Search
3D 5th Wave 70s Culture 80s Cinema A Night of Horror AAustralian film Action Activism Adaptation Adelaide Film Festival Adventure Advocacy African American Age of Adaline AI albanian Alien Abduction alien covenant aliens alt-right altzheimers amazon Amitabh Bachchan Animation anime anthology Anti-vaxx Ari Gold Art Asia Pacific Screen Awards Asian Cinema Australian film AV Industry Avengers Bad Robot BDSM Beach Boys Berlinale BFG Bianca Biasi Big Hero 6 Biography Biopic Blade Runner Blake Lively B-Movies Bollywood Breast Cancer Brian Wilson Brisbane Bruce Willis Camille Keenan Canadian Cancer candyman Cannes cannibalism Cannon Films Cesars CGI Chapman To Character Actors Charlie Hunnam Charlize Theron Chemsex China Lion Chloe Grace Moretz Chris Hemsworth Chris Pratt Christchurch christian cinema christmas Christopher Nolan Classic Cinema Clint Eastwood Close Encounters Cloverfield Comedy Coming-of-Age Conor McGregor Conspiracy Controversy Crowd-sourced Cult Cure Dakota Johnson Dance Academy Dardennes Brothers darth vader Debut Deepika Padukone Depression Disaster Movies Disney Diversity Documentary doomsday Dr Moreau drama Dunkirk Dustin Clare Dystopic EL James eli roth Elizabeth Banks Entourage Environmental Epic Erotic Cinema Extra-terrestrial Extreme Sports faith-based Family Film Fantasy Father Daughter Feminism Fifty Shades of Grey Film Film Festival Foreign found footage French Cinema Friendship Fusion Technology Gareth Edwards Gay Cinema Ghostbusters Ghosts Golan Globus Gothic green inferno Guardians of the Galaxy Guillermo del Toro Gun Control Hacker Hailee Steinfeld Han Solo Happiness Harrison Ford Harry Dean Stanton Hasbro Haunted house Hhorror Himalaya Hitchcock Hollywood Holocaust Hong Kong horror Horror Film
Tuesday
Jun042013

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 2013: SO YOU COULDN'T GET A TICKET...

The 60th anniversary of the iconic Sydney Film Festival (SFF) is, naturally, all about the films. 190 of them, to be exact, including 19 world premieres and representing international cinema from 55 countries. That's why very often, it is law of the jungle when buying tickets and many sessions are already sold out. But the modern film festival also offers a vast landscape of sidebar attractions, art installations, retro-themed celebrations and live chats, and SFF 2013 is no different. SCREEN-SPACE looks at 10 events from this years festival calendar that you really should consider….

1. SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 1954 TO NOW: A LIVING ARCHIVE
On this, the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the SFF, a troop of the nation’s most respected film scholars, past festival directors and industry journalists were asked to contribute to a vast online retrospective of the Festival’s key moments (including, pictured above, then-director David Stratton being farewelled in 1983 by directors Dr George Miller and Peter Weir and producer Patricia Lovell). The result – 86 pages of content, rich with photos, anecdotes, interviews and links to a myriad of historical content. Visit the Archive at http://online.sffarchive.org.au .

2. SCREEN: BLACK
SFF organisers have established an official partnership with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department to ensure cinema that explores the culture and history of Aboriginal Australia is given the exposure and support it requires to thrive. Long a supporter of indigenous-themed works and native Australian filmmakers (in 1979, Aboriginal woman Essie Coffey presented her documentary short My Survival as an Aboriginal Woman), this year’s programme includes Ivan Sen’s Opening Night world premiere, Mystery Road (pictured, right); a restored print of Ned lander’s landmark work Wrong Side of the Road; and, Steven McGregor’s profile of The Warumpi Band, Big Name No Blanket.

3. THE BEFORE…TRILOGY
Spanning almost 20 years, the love affair between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) began as angst-ridden Gen-Existential flirtation in 1995’s Before Sunrise and continued on the streets of Paris with 2004’s melancholy Before Sunset. The stars, along with director Richard Linklater, reunite with their creations in the latest instalment, Before Midnight, having its Australian premiere at the Festival. Enjoy a day of romantic chemistry when all three screen Saturday, June 8.

4. FINAL CUT: LADIES AND GENTLEMAN
Arguably no film screening at the SFF will hold greater joy for the average Sydney film buff than Hungarian auteur György Pálfi’s Final Cut – Ladies and Gentlemen. Crafting a romantic narrative from over 450 seemingly random movie clips, the Taxidermia director has created a vivid, unique and surprisingly emotional experience that could well emerge as the talking point of the festival. How many of the films can you name…?

5. VHS PARTY!
In honour of the little black plastic box that changed the way the world was able to watch movies, the SFF presents a celebration of VHS (from Victor Home System, after the patented inventors of the format) at the Festival Hub under Sydney’s Town Hall. Recalling the thrilling highs of watching what you want, when you want and the dreaded lows of tape spoilage, the event will be a stroll down memory lane for those who can remember what ‘tracking’ and ‘please rewind’ mean.

6. JULIE AND THE DIRECTORS
One of Australia’s most respected film journalists, Julie Rigg (pictured, right), engages with several generations of past SFF directors to recollect on the first 60 years of the Festival. David Donaldson (1954-57), David Stratton (1966-83) and the current fest head Nashen Moodley will be amongst those recalling the challenges and foibles of mounting one of the world’s most respected film programmes.

7. HELL DRIVERS
‘Rainy Sundays Stormy Mondays’ is the retrospective side-bar featuring 13 of the very best British Noir thrillers. Brighton Rock, They Made Me a Fugitive and The Siege at Pinchgut rate highly, though the pick of them may by Cy Endfield’s tough-guy trucking classic Hell Drivers, featuring Patrick McGoohan as the brutal alpha-male Red and a support cast including Sid James, Herbert Lom, Stanley Baker and Sean Connery.

8.MEET THE FILMMAKERS: HAIFAA AL MANSOUR
Having earned her Masters in Film Studies from the University of Sydney, Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al Mansour (pictured, left) took her craft back to her homeland and made Wadjda, screening in competition this year. It was the first feature film to be shot in The Kingdom, where cinemas are banned. As Saudi Arabia’s first woman film director, her journey was an incredible, at times daunting and dangerous one. She relates the tale at Sydney’s Apple Store on Saturday, June 8.

9. THE BOX SET: BURNING BUSH
Acclaimed Polish filmmaker Agniezska Holland’s 4 hour drama, shot for HBO Europe, follows the aftermath of one of the most pivotal moments in the political history of Czechoslavakia – the self-immolation and subsequent death of Jan Palach in January 1969, who was protesting Soviet occupation of the territory. Another small-screen gem getting a bigscreen run in SFF is Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's mini-series Penance, a generational study in grief that played Venice and Toronto to high praise.

10. …AND SEX.
Never a gathering to shy away from the pleasures and pitfalls of flesh on film, SFF 2013 presents a vast array of programme choices to delight, arouse and, possibly, disturb you.  Burlesque darling Beth B explores the NYC underground in Exposed; Jeffery Schwartz tries to define the immortal allure of Harris Glenn Milstead in I am Divine; Amanda Seyfriend bares all in the biopic, Lovelace; Steve Coogan plays pornography game-changer Paul Raymond in Michael Winterbottom’s The Look of Love; and new-agers do it for the trees in the offbeat enviro-doco, F**k For Forest. One casualty, though: Christina Voros’ no-holds-barred look at fetish practices, Kink, has already been pulled from the programme.

Full details of all the screenings and events at the 2013 Sydney Film Festival can be found here.

Monday
May272013

SAPPHIC SERENADE: BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR TAKES CANNES' TOP HONOUR.

Any and all concerns that handing the Cannes 2013 jury duties to Hollywood’s most successful commercial filmmaker would detract from the event’s European sensibilities were laid to rest overnight with the announcement of the major award winners.

Steven Spielberg and his international body of A-list judges bestowed the 66th Palme d’Or upon the three hour, French-language lesbian love story Blue is the Warmest Colour. Director Abdellatif Kechiche and his fearless leading ladies, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux (pictured, above), accepted the award, which honoured a work rich in emotional complexity and graphic in its portrayal of homosexual passion. The film doubled-up on top honours with the Fipresci International Critics body also naming it best of the fest.

Spielberg, along with a panel that included Nicole Kidman and Ang Lee (pictured, right), was effusive in their praise for the Tunisian-born director’s drama, stating at the post-announcement press conference that the film was, “A great love story that made all of us feel privileged to be a fly on the wall, to see this story of deep love and deep heartbreak evolve from the beginning. The director didn’t put any constraints on the narrative. He let the scenes play in real life, and we were absolutely spellbound.”

So global was the overall winners list, films from Asia, Europe and North America were represented. Mexico snared Best Director kudos for Amat Escalante’s gangland family drama, Heli; the Jury Prize went to Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Like Father Like Son; Screenplay honours fell to China’s Jia Zhangke for A Touch of Sin. The Camera d’Or honours for best first feature film went to Singapore-based filmmaker Anthony Chen for his debut, Ilo Ilo.

Longtime Cannes favourites Joel and Ethan Coen secured the Grand Prix for their monochromatic drama Inside Llewellyn Davis, while veteran character actor Bruce Dern earned a very popular Best Actor nod for Alexander Paynes’ Nebraska. Berenice Bejo, last lauded on The Croisette for her work in the Oscar-winner The Artist, took home the Best Actress trophy for her role in Asghar Farhadi’s French-Italian co-production, The Past.

The full list of Cannes Film Festival 2013 honorees is:

JURY PRIZE WINNERS:

Palme d’Or: “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (Abdellatif Kechiche, director; Adele Exarchopoulos France)

Grand Prix: “Inside Llewyn Davis” (Joel and Ethan Coen, U.S.)

Director: Amat Escalante, “Heli” (Mexico)

Jury prize: “Like Father, Like Son” (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan)

Actor: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska” (Alexander Payne, U.S.)

Actress: Berenice Bejo, “The Past” (Asghar Farhadi, France-Italy)

Screenplay: Jia Zhangke, “A Touch of Sin” (China)

UN CERTAIN REGARD JURY PRIZES:

Main prize: “The Missing Picture” (Rithy Panh, Cambodia-France)

Jury prize: Hany Abu-Assad, “Omar” (Palestine)

Director: Alain Guiraudie, “Stranger by the Lake” (France)

Future prize: “Fruitvale Station” (Ryan Coogler, U.S.)

A Certain Talent prize: Ensemble cast of “La jaula de oro” (Diego Quemada-Diaz, Mexico-Spain)

JURY PRIZES:

Camera d’Or: “Ilo ilo” (Anthony Chen, Singapore)

Directors’ Fortnight Art Cinema Award: “Me Myself and Mum” (Guillaume Gallienne, France)

Directors’ Fortnight Europa Cinemas Label: “The Selfish Giant” (Clio Barnard, U.K.)

Directors’ Fortnight SACD Prize: “Me Myself and Mum”

Critics’ Week Grand Prix: “Salvo” (Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza, Italy)

Critics’ Week Visionary Prize: “Salvo”

Critics’ Week Special Mention: “The Owners” (Agustin Toscano, Ezequiel Radusky, Argentina)

Critics’ Week SACD Prize for Screenplay: “Le Demantelement” (Sebastien Pilote, Canada)

Short Films Palme d’Or: “Safe” (Moon Byoung-gon, South Korea)

Ecumenical Jury Prize: “The Past” (Asghar Farhadi, France-Italy)

FIPRESCI PRIZES:

Competition: “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (Abdellatif Kechiche, France)

Un Certain Regard: “Manuscripts Don’t Burn” (Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran)

Directors’ Fortnight: “Blue Ruin” (Jeremy Saulnier, U.S.)

 

Thursday
Apr252013

BLOOD AND MEMORIES: 2013 A NIGHT OF HORROR / FANTASTIC PLANET FILM FESTIVAL WRAP-UP.

The unique two-tiered structure that is the A Night of Horror/Fantastic Planet Film Festival allowed for many of the programmed works to feel the joy of victory at the event’s Closing Night awards ceremony. Two separate juries worked on arguing through the feature choices (a third selected the best of the shorts programming) in what many patrons considered to be the best year ever for Festival Director and Programmer, Dr Dean Bertram, and his short film offsiders, brother Grant Bertram and Shane Kavanagh.

A NIGHT OF HORROR:

Scott Schirmer’s grotesquely compelling coming-of-age film, Found (pictured, above), divided audiences and judges alike yet emerged as the agreed-upon best of the A Night of Horror programming strand; the film’s young teen lead actor, Gavin Brown, was honoured with the Best Actor nod for his fearless portrayal of a good kid caught in a horrifying suburban predicament. Trista Robinson deaf good-girl-gone-bad from Paul Hough’s The Human Race took out Best Actress honours, while the Director award was split between the team of Justin Benson and Alan Moorehead, whose taut and terrifying buddy-monster movie Resolution played to a very enthusiastic audience on the festival’s final day.

Best Film: FOUND
Best Director: Justin Benson, Alan Moorehead (RESOLUTION)
Best Male Performance: Gavin Brown (FOUND)
Best Female Performance: Trista Robinson (THE HUMAN RACE)
Best Special Effects: THANATAMORPHOSE
Audience Choice Award: Best Australian short: P.O.V: POINT OF VIEW
Best Lovecraft: REFUGIO 115
Best Short Film: THE CAPTURED BIRD
Best Online Film: 2 HOURS
Independent Spirit Award: THE LONE WOLF
Music Video: TARNISHED GLUTTONY (Band: Job for a Cowboy)
Best Animation: BUTTERFLIES
A Night of Horror
Independent Spirit Award: THE TAKING
A Night of Horror Director's Choice: BUCK WILD

FANTASTIC PLANET:

The bloody, brilliant crowd-pleaser Mon Ami just pipped The Mansion and The History of Future Folk for Best Film honours in the Fantastic Planet field. The pros and cons of the front-runners were hotly debated (full disclosure – SCREEN-SPACE was one of the panel of three), with all titles in the schedule given due and detailed consideration. Andrew Robertson scored Best Director honours for his slow-burn apocalyptic thriller, The Mansion; the film’s lead actress, Amy Rutberg, came a close second to Australian actress Emma Lung, who took the Best Actress award for Crave. Mon Ami’s Mike Kovac (pictured, above) edged out Josh Lawson (Crave) and Jay Klaitz (The History of Future Folk) in the Best Actor category. So close was the judging in several categories that is was deemed only fair that John Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker’s The History of Future Folk be given a Special Mention nod.

Best Film: MON AMI
Best Director: Andrew Robertson - THE MANSION
Best Male Performance: Mike Kovac (MON AMI)
Best Female Performance: Emma Lung (CRAVE)
Best Special Effects: MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH
Audience Choice Award: Best Australian short (Fantastic Planet): WOLF AT THE DOOR
Best Short Film: LICHTJAHRE
Independent Spirit Award (Fantastic Planet): VENGEANCE DE LOS MUERTOS
Best Music Video: ELECTRIC LIGHT (Band: Muscle Hawk)
Best Animation: NIGHT ISLAND
Judges Special Mention:
THE HISTORY OF FUTURE FOLK
Fantastic Planet 
Independent Spirit Award: #WETANDRECKLESS
Fantastic Planet 
Director's Choice: A DARK MATTER

Australian director Danny McShane’s short FRIEND REQUEST was awarded the Short Judges Special Mention Award (watch a Making Of... featurette on the young director's slasher film homage here).

Visit here for all of SCREEN-SPACE's coverage of the 2013 event.

 

Monday
Feb252013

LIVE! THE SCREEN-SPACE 2013 OSCAR BLOG

Welcome to the first ever SCREEN-SPACE Academy Awards Blog. As the 85th ceremony unfolds under the guidance of director Don Mischer and host Seth MacFarlane at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, SCREEN-SPACE will follow all the winners, presenters and performers attending the film industry's biggest night of the year. Bookmark this page then watch our Twitter feed for Oscar updates as they happen.

  

LIVE FROM THE DOLBY THEATRE: LOS ANGELES 5.30pm PT.

Welcome everyone to the 2013 Oscars!

Seth McFarlane opens with a "Make Tommy Lee Jones laugh" gag. 

The traditional monologue so far very 'industry-centric' - profit/loss accounting joke, where's Jean Dujardin?. Usual nominee jokes, enlivened by Rhinna/Chris Brown shot, 'n-word' Django reference. Crowd not thrilled.

Nerds rejoice when William Shatner, in a pre-recorded piece, looks back at press coverage of MacFarlane's first gig - from the future. Cute idea; meagre pay-off. Leads to tacky 'Boobs' song, outlining films with topless actress; will play well with the 'Ted' audience. 

Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum class things up with old-school dance number; follow-up skit, 'Flight with sock puppets', funnier than it sounds. JGL and Harry Potter join MacFarlane for half-hearted soft-shoe number.

Sally Field proves a good sport, committing to pre-recorded 'Flying Nun' SNL-lite bit. Opening starting to feel long...

Lots of irony in final dance number, though understated and fun.

5:47pm - Octavia Spencer to announce Best Supporting Actor. 

WINNER - Christolph Waltz, Django Unchained.

Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy stumble through some good-on-paper schtick about animated voice work. Thought she'd offer up more... Nominees for Best Short Film.

WINNER - Paperman, John Kahrs

Segues quickly into Best Animated Feature Film nominess.

WINNER - Brave, Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman.

MacFarlane, after lame George Clooney gag, introduces The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner, Samuel Jackson, Chris Evans and Mark Rufalo to announce Cinematography award.

WINNER - Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi

6.10pm - Did these five rehearse at all? They look like they only just met, let alone star together in a blockbuster. Special FX Oscar goes to...

WINNER - Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott.

Fun idea to play off chatty acceptance speech with Jaws theme backfires when speech turns serious, imploring industry to embrace floundering FX houses such as Rhythm and Hues.

Channing Tatum and Jennifer Aniston, after awkward body-waxing routine, work through nominees for Costume Design.

WINNER - Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina. 

Good speech is a quick speech. Nominees for hair and make-up...

WINNER - Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell, Les Miserables.

6.20pm - Halle Berry introduces video tribute to 50 years of Bond. Grand entrance of Dame Shirley Bassey, belting out the iconic Goldfinger song. Show takes on old showbiz feel for first time, crowd responds. Appears the rumoured Bond reunion not a goer.

Some back-slapping for Oscars behind the scene gurus, then Django's married couple, Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington. Awkward banter (worse than usual award show presenter inanity, it must be said) leads to best live-action short film nominees.

WINNER - Curfew, Shawn Christensen.

Best Documentary Short nominees...

WINNER - Inocente, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine.

Emotional quartet of winners, including films subject, get audience sympathy and rousing response. 

Liam Neeson presents Best Film nominee clips for Argo, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty. MacFarlane dies with yet another 'Lincoln in a theatre' joke, but gets a murmur of giggles for Kardashian face-hair gag.

Ben Affleck introduces Best Documentary Feature contenders.

WINNER - Searching For Sugarman, Mallik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn.

Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain announce Best Foreign Film nominess; their presentation suitably respectful and refreshingly professional.

WINNER - Amour (Austria), Michael Haneke.

6.50pm - Acceptance speech refined, as expected. First glimpse of film's star, Emmanuelle Riva.

MacFarlane then chickens out, refusing to have a shot at well-publicised troubles faced by the next presenter, John Travolta. Star of Grease and Saturday Night Fever introduces vast musical number celebrating the genres impact on film. First up, Catherine Zeta-Jones recreating her Chicago showstopper, All That Jazz; next, Jennifer Hudson belts out her Dreamgirls hit, And I am Telling You; finally, the principal cast of Les Miserables (including Russell Crowe) stages One Day More. Highpoint of proceedings so far.

Star Trek's Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana recount their hosting gig at recent Scientific and Technical Oscars ceremony.

Mark Wahlberg and his Ted co-star, Ted, work the crowd with Hollywood sex-orgy routine ("It's at Jack Nicholson's house") before launching into Best Sound Mixing nominees.

WINNER - Les Miserables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes.

'Jews own Hollywood' schtick before Sound Editing nominees...which lead to VERY big surprise. A tie!

WINNERS - Paul NJ Ottoson for Zero Dark Thirty and Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers for Skyfall. 

MacFarlane follows up Ted's Jew joke with Nazi/The Sound of Music visual gag (he's tanking on a Letterman level). Christopher Plummer honours Best Supporting Actress nominees with heartfelt, erudite introduction.

WINNER - Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables.

Academy president Hop Koch (?) pre-sells soon-to-open AMPAS Museum and introduces 'trophy interns'. This is new. Sandra Bullock runs through Best Film Editing nominess...

WINNER - William Goldenberg, Argo.

Ahead of what is suring as an Oscar winner, Jennifer Lawrence introduces Adele and an extravagantly-staged rendition of her Skyfall theme. For not the first time, some audio problems rob the performer and the performance.

Nicole Kidman runs through last of the Best Film nominees, Silver Linings Playback, Django Unchained and Amour. Daniel Radcliffe and a hobbly Kristen Stewart speed through the Best Production Design nominees...

WINNER - Lincoln, Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Salma Hayek introduces the winners of the Governor's Awards, announced previously at a star-studded industry event - Hal Needham, George Stevens Jr., DA Pennebaker and Jean Herscholdt Award honouree, Jeffery Katzenberg.

8.00pm - George Clooney introduces the always popular, very moving In Memoriam sequence. The final image, of the late Marvin Hamlisch, is followed by Brabara Streisand, recalling their 'Memories' with a rendition of their classic song.

The cast of Chicago reunited for Best Musical Score award announcement.

WINNER - Life of Pi, Mychael Danna.

Rolling straight into Best Song category, the Chicago quartet introduce the remaining nominees from Les Miserables, Chasing Ice, Life of Pi and Ted (performed live by Norah Jones).

WINNER - Skyfall, Music and Lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth.

Dustin Hoffman, towered over by co-presenter Charlize Theron, review the origins of the Best Adapted Screenplay nominees.

WINNER - Argo, Chris Terrio.

Best Original Screenplay nominees...

WINNER - Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino. 

8.25PM - Tarantino shouts down orchestra to have his say on strength of writing amongst all 2013 nominees.

Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas, now apparently symbolic of the 'old Hollywood of the 80s' (jeez...), introduce Best Director nominees. 

WINNER - Life of Pi, Ang Lee.

The first truly surprising win of the night, reflected upon the faces of everyone at the Dolby Theatre. 'Thank you to the movie gods!," Lee exclaims. "Namaste."

Jean Dujardin gets all French on everyone, charming the crowd in advance of the Best Actress nominees. Little Q gets a big laugh with her muscle arms, before...

WINNER - Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook.

Meryl Streep takes the stage (with a minor wardrobe malfunction) to praise the Best Actor nominees.

WINNER - Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln.

8.48pm - Lewis gets the biggest laugh of the night, suggesting he swapped with Meryl Streep for the Lincoln role when he was cast as Margaret Thatcher. MacFarlane introduces Jack Nicholson for the nights final award, the Best Picture, who surprises all by throwing to the White House, where Michelle Obama delivers an 'artists are crucial to national health' speech. A first time event that represents a major coup for the Academy. She announces...

WINNER - Argo; Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers.

Lot of genuine emotion in Affleck's speech. MacFarlane insinuates there's more to come, which would break with tradition; no doubt, everyone just wants to go home, but MacFarlane is not going to let this audience go without further showmanship, for want of a better term. (Australian audiences will never know - local broadcaster leaves feed before we can find out.)

Thanks for joining SCREEN-SPACE for our Oscars 2013 coverage.  

 

Monday
Jan282013

OBITUARY: PATRICIA LOVELL

The international film community is mourning the loss of Australian producer Patricia ‘Pat’ Lovell, who passed away Sunday at her home on Sydney’s northern beaches with her children by her side after a long battle with liver cancer. She was 83.

Lovell parlayed a successful career before the cameras in the early days of Australian television into an internationally recognised role as one of Australia’s most successful film producers.

Having endured an arduous childhood that saw her experience the deaths of several of her siblings and the subsequent divorce of her parents, Lovell discovered the magic of the cinema during term-breaks while attending private school in the central-west town of Armidale. Citing the French classics Les Enfants du Paradis and Le Belle et le Bete as her earliest influences, she was soon expressing her own creativity as an on-screen presenter for the children’s programming division of the national broadcaster, ABC.

It was here that she would create one of Australian televisions most iconic TV pairings, as ‘Miss Pat’ opposite the marionette ‘Mr Squiggle’, a role she played for 15 years (pictured, top). Other jobs included panellist duties as one of the original ‘beauties’ on the hugely successful advice-format panel show, Beauty and The Beast and a six year stint as host of the morning talk-show, Sydney Today.

By the mid 1970s, the well-educated Lovell sought to broaden her industry role. In 1973, she produced the controversial TV doco Monster or Miracle?, a critical assessment of the Sydney Opera House. She established contact with legendary Australian film pioneer Ken G Hall, who would become her mentor. Most importantly, she introduced herself to a young film director named Peter Weir, whose 1971 short film Homesdale had left a lasting impression. Lovell seized upon the opportunity to work with the like-minded Weir and produce an adaptation of one of her favourite works of Australian fiction, Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock.

The film would be an international sensation, become the flagbearer for a period of film production known as ‘Australia’s Film Renaissance’ and remains to this day one of the most successful local productions of all time. Lovell teamed with director Ken Hannam for her follow-up films, the chamber piece Break of Day (1976) and the contemporary thriller Summerfield (1977), before reuniting with Weir to produce the breakout blockbuster, Gallipoli (1979). The first local production to secure a studio distribution deal in the US, it would set star Mel Gibson on course to global fame and ensure Weir (pictured, right, with his 1981 AFI Best Directing award) became one of the world’s most in-demand filmmakers.

Lovell did not follow her film to Hollywood, instead producing Ken Cameron’s version of Helen Garner’s dark, autobiographical novel Monkey Grip (1981), a troubled production that put her in hospital having suffered a nervous breakdown (a period she reflected upon in the 2004 short documentary, Aqua Profonda, which chronicles the making of the film). She would produce only two more works, the 1987 telemovie The Perfectionist (a collaboration with her long time friend, playwrite David Williamson), as well as Trevor Graham’s opera expose Tosca: A Tale of Love and Torture (2000).

Some of her most influential years in the Australian film industry were as Head of Producing Studies at The Australian Film, Television and Radio School, a role she undertook from 1996 to 2003. A holder of both an MBE ann AM for services to the film industry and recipient of the AFI Raymond Longford Award (2004) and National Film and Sound Archive’s Ken G Hall Film Preservation Award (2010), Lovell’s contribution to the stature of the Australian film industry on the world stage is immeasurable.