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Wednesday
Aug072019

NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND: FIVE TO BOOK FIRST FROM SUFF 2019

The Sydney Underground Film Festival enters its teenage phase; the 13th annual festival of warped, wicked celluloid is set to unnerve and entertain from September 12-15. The tone is set from Session 1, with ageing enfant terrible Harmony Korinne’s raucous celebration of self-medication The Beach Bum, starring Matthew McConnaughey-hey-hey, set to open the festivities, complete with skank-scented smoke machines (yeah, that’s right). There is a myriad of alternative content on offer - 23 narrative features, 12 documentaries and 45 short films, as well as strands dedicated Virtual Reality, Nigerian cinema and splendidly splattery no-budget effects wizardry.

But if you need your mind quickly blown, just where should you focus your secret, sordid cravings for the offbeat and unusual? SCREEN-SPACE zeroed in on five features from the 2019 SUFF line-up that may satiate those urges, for a while at least…

BRAID (Dir. Mitzi Peirone | 82mins | USA)
Program Prose: A candy-coloured, hallucinogen-fueled lunacy binge, (debut director Mitzi perone) makes one hell of a first impression, applying
a dizzying sense of dream logic and an uncompromisingly feminist edge to a Gothic, almost fairy tale-like psychological horror.
Critical Condition: “What sort of mind would concoct something this peculiar and undeniably personal, and fill it with gaslighting, torment, torture, disfigurement, murder, slapstick, and scenes of adults playing dress-up like kids? I came away feeling that I'd seen, if not a major film, then a film by major talents.” – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
Screen-Space thinking…: Buzz is this is a stylistic companion piece to Anna Biller’s The Love Witch, with narrative echoes of The Killing of Sister George and Daughters of Darkness. Tick, tick and tick…

Mope Trailer from LUCAS HEYNE on Vimeo.

MOPE (Dir. Lucas Heyne | 105mins | USA)
Program Prose: In the world of pornography,
the term ‘mope’ refers to a low-level, wannabe porn actor who perhaps isn’t quite well endowed or attractive enough to achieve the success granted to “bigger”-name porn stars…Heyne crawls right under the skin of this grimy landscape, crafting a melancholy portrait of two misguided souls seeking love and acceptance, just like the rest of us.
Critical Condition: “Mope is a ballsy movie.” – Kyle Brunet, Boston Hassle
Screen-Space thinking…: Full disclosure – pornography and the machinations that produces it hold an ugly allure; it is why I am drawn over and over to not only Boogie Nights, but also sad, sickly tales like Auto Focus, Lovelace, Inserts and Wonderland. Critics are citing the very human connection that Heyne draws from his characters, which is something new for this sub-genre…. 

GREENER GRASS (Dir. Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe | 95mins | USA)
Program Prose: Eschewing all decorum and boundaries, Greener Grass mercilessly shreds all the institutions western society holds dear… this deranged lovechild of John Waters and Tim & Eric grows more inappropriate, unhinged, and surreal by the frame.
Critical Condition: “It’s basically the best ‘Saturday Night Live’ movie that Saturday Night Live never made, and if Lorne Michaels were half the talent scout we believe, he’d hire both DeBoer and Luebbe on the spot.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
Screen-Space thinking…: Skewering the faux morality and middle-class nightmare that is American suburbia is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but when the filmmakers go for broke and the satire is razor-sharp, film classics are born (Blue Velvet; American Beauty; The Graduate). Fingers-crossed…

THE WOLF HOUSE (Dir. Joaquín Cociña, Cristóbal León| 75mins | Chile)
Program Prose: Inspired by the infamous Colonia Dignidad, a German commune that doubled as a clandestine torture camp under Augusto Pinochet, The Wolf House distils the horrors of history into a hellish folktale… a dark, compelling, enigmatic puzzle box of a film that will continue to burrow deep into your subconscious long after the credits roll.
Critical Condition: “Sometimes reminiscent of an Eraserhead-style Lynchian nightmare turned into sculpture, paintings and stop-motion, beasts become human, a body forms out of a head like something out of science fiction, and inside every constrained girl is an eager bird desperate to fly free.” – Sarah Ward, Screen Daily
Screen-Space thinking…: The burning passion for ground-breaking animated storytelling that defines the brilliant career of Jan Svankmajer is a clear influence. Good enough for us…

USE ME (Dir. Julian Shaw | 91mins | Australia)
Program Prose: Australian filmmaker Julian Shaw (as himself) travels to the United States to direct a documentary featuring ‘mental humiliatrix’ Ceara Lynch (as herself)… what was meant to
 be entertainment becomes a matter of life and death.
Critical Condition: “A sort of post-truth thriller which feels deeply era appropriate and cleverly engages with its subject matter.” – Anthony O’Connor, FilmInk.
Screen-Space thinking…: Shaw has demonstrated with his past docos (Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story, 2007; Cup of Dreams, 2011) that he’s a deft hand at first-person factual filmmaking. He inserts himself into the narrative he constructs about his real-life subject, which is creatively fraught with risk, yet finds unexpected insight and honesty. He makes really interesting films…

The 2019 Sydney Underground Film Festival will be held at The Factory Theatre, Marrickville from September 12-15. Session and ticket information is at the event's official website.

Thursday
Jul182019

FIVE OF THE BEST FROM MELBOURNE DOC FEST

If you have left decision-making about your yearly documentary indulgence until the eve of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, the 12-day program may seem daunting, even insurmountable. You might be drawn to the star power (look closely and you’ll find the likes of Alicia Vikander, Willem Dafoe, Francis Ford Coppola.…Jim Belushi); or, the stunning locations (on July 20 alone, you can bound from South Australia to Chile to West Africa to The Bahamas to N.Y.C.); or, the cool music (seat-groove to Tommy Emmanuel, The Sonics, Teddy Pendergrass or KISS, amongst many others).

SCREEN-SPACE Editor Simon Foster, who will be fronting a full first-weekend of panels and QAs, has deep-dived into the 2019 line-up and surfaced with five films that ought not fly under anyone’s radar, just due to the sheer number of great factual films on offer. (All films screen at Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon St., Carlton)  

RIGHT TO HARM (Dirs: Annie Speicher, Matt Wechsler; 88 mins, U.S.A.)
FROM THE PROGRAM: Exposes the devastating public health impact that factory farming has on many of America’s most disadvantaged citizens. Known formally as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations - or CAFOs - these facilities produce millions of gallons of untreated waste that destroys the quality of life for nearby neighbors. Fed up with the lack of regulation, these citizens turned activists band together from across the country to demand justice.
SCREEN-SPACE says: The ‘Capitalism Killing The Heart of America’ doco is now its own sub-genre/artform, so vast and heartless is the insidious grip of Big Business. Gasland Parts 1 (2010) & 2 (2013); If a Tree Falls (2011); Food Inc (2008) – just a few of the thoroughly researched, acutely executed investigative works that expose the corporate bloody-mindedness and political profiteering choking The American Dream. This year, that film is Right to Harm, which reveals the horrendous industrial farming practices of ‘Big Ag’ and the elected bureaucrats who back industry over voters. 
WHEN: July 28 at 4.15pm.

ADOPTION PENDING (Dir: Liam Fouracre; 10 mins, Australia)
FROM THE PROGRAM: Adoption Pending is the story of George, a 2 year old staffy cross husky, who is surrendered to an adoption home. George struggles to adapt to the new environment, showing signs of stress and separation anxiety. and must pass a behavioural test with other dogs to determine whether he needs training and treatment. What follows is an emotionally compelling experience into a dog's journey toward a new start to life.
SCREEN-SPACE says: A ‘flea on the wall’ glimpse at the anxiety experienced by a fit, fun young fella just desperate to be loved (Ed: this sounds very relatable). Fouracre captures the heartbreak, daily disappointment and – spoiler alert! – pure exhilaration of life as a dog on the fringe. Impossible to not be affected by this simple, sweet dog’s tale; might even crack a tear of joy from cat-lovers.
WHEN: July 21 from 11.00am.

UNCAGED: A STAND-IN STORY (Dirs: Blake Johnston, Kelso Steinhof; 11 mins, U.S.A.)
FROM THE PROGRAM: Marco Kyris worked as Nic Cage’s stand-in for a decade on 20 films on everything from Cage’s break out role in Leaving Las Vegas to the blockbuster franchise National Treasure. In Uncaged: A Stand-in Story, Marco talks about his early life as an actor, his journey into the entourage of Nic Cage, and what it was like working in the shadow for one of Hollywood’s Legends of Cinema.
SCREEN-SPACE says: Affords the serious film buff some all-too-rare insight into a Hollywood fringe player’s journey on the inside. An engaging and likably self-effacing presence, Kyris puts on a brave face recounting the career he never quite had and positively beams when recounting his two decades as Cage’s stand-in. One hopes Blake Johnston’s and Kelso Steinhof’s respectful portrait of ambition unresolved finally makes a star out the man; he’s earned it.    
WHEN: July 19 from 11.00pm.

SILENT FORESTS (Dir: Mariah Wilson; 108 ins, U.S.A./Cameroon/D.R.C.)
FROM THE PROGRAM: An intimate, character-driven portrait of conservationists and activists who are struggling to stop forest elephant poaching in Africa's Congo Basin region. As passionate and tenacious as these conservationists are, they are up against huge institutional challenges like corruption and lack of funding that threaten to derail all their attempts to fight for the future of the forest elephant.
SCREEN-SPACE says: Casts an understated yet heroic glow over the people fighting elephant poaching at the forefront - one of Cameroon’s first female eco-guards, a grassroots wildlife law enforcement group, a Congolese biologist studying elephant behavior, a reformed elephant poacher, and a team of anti-poaching sniffer dogs led by a Czech conservationist. Tempers one’s feelings of anger and injustice with a sense of hope that the people of the region are up for the fight.
WHEN: July 21 at 4.15pm.

ACCIDENTAL CLIMBER (Dir: Steven Oritt; 67 mins, U.S.A)
FROM THE PROGRAM: Jim Geiger, a retired forest ranger and amateur mountaineer, attempts to become the oldest American and first great grandfather to summit Mt. Everest, aged 68. His transformation from a weekend hiker to attempting one of the most extreme and physically demanding feats known to man is driven by a desire to prove that age is just a number. What ensued, however, forever changed Jim's life.
SCREEN-SPACE says: In telling Geiger’s remarkable story, Oritt affords Chomolungma the awe and respect that has been missing from recent developments regarding the mountain’s exploitation. Geiger’s focussed and driven everyman has his priorities sharply refocussed when challenged by Everest, which is exactly how the story of one man’s story set against such magnificent nature should play out. Once in Nepal, covers similar ground to Jennifer Peedom’s 2015 film Sherpa (the Australian director can be glimpsed in one scene).
WHEN: July 27 from 11.00am.

THE 2019 MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL runs July 19-30. Full session and ticketing information can be found at the event's official website.

Wednesday
Jul032019

EIGHTIES CLASSICS FROM SYNTH GODS TANGERINE DREAM SET FOR SYDNEY RETRO-SEASON

More than three decades after collaborating with the great cinematic visionaries of the day, the film music of Tangerine Dream has taken on a unique and vivid lustre. With a new generation of film lovers bringing a fresh perspective to ‘80s movies, the now iconic work of the German synth pioneers is being more fully appreciated. Not a moment too soon for David Michael Brown, author of the soon-to-be-published ‘Wavelength: The Film Music of Tangerine Dream’. One of Australia’s most respected film journalists, Brown will present a seven-part screening series of the band’s most celebrated works – Thief (1981), Risky Business (1983), Next of Kin (1982), Near Dark (1987), Miracle Mile (1988), Dead Kids (1981) and Legend (1985). “They created a distinct style that everyone copied,” Brown told SCREEN-SPACE, ahead of the retrospective, which unfurls from July 5 at Palace Cinema’s Park Mall Central multiplex…

SCREEN-SPACE: What is unique about the contribution that Tangerine Dream made, and continues to make, to cinema?

BROWN (pictured, below): Despite starting life as a psychedelic prog rock band in the late Sixties and creating a name for themselves expanding audience’s musical minds in the Seventies introducing sequencers and synthesizers to their ambient soundscapes, it was the band’s film soundtracks of the Eighties that many know them for. Their scores became the soundtrack to the decade that taste forgot but genre cinema embraced. For films like Mark L. Lester’s Firestarter (1984), Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark and Ridley Scott’s Legend; the German electronic music pioneers composed soundtracks that were instantly recognisable as their own.

John Carpenter often cites Tangerine Dream’s score for William Friedkin’s Sorcerer (1977) as a major influence on his seminal soundtrack work. And now their sound is returning. With electronic music de rigueur again in genre television and cinema thanks to the work of Le Matos, Cliff Martinez, M83 and Survive. All have claimed Tangerine Dream were an influence. The Netflix show Stranger Things and the Black Mirror choose-you-own adventure episode Bandersnatch, in particular, have championed the band bringing their music to a modern audience.

SCREEN-SPACE: What do the seven films represent to fans of Tangerine Dreams’s film music?

BROWN: All the films screening are highpoints in the band’s film career. When speaking to the various filmmakers the band worked with in the Eighties, Thief, along with Sorcerer, were often cited as the reason they wanted to work with Tangerine Dream. Risky Business saw the band’s music, in particular the track “Love On A Real Train”, hit the mainstream while Dead Kids is one of those low-budget, obscure little gems that Tangerine Dream’s enigmatic front man Edgar Froese seemed to delight in working on. The vampire western Near Dark and Steve De Jarnatt’s apocalyptic rom-bomb Miracle Mile, both featuring Paul Haslinger (composer on the Underworld series) in the line-up, are just brilliant films that demand to be seen on the big screen.

Ridley Scott’s Legend has a fascinating backstory. Gerry Goldsmith had originally provided the score to the Alien (1979) director’s epic fantasy film but after a less than spectacular debut in London, Universal president Sid Sheinberg “suggested” that Scott re-edit the film – bringing Tim Curry’s delightfully demonic Darkness to the beginning of the film for impatient American audiences, and replacing the classic orchestral score with a sonic contribution that would appeal to a younger audience. Step in Tangerine Dream, along with Roxy Music main man Bryan Ferry and Yes prog rocker Jon Anderson who provided two songs.

The creepy Ozploitation classic Next Of Kin, one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite Aussie flicks, does not feature a Tangerine Dream score as such but it it is adorned with a ominous atmospheric soundtrack by Klaus Schulze, ex-drummer of a very early incarnation of the band.

SCREEN-SPACE: The films in the line-up are all distinctive visual works from idiosyncratic directors; how influential do you understand Tangerine Dream were in the collaborative creative process?

BROWN: Many of the directors travelled to Berlin to work with the band but every soundtrack has a very different story.  For example Paul Brickman, the director of Risky Business, told me that he first sent the band a rough cut of the film to work on and the resulting score totally missed the point. Something was lost in translation. So he, along with producer Jon Avnet and sound editor Curt Sobel, spent 10 days in the German city visiting their studio in Spandau. The filmmakers then worked with the band members at the time, Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke and Johannes Schmoelling, collaborating and experimenting together on what became one of their most popular works. In other instances, like Firestarter and Sorcerer, the band provided non-scene specific music, which the filmmakers then decided where to place. (Pictured, above; Tangerine Dream frontman Edgar Froese, left, with Ridley Scott during the scoring of Legend) 

SCREEN-SPACE: Is there any news on whether the Michael Mann film The Keep, featuring a rarely heard Tangerine Dream score, will ever resurface?

BROWN: The perennial The Keep question (laughs). The last time Michael Mann’s 1983 creepy Nazi horror film surfaced for public consumption was back in the days of laser disc. Since then the film, and the band’s soundtrack have been bogged down in legal disputes. In terms of the film, Mann, who was not a fan of the source novel, is also not happy with the theatrical release of his adaptation and rarely ever talks about his experiences. His first two hour cut was butchered by Paramount after disastrous test screenings but it seems unlikely he will revisit the project. Many now blame soundtrack rights for the film’s disappearance off the shelves and the fact that the soundtrack has not been available, apart from a couple of very limited official releases and a plethora of bootlegs, certainly lends credence to this. The bottom line… don’t hold your breath. (Pictured, above; Michael Mann with Christopher Franke, Edgar Froese and Johannes Schmoellinge on the set of The Keep. © Monique Froese, 1982)

DAVID MICHAEL BROWN is currently writing WAVELENGTH: THE FILM MUSIC OF TANGERINE DREAM for Bear Manor Press.

The FILM CLUB – TANGERINE DREAM Series will screen from July 5 to September 27. Session and ticketing details available via the venue website.


Saturday
Jun152019

SKID ROW MARATHON: THE MARK AND GABRIELE HAYES INTERVIEW

2019 MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL: The act of running is inherently about striving for a goal; one sets out with a determination to compete, earn a place, achieve a PB. For some, that is a life lesson that needs reinforcing. Judge Craig Mitchell of the Los Angeles Criminal Court runs, and he does so with a group of recovering addicts from the Midnight Mission facility, a bastion of hope located on Skid Row in downtown LA. The journey that the Judge and his runners undertook to run a marathon in Italy while fighting their own demons is the soaring narrative of Skid Row Marathon, from the husband and wife production team of Gabriele and Mark Hayes. “The film is about second chances, about reconnecting with your own dignity,” says Gabriele, who spoke to SCREEN-SPACE with her partner and co-director ahead of the film’s Australian premiere at the 2019 MDFF

SCREEN-SPACE: Judge Mitchell is the spiritual core of the film; the recovering addicts and homeless are the many hearts. When did the balancing act that is your narrative structure start to take shape?

GABRIELE: After we had shot about 300 hours of footage over three years we started stringing out the material in big segments. We had several rough cuts focusing on our main five characters - Judge Mitchell, David Askew, Ben Shirley, Rafael Cabrera and Rebecca Hayes. We used a big board with index cards to shape the story, which really helped to see where critical scenes were missing. We realized that is wasn’t clear who Judge Mitchell is; his backstory and his family were missing. But Judge Mitchell’s wife, Juliet, made it clear at the beginning that she didn’t want to be part of the documentary. It took us over three years to convince her that she needed to be a part of it. The interview with Juliet and the graduation of Judge Mitchell’s son Jordan were the last things we filmed.

SCREEN-SPACE: Did you envision, and budget for, a production that would take you to Ghana and Italy? Over the course of the shoot, did the unpredictability of a factual film project ever take a toll?

MARK: Our project is about homeless people running marathons. We were often reminded how similar running a marathon is to making a documentary. The first few miles are easy.  It’s around mile fifteen that you have to start digging deep and making sure things don’t fall apart. And just like a marathon, it’s important to go the distance and to finish. (Pictured, above; Mark and Gabriele Hayes)

GABRIELE: We thought it would take about a year, maximum two years, and that the only trip we would need to take was Ghana and we’d end with the LA Marathon in 2014. However, we returned from Ghana (and) Rebecca joined the running club and we felt her story was very compelling. We followed her to Seattle where she had been a heroin addict living in an alley with her three year old son. We realized that Rome had to be the coming together of all the stories. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Rome was the most expensive part of the production but it was all worth it. Then the editing process took over nine months to finish, and good editors are very expensive. We were running out of money and often came close to giving up. Then we thought of all the runners, like Rebecca for example. She was working, going to school, had a five year-old and trained for marathons. We thought if she can do it, so can we. In December 2016 we had a private screening for friends (and) a well-known editing consultant came up to us and said that he liked our film but we needed to make some changes. $50,000 later, we have the film that you will see at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.

SCREEN-SPACE: What revelations about the nature of addiction impacted you during the shoot?

GABRIELE: We learnt a lot about addiction during the four years of filming. Initially, we had several runners we would follow but they relapsed and disappeared. It really affected me personally because they seemed on such a good path of getting better and then all of a sudden they relapsed. It happened especially with people who couldn’t handle the stress of getting a job or getting back into school. It was too much for them. It was also very sad to see Mody relapse after he opened his luggage store. We were very proud of him that he was sober for over a year. We asked him why he would do that and he responded, “I am lonely.” Our hearts sunk and we understood. People relapse if they don’t have a very good support system. 

SCREEN-SPACE: Was earning the trust of the Skid Row community, having them allow your cameras into their lives, one of the production's main challenges?

GABRIELE: At the beginning it was very hard to gain the trust of the runners. We read about Judge Mitchell and his running club in March 2013, just before the LA Marathon. The next day we contacted the Judge and pitched the documentary. At the time the running club was still small, maybe 5-8 people. He was on board right away but warned us that the runners may not be interested in being filmed. He suggested that we run with them first. So, we ran with the club for six weeks before we started shooting. We started out filming just the training runs and then slowly asked Rafael, Ben, and David for interviews. We felt their stories were the strongest. Rafael was the most open one and we could follow him around; Ben didn’t trust us at all and it took a long time for him to let us film him. For example, he wouldn’t tell us when he was moving out of the Midnight Mission. What we learnt was that when Mark and I would just film our subjects, in that ‘fly on the wall’ style, they would open up and be themselves. Also, it was very dangerous to film on Skid Row. People threw bottles at us, had knives and ran after us to destroy our cameras. We constantly had to be aware that something could happen. (Pictured, above; Judge Craig Mitchell) 

SCREEN-SPACE: If there is a call-to-action that you hope resonates with audiences, what would that be?  

GABRIELE: So many times we ignore people that are in the streets or abandoned because we are so focused on ourselves. Look around yourself and see if someone is in need.  It doesn’t take much, like Judge Mitchell said, maybe just a phone call on behalf of someone. We hope that after seeing the film the audience will be inspired to take action to get involved in their own community. (Pictured, above; Midnight Mission runner Rebecca Hayes) 

MARK: It became clear that the Judge was a very special individual. Here was a guy whose day job is to send people off to prison for long sentences but in his spare times helps many of the same types of people to get their lives together through running. While making this film, we learned that when it comes to some of the biggest problems facing us as a society, it is better to do something, even if it’s small, and be part of a solution rather than just doing nothing.

SKID ROW MARATHON screens on July 27 at Cinema Nova as part of the 2019 MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL. Full ticketing and session details can be found at the event's official website.

Friday
May312019

PREVIEW: 2019 REVELATION PERTH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

When the minds behind Perth’s fearless international film soiree Revelation announced that their 2019 event would take us to another dimension…well, none of us doubted they could pull it off. The festival that has pushed the creative envelope since its formation in a Perth jazz club in 1997 as a 16mm showcase has never baulked at embracing cinema’s cutting edge.

Right now, that cutting edge new dimension is the world of the virtual, immersive movie reality and Revelation will be presenting one of the most extensive programs of the latest tech that Australian audiences have ever seen. From July 6 to 14, the specialised strand XR:WA will unveil sessions of Virtual Reality and augmented visual experiences, live team VR gameplay, workshops, talks, screenings and 360 degree films. Says respected Festival Director Richard Sowada, “It is a truly innovative program structured around ideas of possibility and opportunity”. (Pictured, below; a scene from the 360 degree film, Rone)

The 22nd Revelation Perth International Film Festival will unspool in its entirety from July 4th, with the Opening Night honours falling to Scandi director Thomas Vinterberg’s true-life submarine thriller, Kursk. In its wake will be a roster of 144 films, including 18 world and international premieres and 60 Australian premieres. “Film is often said to be in crisis, that people don’t go to the movies,” says Program Director Jack Sargeant, “but this isn’t our experience. Cinema remains a living medium; our audiences, and the local film communities, serve as a testament to the power of watching film.”

One of Australia’s premiere curators, Sargeant cites a typically eclectic mix as his personal 2019 favourites – Luke Lorentzen’s riveting Mexico City-set verite-doc Midnight Family; the gripping jungle-set child-soldier thriller Monos, from Brazilian Alejandro Landes; James Newitt’s remote survivalist/existential drama I Go Further Under; the racially-charged small-town coming-of-age drama Savage Youth, from filmmaker Michael Johnson; Memory The Origins of Alien, the latest deconstructionist essay on filmmaking by Alexandre O. Phillipe (The People vs George Lucas, 2010; 78/52, 2017); and, Letters to Paul Morrissey, an anthology love letter to the longtime Andy Warhol collaborator.

In addition to his opening night choice, Richard Sowada has favoured All the Gods in the Sky, mono-monikered French director Quarxx’s unsettling mash-up of drama, horror, fantasy and sci fi; documentarian Chris Martin’s thrilling profile of renowned war correspondent Marie Colvin, Under the Wire; the Indian/Swedish co-production Tumbbad (pictured, below), hailed a folk-horror masterpiece after its Best Film win at genre fest Sitges; and, Viktor Kossokovsky’s Aquarela, a rapturous ode to the might and magnificence of the globe’s most precious resource.

The Festival Director’s other favourite is Aaron Schimberg’s stirring, unique and deeply involving film-within-a-film narrative, Chained for Life. Direct from its official placement at the London Film Festival, Schimberg’s work stars Adam Pearson as the malformed star of a B-horror pic who falls for his stunning leading lady. Pearson, a sufferer of Type 1 Neurofibromatosis, came to prominence opposite Scarlett Johansson in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013); the actor, an outspoken advocate for disability awareness, will be present for the Revelations screening of the film, a vision that had Variety reviewer Dennis Harvey pondering, “What if the ‘freaks’ had made Tod Browning’s Freaks?”

Other works certain to draw audiences to the myriad of Rev-venues are Don Argott and Sheena M Joyce’s Framing John DeLorean, the docu-drama re-enactment of the wild times of the American automobile titan (featuring Alec Baldwin as the entrepreneur); the rousing, crowdpleasing expose Hail Satan?, director Penny Lane’s insider’s take on The Satanic Temple movement; and, Tim Travers Hawkins’ XY Chelsea, a forthright and revealing insight into whistleblower Chelsea Manning, both as a fighter for freedom of information and as she transitions into her new self.

Also featured in 2019 is a vast selection of short films from across the globe (in addition to Australia, America and The U.K., Revelations welcomed works from Belgium, Canada, France, Mexico, Uruguay and Japan, to name just a few); a retrospective celebrating science fiction films with screenings of classics The Quiet Earth, Things To Come, The Andromeda Strain and Alien; family friendly free sessions of animated short films under the banner International Family Animation Explosion; the popular Industrial Revelations strand, featuring festival guests exploring key aspects of the industry at dedicated panels and workshops; the music video sidebar Blind Date, spotlighting works created by local filmmakers; and, Screenwest’s annual showcase of emerging W.A. filmmaking talent in Get Your Shorts On!

REVELATIONS PERTH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL runs July 4th-17th. Full program and ticketing information can be found at official website.