June 19-20, 2001

American Cinematheque Presents...

Down Under Wonders: New Films from Australia

 

Program compiled by Andrew P. Crane

Special Thanks: LESLIE RABB/RPM INTERNATIONAL, AIR NEW ZEALAND, AUSFILM, SHOWFILM, AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTS, LINDEMANN WINES, SAGA PRODUCTIONS , BETSY CRAMER /SANTA BARBARA FILM FESTIVAL CATALOG.

Tickets available 30 days in advance.

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Every year new talents emerge from Australia. We are happy to be bringing you some of those who create both in front of and behind the camera.

Our third-annual program of both short films and features from Australia has films from directors whose work we have shown in the previous Down Under Wonder programs, including Jo Kennedy and Jaime Browne. We’ll have a reception after the shorts program and several of the filmmakers in attendance. We also have two excellent new documentary features about music on the second night, TOSCA and BURIED COUNTRY. We’ll see you there mate!

 

Tuesday, June 19 – 7:30 PM

DOWN UNDER WONDERS: THE SHORTS

[This film will not be shown] Rachel Ward’s "The Big House" (24 min.) In this very original and powerful drama, one man finds a renewed capacity for love within the walls of a prison. The Hitch" "  Directed by Michael Booth & Damon Herriman. 15 min.  An innocent looking-lad accepts a ride from an older stranger.  Delicious twist. "Bowl Me Over" Directed by Angie Brown. 14 min.  Award-winning comedy about cross-cultural fears and reviving a sagging lawn bowling club. Jaime Browne’s "Kicking On" (13 min.) Winner of numerous award at the "big three" queer film festivals in Australia, this surprising and excellent short shows us things about "footie" teams we never knew! From the director of "Industrial Relations" (in last years’ program). Peter Carstair’s "Gate" (16 min.) This subtle comedy, set in a ranch in the outback is a sly look at masculine power struggles and hierarchy. Jo Kennedy’s "The Bridge" (18 min.) A three-time alumni of Down Under Wonders, Jo returns with this intense drama concerning a teenage girl’s maneuvers through a minefield of males; alternately raging, hormone-driven and passive. Reception in the Egyptian courtyard after the screening.

More films to be announced and several filmmakers are expected to attend. Call 323/466-FILM or check here for updates.

 

Wednesday, June 20 – 7:00 PM

TOSCA (2000, Film Australia, 85 min.) Dir. Trevor Graham. A backstage, "warts and all" documentary set just three weeks before the first performance of one of classical music’s most beloved and well-known operas. Love and tragedy, political betrayal and intrigue, Puccini’s luscious Tosca, is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser – if, only if, it is beautifully performed. A huge challenge for cash-strapped Opera Australia. Veteran Joan Carden here performs Floria Tosca, written for a young diva. Opposite Ms. Carden is Greg Tomlinson, who plays her lover, artist Mario Cavaradossi. This is Mr. Tomlinson’s debut, a career make- or-break. Ian Vayne plays the evil villain, Baron Scarpia. He has sung the part only once before-in German! Director Graham noted that "the performers trusted the filmmakers with truly amazing behind-the-scenes access for 110 hours of tape." The drama behind the scenes at times equaled the drama onstage. By the time of the first nerve-wracked performance, we care about everyone from the stars to the stagehands.

 

Wednesday, June – 9:15 PM

BURIED COUNTRY (2000, Film Australia, 75 min.) Dir. Andy Nehl. "Voted Best Documentary by the Audience at the Hawaii International Film Festival". This fascinating documentary on the connection between Aboriginal Australians and country and western music. Aboriginal people have used country music to tell their stories of life and the struggle for justice. Featuring rare recordings, archival images and first-hand interviews with the singers and songwriters, Buried Country traces six decades of this rich tradition. What emerges is not only a poignant record of indigenous Australia, but also a celebration of how music can lift the human spirit.