Once Upon a Time at the Inner West Film Fest…


From March 29 to April 2, a dazzling collection of exciting new local and international films will screen across a selection of venues in Sydney’s glorious Inner West, complemented by some very special retrospectives and events.

“We are excited to finally be able to announce the full collection of films and events that we’ve brought together to screen for the wonderfully vibrant cultural community of Sydney’s Inner West! We’ve got some absolute crackers for your viewing pleasure!” Greg Dolgopolov, co-founder/director Inner West Film Festival

An exciting new event on Sydney’s cultural calendar, The Inner West Film Fest will roll out for the very first time from March 28th through to April 2nd. In one of Sydney’s most diverse and culturally rich regions, and across venues including the legendary Marrickville Golf Club, Dendy Cinemas Newtown, Palace Norton Street and The Actors Centre Australia in Leichhardt and Gallery 371 in Marrickville, The Inner West Film Fest boasts a diverse, inclusive and utterly fascinating selection of local feature film premieres from Australia and abroad.

On Wednesday, March 29, Inner West film production business Breathless Films (Lonesome) will host a Pitching Competition at The Actors Centre Australia in Leichhardt, open to the public from 6pm. A dozen aspiring filmmakers will provide a 5 minute pitch for an upcoming project, to the esteemed jury made up of Breathless Films and producers Jessica Giacco and Kristina Ceyton (of Inner West based production company Causeway Films). Not only an entertaining evening and a networking opportunity for Inner West filmmakers, the winner will also receive mentorship prizing that money cannot buy from Breathless Films. More about the pitching comp here: https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/explore/whats-on/events-in-detail/inner-west-film-fest/pitching-competition

On Thursday, March 30, Inner West design company Carnival Studio will host the opening of their movie poster art exhibition at Gallery 371 in Marrickville. With work on some of the most important Australian film of the last decade and beyond, the exhibition will not only provide a further networking opportunity for local filmmakers, but also an opportunity to buy some of Carnival’s amazing work – from Mystery Road to The Red Shoes: Next Step – to adorn your own production office.

Kicking off the cinematic festivities will be a FREE community screening of the earthy Aussie charmer Sweet As, which heralds an exciting new Australian cinematic voice in co-writer/director Jub Clerc. Screening under the stars at Hole 1 of The Marrickville Golf Club, Sweet As bubbles and bristles with youthful energy in its warm, winning tale of troubled sixteen-year-old Murra (Shantae Barnes-Cowan), whose life is turned around when she is forced to knuckle down on a ‘photo-safari for at-risk kids’, and while on the road trip of her life surprisingly meets a whole new crew of unlikely friends. Bring along a picnic rug, a cushion, and your family and friends for what will be a wonderfully warm community event, as well as a screening of a great new Australian film.

With Sweet As the delightful lead-in, Aussie films will be a highlight of The Inner West Film Fest. A violent, uncompromising cinematic slap to the face from co-directors Trudy Hellier and Susie Dee, the shattering new Australian conversation-starter Shit [adapting Patricia Cornelius’ acclaimed play] is a psychological drama which unfolds over one long night of incarceration for three women in a bleak holding cell.

Raw, honest, charmingly real and made in the Inner West, The Longest Weekend follows three siblings who unexpectedly converge on the family home while their mother is away, and is an on-point depiction of family love and fracture.

Over a decade in the making, and courtesy of filmmaking veterans and local heroes John Hughes and Tom Zubrycki, the compelling documentary Senses Of Cinema is a vibrant, essential document of the Sydney and Melbourne Filmmakers Co-Op, an independent film movement that is also an overview of over 60 years of Australian socio-political life, from the 1960s to the present. The screening will be followed by a special conversation led by The Co-Op Federation, speaking to the co-op movement’s recent rebirth.

Partly shot in Marrickville and enjoying their world premiere at The Inner West Film Fest, The Red Shoes: Next Step is a sparkling, wholly effervescent family film starring American-Australian ballet dancer and actress Juliet Doherty (High Strung: Free Dance), Carolyn Bock, Ashleigh Ross, Lauren Esposito and professional dancers Joel Burke and Primrose Kern.

The international offerings at The Inner West Film Fest are just as strong. One of the most distinct, singular, artful and utterly uncompromising filmmakers in the history of American cinema, the mighty Abel Ferrara (King Of New YorkBad Lieutenant) turns his wonderfully jaundiced eye to the deeply complex world of religion with Padre Pio, and the results are just as unusual as you’d expect, but with a surprising depth of humanity and sensitivity, along with a powerful, career-best performance from Shia LaBeouf.

Shot in the glorious Achill Island in Ireland, which audiences will recognise from the beautiful scenery in The Banshees of InisherinMy Sailor, My Love is the surprising follow up to The Fencer from Finnish director Klaus Härö, starring iconic Scottish actor James Cosmo (Braveheart, Highlander, Game of Thrones) as a retired sea captain, who falls in love with his home-aid Annie (Brid Brennan from Brooklyn).

Set in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze and Taki Mumladze’s A Room Of My Own swirls around 24-year-old Tina (Taki Mumladze), who finds herself lost, broke and abandoned by her family and friends after she cheats on her husband. But when Tina moves in with the inspiring, free-spirited Megi (Mariam Khundadze), she finds an unlikely refuge from past traumas, while discovering much more. This will be the Australian premiere of this simmering film which won Best Actress at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

A tough but highly elegant coming-of-age drama, Olga is set in the bone-jarring world of gymnastic, where its eponymous fifteen-year-old heroine (Anastasiia Budiashkina) is exiled in Switzerland, struggling to find a place in the country’s Olympic team when violence erupts in her native Ukraine and engulfs her family.

A surprising selection is Jason Trost’s FP 4EVZ, which will enjoy its Australian premiere at the festival. The fourth installment in the FP franchise, the genre-bender follows a legendary family of rhythm game warriors who must battle their way deep into the future to save what remains of a booze fuelled humanity from a horrific calamity that threatens to turn them all stone cold sober 4 EVZ. Released by XYZ in the US, this cult film (and franchise) in the making was actually made in the Inner West, where US born Trost, a fourth gen filmmaker, moved a number of years ago.

A pioneering feminist crowd-pleaser released way back in 1980, the angrily sparkling hit comedy 9 To 5 is just as relevant now as it was over forty years ago, and the film’s legacy and significance are beautifully captured in the wildly entertaining new documentary Still Working 9 To 5, co-directed by former Inner West resident Camille Hardman. With a sly grin but a bold lack of compromise, the film explores the challenges and barriers to success for women in the workforce and society, and the disappointing lack of progress that has been made for women since the original release of the 1980 blockbuster comedy. This Australian premiere screening will be followed by a live Q&A with Camille Hardman, hosted by veteran Australian producer Robyn Kershaw.

To round things out and to give audiences an uplift during these uncertain times, The Inner West Film Fest will screen British feel-good dramedy Bank of Dave at both Dendy Newtown and Palace Norton Cinemas. In the tradition of The Duke, this is a true story of Dave Fishwick, working class born self-made millionaire who fought to set up a community bank so that he could help the local businesses of Burnley not only to survive, but thrive! The film stars the Best of British Rory Kinnear, Hugh Bonneville, Joel Fry, Jo Hartley and Def Leppard!

There will also be two very special retro screenings at The Inner West Film Fest. Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West is a sprawling, deeply artistic epic 1968 western about the cruel incursion of the nation-building railroad into the heart of America. Featuring a rare villainous turn from Henry Fonda and a masterclass in heroic stoicism from Charles Bronson, Once Upon A Time In The West is nothing short of cinematic perfection, and The Inner West Film Fest will be screening a very special 4K remastered print of this magisterial masterpiece.   

A terse, gritty, wholly authentic slice of Inner West life, 1999’s Erskineville Kings is one of the best representations of the local area ever committed to film. Wholly fitting and with much excitement, The Inner West Film Fest will be presenting this tough-minded Aussie favourite from writer/star Marty Denniss and director Alan White in a beautiful 35mm print, marking the film’s first public screening in many years. A searing emotional powerhouse about the explosive rifts that rip a family apart, Erskineville Kings showcases a towering early turn from Hugh Jackman, who is ably supported by Marty Denniss, Joel Edgerton, Leah Vandenberg and a pre-Bad Guys Aaron Blabey.

A number of the feature film presentations will screen with Inner West made short films; likewise, more Inner West short films will be screened at the Short Film Showcase.

Rounding things out will be the presentation of TOP SECRET CINEMA, with the name of the brilliant film not announced until the start of the feature. The only clue that we are able to offer right now is that it’s an Australian film, which like the rest of this unique film festival, will speak to the values and creative pursuits of The Inner West!

Armed with a crackling batch of must-see films, The Inner West Film Fest is set to make one of Australia’s most vibrant artistic and cultural hubs even more exciting!    

To track further developments and for more exciting reveals about The Inner West Film Festival, head to www.innerwestfilmfest.com.au
For the Dendy Newtown program, head here: https://www.dendy.com.au/events/inner-west-film-fest
For the Palace Norton program, head here: https://www.palacecinemas.com.au/events/inner-west-film-festival/

Press Release

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