A new documentary from Scott Hicks and Windmill Theatre’s leap to the big screen are among the latest highlights from the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival.
A new documentary from Scott Hicks, Windmill Theatre’s leap to the big screen and a special anniversary celebration head up Adelaide Film Festival’s rich spread of newly announced 2015 program highlights. Now in its second year under director Amanda Duthie, the 2015 Festival looks set to deliver on its usual promise of compelling premieres and striking locally produced cinema. Making its world premiere will be Girl Asleep, Windmill’s first foray into feature films with an adaptation of its 2014 Adelaide Festival production. The adaptation will star Adelaide’s own Tilly Cobham-Hervey, who returns as the face of this year’s Adelaide Film Festival after emerging as the breakout star of the 2013 program with her two feature debuts 52 Tuesdays and One Eyed Girl. “I remember at the time being fairly overwhelmed,” she says. “When you make a film it’s very intimate, and the idea of anyone else seeing it is kind of peculiar in that moment… so I’d never had the experience of anyone watching your head on a screen like that before – you can’t hide on a screen like that!” she laughs. Also featured in the 2015 program is the world premiere of Highly Strung, the latest film from Adelaide’s own Oscar-winning director Scott Hicks. It’s the latest installment in Hicks’ long-running fascination with music, from his career-making feature Shine to the photography exhibition earlier this year that unearthed Hicks’ early work as a still photographer capturing acts like David Bowie, Bob Dylan and the B52s. Highly Strung will mark Hicks’ first documentary since 2007’s Glass: A Portrait Of Phillip in Twelve Parts. The festival will also showcase the adaptation of Rosalie Ham’s bestseller The Dressmaker, with Kate Winslet, Judy Davis and Liam Hemsworth leading the dramatic comedy set in Menzies-era Australia. Meanwhile, the Adelaide-filmed A Month Of Sundays stars Anthony LaPaglia as your typical slightly washed up, divorced, out-of-touch dad type who, somewhat less typically, receives a phone call from beyond the grave. Complementing the innovative framework of Girl Asleep, Spear sees director Stephen Page bring performers from Bangarra Dance Theatre to the screen to explore the story of a young Aboriginal man as he reconciles the ancient traditions of his ancestors with the modern Indigenous experience. Other highlights include a special screening of Rolf de Heer’s landmark film Bad Boy Bubby at Port Adelaide’s Waterside Workers Hall to mark the work’s 21st anniversary. “It’s startling to think that twenty-two 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 of the anniversary. Now based in Sydney, Cobham-Hervey’s experience promoting 52 Tuesdays and One Eyed Girl around the world has given her a renewed appreciation for the special role festivals like Sundance, Austin Film Festival and indeed Adelaide’s perform. “The amazing thing about a film festival is that it can engage an audience of different generations and backgrounds to all come and make cinema feel important,” she says. “Everyone watches film content all the time, a ridiculous amount of screen time [is consumed] in our world, but actually going to the cinema and making that a cultural event is lessening because it’s so easy to access on many different mediums,” she says. “I think that what makes a great film festival is when it’s in a smaller city, they don’t get lost within the big loud space of a big city,” she says. “It gets a bigger focus that allows everyone to inevitably be involved. I think Sundance did that amazingly and felt like it was so important everyone admires every part of the culture of film making. And at Austin [Film Festiva] it was amazing to see all these screenwriters,” she beams. “I’m not religious and the things that changed my life the most is probably film, and you’re sitting in a room of your gods!” Adelaide Film Festival 2015 runs from October 15 – 25 adelaidefilmfestival.org