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 Chinese 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 Graphic Novel 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


US exhibitors had no faith in a campy space opera from an untested director, so they booked the gritty action epic Sorcerer into their theatres a week after Star Wars launched. Ten days later, William Friedkin’s expensive reworking of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear had vanished and a new Hollywood mentality had been born. With a remastered version of his film debuting at the Venice Film Festival this week, the director of The French Connection and The Exorcist has been very vocal about the monumental flop that he considers his crowning achievement.

The Venice Film Festival has been kind to William Friedkin (pictured, above), the 78 year-old Chicago native who won the Best Director Oscar for The French Connection (1971) then would make the film many consider the greatest horror movie of all time, The Exorcist (1973). Most recently, he secured the Italian festival’s Best Directing honours for his Matthew McConnaughey vehicle, Killing Joe (2011).

The acclaim reaches its zenith in 2013, with the Festival organisers voting to award Friedkin the prestigious Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement award. Alberto Barbera (pictured, left), the Festival’s Director, stated in his submission to the Biennale Board of Directors, “William Friedkin has contributed in a prominent way – the revolutionary impact of which has not always been recognized – to the profound renewal of American cinema regarded as ‘the New Hollywood’.”

“[The award] was very unexpected, I must say, and I'll tell you what makes it even more so," Friedkin told the Los Angeles Times earlier this week. "When Venice started the lifetime achievement award in 1970, the first guy to win it was Orson Welles, whose Citizen Kane made me want to direct movies. And when the festival started up again in the late 1940s after World War II, the first guy to win the Golden Lion was Henri-Georges Clouzot for Wages of Fear. It's all kind of a circle and I'm kind of overwhelmed to get the award."

The significance of French auteur Clouzot’s masterpiece is profound. To accompany his honour, Friedkin’s all-but-forgotten passion project, Sorcerer (1977), the English/Spanish remake of Clouzot’s influential work, will be relaunched in a fully-restored version in Venice. In technical speak, the 4k film resolution scan of the original 35mm camera negative will ensure the film is viewed with greater clarity than its original release print.

The initial failure of Friedkin’s opus hurt everybody. By mid-1970’s standards, its US$22million budget was exorbitant, but Friedkin had delivered two ground-breaking blockbusters and could write his own ticket. The film’s US$12million box-office take proved crippling; the slow-expansion release pattern that distributor 20th Century Fox had planned was shelved when George Lucas’ Star Wars commanded every screen available. “The zeitgeist had changed by the time [Sorcerer] came out," Friedkin told The earlier this year.

Star Roy Scheider (pictured, right) bounced back by reprising the role of Chief Brody in Jaws 2 and getting Oscar-nominated for All That Jazz in 1979, but it was tougher for Friedkin. His controversial procedural Cruising, with Al Pacino as an undercover cop in the S&M gay nightclub scene, earned more headlines than dollars. Everything he lensed for the next decade (Deal of the Century, 1983; To Live and Die in LA, 1985; The Guardian, 1990; Blue Chips, 1994; Jade, 1995) tanked.

He recently confided to the Venice Film Festival website, “I consider Sorcerer my most personal film and the most difficult to achieve. To realize that it’s going to have a new life in cinema is something for which I’m deeply grateful. To have its world premiere at the Venice Festival is something I look forward to with great joy. It is truly a Lazarus moment.”

Sorcerer (so named after the truck that is central to film’s narrative journey) will move from its Venice berth into an arthouse release pattern before a new life in its restored form on Blu-ray. The rebirth of his most cherished project could not come sooner for the ageing auteur. “Sorcerer is the film that came closest to my vision of what I wanted to make,” he told the LA Times. “I have a great fondness for Sorcerer, more than any other film. It's the film I hope to be remembered for."



Mankind’s first sharks-in-a-tornado film, Sharknado, has a confirmed Australian cinema release. An internet sensation reflecting the hysteria that the Snakes on a Plane marketing team only ever dreamt of, Anthony C Ferrante’s basic-cable network feature debut (!) has entered the pop-culture subconscious. But, as reflected upon by SCREEN-SPACE below (yes, we sat through its recent pay-TV premiere so that you didn’t have to)….well, it’s a little bit silly….

The Opening Bit…
The ne’er-do-well fishing boat captain Carlos Santiago (Israel Saez de Miguel), like 'Quint' from Jaws crossed with Ledger's Joker (how does such a murderously ruthless young man take command of a commercial fishing vessel?) faces off against a suit-wearing Asian yuppie called Palmer (Marcus Choi) over the boats shark-fin haul. Shouldn’t the details of their deal have been finalised back on shore? What the scene does do is set up a film that addresses the brutal, shameless act of commercial finning. I look forward to that film….

Jaason Simmons…
The man of a thousand vowels (pictured, right) went on a spiritual journey after he left his co-starring role in the phenomenon that was Baywatch. He lived a rural existence far from Hollywood which helped him with personal issues (he came out as proudly gay in 2008) and subsequent professional growth (he has starred on London’s West End and in an Australian play by respected actor/writer, Jeremy Sims). With Sharknado, he has come full circle; he plays one of the most grotesquely blokish Australian surfie stereotypes in a performance that is excrutiating to watch yet deceptively awesome.

Weather and the Physics of Nature…
As the titular front bears down upon the Californian coastline, the intermingling of stock footage and lead actors is bewildering. Swirling black clouds and surging waves cross-cut between blue skies and a gentle rolling surf. Mid-film, the hillside home of leading lady Tara Reid (more on her later) is flooded, the water failing to drain away resulting in a bloody shark pool of gravity-defying sea-water that blocks the heroes escape.

The ‘Fish Out of Water’ Conundrum…
Sharks need water to breath. Sharks in tornadoes are caught in a maelstrom of oxygen and its various gaseous elements. These sharks would not fly around for an hour or so and then eat people. These sharks would die.

Helicopters and Tornadoes…
Tornado strength winds rotate at between 100 mph and 300 mph. In a key climatic moment, heroes Cassie Scerbo (pictured, left) and Chuck Hittinger pilot a two-person helicopter into the outer rim of the sharknado to release an explosive device that will dissipate the gale force winds (a different but equally contentious field of science). Spoiler alert – they (mostly) survive; super-spoiler alert – this action is, of course, impossible.

Old People Swimming…
Our heroes flee to a retirement village situated in the hills above Los Angeles. Here, despite the Downtown death and destruction that is unfolding in full view, the residents are taking a soothing dip in the village pool. It takes the thrashing of a group of sharks that have landed in the pool due to the storm to get the final two bathers out. Old people are idiots.

That Kiss…
Having extricated himself from the acidic stomach of a great white shark, uber-hero Fin (Ian Ziering), splattered head-to-toe in shark goo, plants a big one on his ex, April (Tara Reid; more on her later). The actress does not even wait for the director to yell cut before she pulls away, wipes her mouth and laughs.

Tara Reid…
Tara Reid (pictured, below).

The Nod to Classic European Cinema…
As the action fades to black, a single-word title card fades in – ‘Fin’. It is the hero’s name, of course, but its origins stem from the cinema of Ingmar Bergman and Jean-Luc Godard. As of 2013, it is now also seen in Sharknado.

(Editor’s note – Credit where credit is due. Ian Ziering, who appears to be fully aware of the legacy he is creating, gives all of himself in the lead role and should be credited, along with director Anthony C Ferrante’s grasp of tongue-in-cheek terror, for helping to craft a modern bad movie classic. I really enjoyed this film).



On October 11, 2013, Jonathan Levine’s moody teen horror film All The Boys Love Mandy Lane will premiere in US cinemas – seven years after it was first screened. Starring Amber Heard (pictured, below), the film earned late-night slots and solid reviews at leading festivals such as South by SouthWest, Sitges, Toronto and Frightfest, before becoming mired in distributor chaos. It was one of the most well-known of the many unreleased films that clog studio vaults, bolster lawyer bank accounts and frustrate the talent involved. With …Mandy Lane finally finding multiplex love, SCREEN-SPACE looks at four other unreleased film projects now vying for her crown…

At Comic-Con 2011, nerd-buzz soared when director Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2: Dead End) introduced footage from his LARP-inspired fantasy comedy. Featuring a cast of geek-friendly names (Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten, Community’s Danny Pudi, Firefly’s Summer Glau) and some top-tier effects work, the independent film was being produced North by Northwest Pictures, though no distribution pact was in place. The Knights of Badassdom fell of everyone’s radar until March 2013, when a principal at an operation called IndieVest by the name of Wade Bradley announced that a recut version would screen in Hollywood for potential investors. Lynch distanced himself from Bradley’s version which, reported website Dread Central, allegedly ran 70 minutes and differed greatly from the 2011 version. Adding further insult, it was revealed that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority was pursuing disciplinary action against Bradley for monies sought to help finance post-production on …Badassdom, funds that were never presented to the producers or Lynch.
WILL WE EVER SEE IT? Appears unlikely that Joe Lynch’s version that wowed Comic-Con audiences will ever be re-assembled; Wade Bradley has stated the film will get a theatrical run, though no release date has been confirmed.

It was late in 2006 when filmmaker Patrick Read Johnson, with the cult item Spaced Invaders and the Home Alone clone Baby’s Day Out to his credit, grasped the opportunity to make his pet project - an autobiographical tale of a mid-West teenager whose life is changed when he attends the very first screening of Star Wars (the project’s numerical title reflects the day George Lucas’ space saga ‘went wide’). As shooting neared completion, and with the weight of the William Morris Agency and uber-producer Cassian Elwes attached, the global economy collapsed and hundreds of ‘little films’ like 5-25-77 were jettisoned. In the five years since that fateful time, Johnson has been striving to get his lovechild into the marketplace by any means necessary. He recently travelled the length and breadth of the US, screening the work-in-progress as part of his ‘Hearts of Dorkness’ tour (accompanied by a documentary crew); Toronto International Film Festival 2012 welcomed the director and his film into their ‘Next Wave’ strand.
WILL WE EVER SEE IT? The film has attained its own mythology over the years and a smart indie production/distribution outfit would be wise to play on that; Johnson seems to be in for the long haul.

Back in 2004, before she became Star Trek’s Uhuru or Avatar’s Neytiri, 25 year-old starlet Zoe Saldana was making a name for herself with support roles in Centre Stage, Crossroads and Drumline. This was all set to change when she was cast in the ambitious musical Temptation, a modern rock-opera interpretation of the Faust legend set against the nightclub culture of a new millennium New York City. Nearly a decade before Les Miserables producers boasted of their on-set cast recordings, director Mark Tarlov miked his actors and recorded the entire score live; amongst an ensemble of Broadway veterans, Saldana (pictured, right; with co-star Orfeh) proved a revelation. Said Tarlov, “We set about to create a piece featuring people setting out in life, this age group I'm talking about, all striving and all trying to decide what they want and how to get it.” But the dreams of all involved were soon dashed. Following a single screening at the 2005 New York Musical Festival, Temptation all but vanished, never to see the inside of a theatre or DVD case to this day.

Writer Mars Callahan set out to craft a loving homage to the bawdy teen comedies of the 80’s when he began shooting Spring Break ‘83 (alongside co-director Scott Spiegel) in Louisiana in late 2007. With then-bankable stars Jamie Kennedy (as Ballzack) and John Goodman (as Dick Bender) toplining, Callahan and Spielgel filled their cast with such forgotten 80s icons as Lee Majors, Morgan Fairchild, Adrien Zmed, Joe Piscopo, Erik Estrada and MTV V-jay ‘Downtown’ Julie Brown (as well as then It-girl, Aussie bombshell Sophie Monk). But as filming neared completion, Callahan’s production outfit Big Sky Motion Pictures began to bounce payday cheques; cast and crew complained to Union officials who investigated and soon detailed grievances were filed with the courts. Shooting was shut down. Then, in January 2009, Mars Callahan and his Big Sky team hosted a party in Park City, Utah (pictured, below; the events online invitation), as the Sundance Film Festival was in full swing, during which they premiered a teaser trailer for Spring Break ’83.

This led to a schedule of pick-up shots in Los Angeles in March of that year and an online announcement in December which promised that “the directors edit of Spring Break '83 is now locked and the completion of the post production phase is coming soon” and “an official release…is targeted for early Spring 2010.”
WILL WE EVER SEE IT? Not theatrically. If there is a finished product, it will most likely be spruiked in the back rooms of the American Film Market and bundled into a home vid/cable package for unsuspecting international buyers. 



Now in its 16th year, Revelation Perth International Film Festival proved once again that its film selections and panel chats are often not for the faint-hearted.

Distinguishing itself from the festival roster of the eastern capitals with a fearless adherence to edgier fare, the programming division, led by Festival Director Jack Sargeant, demonstrated that it is well and truly in touch with the cutting-edge of international independent film-making and avant-garde creativity.

As the heady celebration winds down, SCREEN-SPACE looks back at the key moments from the last week and a half, hoping that you may draw some sense of what it’s like to experience challenging, often disturbing, but always entertaining film culture in Australia’s most remote capital city.   

Multi-media artist Lawrence English (pictured, right) brought his acclaimed vision of an apocalyptic dreamscape to the Buratti Fine Art Gallery in North Fremantle for the final weekend of Revelations. It is an extraordinary blend of sound and light, combining with abstract film content to create a non-linear narrative that draws the viewer hypnotically. Afforded a public space, the collective experience of those that viewed it was spellbinding, confusing and challenging.

Already a sensation in the UK, the prolific Ben Wheatley (Kill List; Sightseers) passionately divided audiences with his monochromatic, psychedelic, old-English horror head-scratcher, A Field in England. Filled with sly humour and graphic violence, this brazen and bold (or indulgent and incoherent, if you prefer) low-budget work was England’s first multi-platform day-&-date release, ensuring lots of publicity that a film so determinedly un-commercial may not have otherwise garnered. The Luna Cinema bar was buzzing with debate after this screened.

The organising committee secured some stellar guests for the 2013 event. Brenna Sanchez and Tom Putnam accompanied their film Burn, which opened the festival; Surkhaab star Barkha Madan, recently ordained as a Buddhist monk; and, Perth-based, Canadian-born filmmaker Lee Chambers. None were more gracious of their time and talent than British actress Alice Krige (Chariots of Fire; Star Trek Nemesis), star of the stunning Jail Caesar!, who accompanied the film’s director Paul Schoolman and spoke at length with local film journalist Travis Johnson in one of the Festival’s most enlightening and enjoyable Q&A sessions.

From the 11 day screening schedule, it is near impossible to settle on a film that most impacted festival audiences. The Fifth Season and The Deep were stunning visions that played well; Pictures of Superheroes announced Don Swaynos as a talent to watch; titles that had premiered in Australia prior to Perth (The Act of Killing; I Am Divine; Cheap Thrills; A Monster In Paris; The Human Scale) continued their passage of good will. But our ‘Best of the Fest’ was festival attendee Zach Clark’s White Reindeer (pictured, left), a stunning Christmas-themed journey through grief and redemption that proved mesmerising (and, Oz distributors, thoroughly deserving of a wider art-house season).

Revelations introduced this two-day industry panel event, held at the Rydges Hotel in the Perth city centre. Festival guests and leading national and international academics discussed and debated the latest trends in distribution and exhibition, genre depiction, gender representation, new international cinema voices and many other aspects of screen culture. The cosy environment ensured discussion was intimate and frank; expect the seating capacity to be revised up in 2014.

Jack Sargeant and Richard Wolstencroft are two peas in an alternative universe pod, with a long history as two of Australia’s most vociferous film identities. It is no surprise that Wolstonecroft’s frank porn-industry doco should have its World Premiere at Revelations. A cold, wet Monday night slot kept audience numbers down, but all attendees were riveted by the story of Michael Tierney, aka porn icon Joe Blow; the reception suggests a long life for the film, which was three years in the making. Never a festival to ignore depictions of frank sexuality, also on Revelations roster was the James Franco/Travis Maxwell oddity Interior Leather Bar and Beth B.'s Burlesque documentary Exposed.
(Note - some trailer content NSFW)

At the height of their shared celebrity, Italian electro-pop outfit Goblin and giallo maestro Dario Argento combined their talents to craft what has become a landmark score for the 1977 horror classic, Suspiria. Revelations scored a major coup when it was announced the band would provide a live soundtrack for screenings of the film. The result? With the film projected in HD in its full aspect ratio, the ageing rockers, under the guidance of keyboardist Claudio Simonetti, proved to be as vital and captivating as they were 36 years ago. (pictured, right: the band visiting Perth Zoo)

Of the 18 short films officially selected, eight were world premieres and seven screened for the first time on Australian soil. Amongst them, exciting new works from local directors Julietta Boscolo (Sam’s Gold), Shaun Burke (Weathered), Markus Hermansen (The Mailman) and Kyle Hedrick (The Boat). The festival’s standing as a global event was evident in the countries represented across the shorts strand – in addition to the local content, productions were selected from USA, UK, China, Denmark, Canada, France and The Russian Federation. The Animation and Experimental short film strands were also sold-out events.

Traditionally one of the most popular nights at past Revelations, the Revel8 Competition asks filmmakers to craft a 3½ minute in-camera work; composers are given the task of scoring the film without meeting the director; and, audience members vote by cheering the loudest. With the theme this year being ‘Phobia’, there was barely a silent moment during the closing night event. Which is exactly how it should be.

Screen-Space was a guest of the Revelations Perth International Film Festival from July 8 to July 11.



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….

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 .

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.

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.

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…?

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.

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.

‘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.

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.

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.