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A programme strand celebrating water in films, an interactive multimedia horror event and a trip down memory lane to the days of ‘drive-in theatre’ glory are some of the left-field highlights to emerge from the launch of the 2013 Adelaide Film Festival (AFF).

The sixth edition of South Australia's biennial celebration of cinema opens on October 10 with the Australian premiere of John Curran’s Tracks, starring Mia Wasikowska. Under the stewardship of CEO and debutant Festival Director Amanda Duthie (pictured, below), the 11 day event will close October 20 with the highly-touted Cannes entrant A Story of Children and Film (pictured, above), director Mark Cousins’ cinematic-essay featuring clips from 53 films that capture the role of children in the development of the artform.

Audiences will savour works from 48 countries, including an official In Competition strand that features 12 new films from such world cinema giants as France’s Claire Denis (Bastards), Chile’s Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Dance of Reality), England’s Kevin McDonald (How I Live Now), the U.S.A.’s Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive) and Iran’s Asghar Farhadi (The Past).

The 2013 jury is presided over by producer Al Clark (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Chopper) and includes Animal Kingdom producer Liz Watts and The Sapphires’ director Wayne Blair, as well as international guests Maryanne Redpath, Director of the Berlinale Generations section, and Lawrence Wechsler, Artistic Directort of the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Of the 28 world premieres that are launching during AFF, eight diverse projects will have emerged directly from the festival’s own Investment Fund initiative. In addition to Tracks (featured, above), these include Rolf de Heer’s walkabout drama Charlie’s Country, starring iconic indigenous actor David Gulpilil; Sophie Hyde’s 52 Tuesdays, a chronicle of one year in the life of a teenager whose parent is undergoing gender transformation surgery; and director Warwick Thornton’s The Darkside, an all-star omnibus film of traditional ghost stories featuring the likes of Deborah Mailman, Aaron Pedersen and Sharri Stebbens.

International cinema that will be screening for the first time on these shores includes Declan Lowney’s Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, the first big-screen outing for Steve Coogan’s comedic cult-figure; James Toback’s Seduced and Abandoned, in which the director and star Alec Baldwin traverse the Cannes Film Festival's independent funding quagmire; Alain Guiradie’s homosexually-graphic murder mystery, Stranger by the Lake; co-director’s Luigi Acquisito’s and Bety Reis’ Beatriz’s War, the first feature shot by the nation of East Timor (pictured, right); and, legendary documentarian David Attenborough’s 3D odyssey of the insect world, Micro Monsters.

The eclectic events calendar that runs concurrently with the screening schedule will feature the high-profile honouring of Shine director and local lad-made-good Scott Hicks with the Don Dunstan Award; a seminar hosted by acclaimed artist Bill Morrison on the power of the clip-footage image, entitled ‘Art of the Archive’ (accompanied by a rare screening of what many consider his masterwork, Decasia; featured, below); a retrospective of 1960’s American activist filmmaker Shirley Clarke; and, Ursula Dabrowsky’s reimaging of her ‘Demon…’ trilogy of low-budget horror works as an interactive tablet narrative, retitled Demon House.

If all of that sounds like too much time spent inside, take your passion for films outdoors. On Saturday October 12, the Adelaide Showground Main Arena will transform into a drive-in theatre for a screening of Randal Kleiser’s blockbuster 1978 musical, Grease.

For full details of the 2013 Adelaide Film Festival programme of events and to book tickets, click here.   

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