My Cinema My Film Festival

Film, Film festivals
Simon Baker and Jacob Junior Nayinggu on horseback in Australian Western High Ground
Photograph: Supplied/Madman

Time Out says

Sydney Film Festival chips in to a brilliant movie showcase at Dendy Newtown and beyond

Your local cinema needs you. After months-long closures, the projectors are finally rolling again, but it’s been a tough ride to get here. That’s why the Sydney Film Festival, in collaboration with Independent Cinemas Australia and world-wide content delivery service Qube Wire and supported by Screen Australia, have launched My Cinema My Film Festival.

The idea is simple: the travelling film fest will supply a popcorn-ready cinematic selection of Australian and international features alongside a bumper shorts program that will spread out across NSW cinemas to entice audiences away from their sofas and back to the big screen. Participating venues include the Dendy Newtown in Sydney and a bunch of regional heroes like the Forum cinemas in Wagga and Tamworth, the Picture Showman Merimbula, Forum 6 Cinema, Odeon 5 Cinema Orange and the Gala Cinema Warrawong.

The bulging program’s Australian highlights include director Michael Angelo Covino’s High Ground, an Arnhem Land-set new take on the Australian western starring Simon Baker and Jack Thompson. You’ll also have another shot at seeing Nays Baghai’s Sydney Film Festival 2020 Documentary Australia Foundation Award winner Descent, a jaw-dropping look at the bone-freezing undersea life of free diver Kiki Bosch. Also look out for Anthea Williams short Safety Net, about a 13-year old disabled boy outwitting his temporary guardians while his mum is arrested, and Emily and Hannah Jordan’s stop-motion magic Obscura that depicts creatures living inside our cameras.

International highlights include recent Polish Film Festival fave biopic Charlatan. Directed by three-time Oscar-nominated Agnieszka Holland, it relays the story of Jan Mikolášek, a herbal healer so sought after that word of his brilliance brings both the Nazis and then the Communist party to his door. But what price is exacted by the protection they offer?  You’ll also be able to see game-changing Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al-Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate, an insider’s look at the progress of women’s rights in the kingdom, by its first female director. And Palestinian filmmaker Ella Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven is a comic voyage that depicts a man who leaves the war-torn land behind looking for a new home.

Sydney Film Festival CEO Leigh Small says they’re proud to be involved. “My Cinema My Film Festival gives independent operators a chance to present a bespoke festival-worthy program of world-class and top Australian cinema to screen to their local audiences… This is one step we can take together to help bring audiences back to the cinemas responsibly, with outstanding films they are unlikely to see anywhere on streaming platforms.”

You can check out the Sydney program here, with the Dendy Newtown line-up running from November 27-December 10. Just add choc tops.

Love movies with heart? Check out the Irish Film Festival too.

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