7TH AUSTRALIAN FILM FESTIVAL UNVEILS IN MANILA AND CEBU
Six critically-acclaimed films from Australia are set to hit select cinemas in Manila and Cebu as the Australian Embassy presents its 7th Australian Film Festival in the Philippines from 5-14 November. The festival will be opened by visiting Australian director Elissa Down.
Australian Ambassador Rod Smith said the festival would open with a special screening of the award-winning 2008 film, The Black Balloon. The film’s director, Elissa Down, would visit Manila for the screening and would conduct master classes at the University of the Philippines Film Institute and Mowelfund Institute.
“Ms Down’s visit will further strengthen ties between the Australian and Filipino film industries which have developed through the film festival and Cinemanila during the past few years, including through workshops for student film producers and directors conducted by visiting Australian actors and directors,” Ambassador Smith said.
The Black Balloon, starring Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning actress Toni Collette (Sixth Sense, About A Boy), follows the story of 15-year old Thomas (Rhys Wakefield) who tries to fit in his new life as his family moves to a new home while taking care of his autistic older brother Charlie (Luke Ford, The Mummy-Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) and nurturing a budding romance with new girlfriend Jackie (Australian supermodel and actress Gemma Ward). Charlie takes Thomas on an emotional journey in a story that is funny, confronting and ultimately heart-warming. The film was awarded the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival Crystal Bear for Best Feature-Length film in the Generation 14plus category and Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Direction, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing.
Also featured in this year’s festival are Unfinished Sky, a romantic drama about the nature of loss and the language of love; The Bank, a political thriller set in the world of high finance; the romantic comedy Danny Deckchair; Garage Days, a story about a teenager’s dream to be a rock star; and The Hard Word starring Guy Pearce (Memento, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, LA Confidential ) and Golden Globe winner Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Brothers and Sisters).
"The Embassy is pleased to continue its tradition of providing Filipino moviegoers the opportunity to experience Australian film excellence and learn more about Australian popular culture, history and contemporary values,” Ambassador Smith said.
The Australian film industry is known for its innovation and quality, and for producing unique films with an Australian flavour that have global appeal. One of the oldest in the world, it holds the distinction of producing the world’s first full length feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, in 1906. Today, actors such as Nicole Kidman, Mel Gibson, Russel Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Naomi Watts and Cate Blanchett have amassed a significant body of award-winning work. Australia’s world-class facilities, state-of-the art digital and visual effects production services, acclaimed cast and crew and spectacular locations also makes it a sought-after location for foreign films including Superman Returns, Matrix Trilogy, Charlotte’s Web, Ghost Rider and The Ruins.
The festival, which will show at Greenbelt 3 Cinema 3 from 5-8 November and Ayala Centre Cebu Cinema 4 from 9-14 November, is presented by the Australian Embassy, Screen Australia, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in cooperation with the Ayala Malls Cinemas, Greenbelt and Ayala Center Cebu. Partners include The Peninsula Manila, the Arts Council of Cebu, the University of the Philippines Film Institute, 2nd Avenue, and ClickTheCity.com. For information on the film screenings and master classes, visit www.philippines.embassy.gov.au.