult classic Bad Boy Bubby at Port Adelaide’s Waterside Workers Hall during the Film Festival.
The film, about a man who finally escapes after 30 years spent trapped in his mother’s apartment, will be presented for the first time in binaural sound thanks to microphones that sound recordist James Currie placed under lead actor Nicholas Hope’s wig. Audience members at the Waterside screening will wear headsets so they are “plugged into” Bubby’s experience.
“It’s startling to think that 22 years after Bad Boy Bubby confounded everyone, including me, by winning five prizes at the Venice Film Festival, and 21 years after it was released to an unsuspecting general public, the film is still ticking away, being shown, being seen, being loved and loathed in probable equal measure,” de Heer says.
The 2015 Adelaide Film Festival will include the opening at the Samstag Museum of visual artist Hossein Valamanesh’s new work, Char Soo, a four-screen video projection filmed in an Iranian bazaar.