Shout Outs from the Soapbox – WA Made Film Festival, All Of Us Strangers, Patricia Clarkson, AIDC, and More

Welcome to The Curb’s first Shout Outs from the Soapbox, a rundown of the reviews, interviews, and news that have taken our interest over the past fortnight.

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2024 has kicked off with a crazy rush that’s left us in a daze asking ‘Are we still saying “Happy New Year” or has that been replaced with “It’s February already?”’ Time is irrelevant and with its continual stomp into the future comes a flurry of film festivals to keep us busy and to pique our excitement for what’s to come in 2024.

No sooner had Nadine Whitney and myself recovered from voting in the 2023 Golden Globes awards that we were thrown head first into the world of the Sundance Film Festival. (A warm congratulations to all of the Golden Globes winners. If you haven’t seen this video of the Osage Nation reacting to Lily Gladstone’s historical win for Killers of the Flower Moon, then I urge you to head on over and give it a watch.) Coverage so far comes in the form of an in-depth spoiler-free interview with The Moogai cinematographer Sean Ryan who provided insight into the difficulties of shooting the fiery climax, I gave a recount of how I nearly vomited while watching Skywalkers: A Love Story, and was gratefully soothed by Nocturnes and its moth ASMR. More coverage will be on its way shortly.

Looking ahead we’ve got a truck load of festival news to fill your calendar up with.

Film Festivals

The WA Made Film Festival celebrates its mammoth five-year anniversary from 23 February to 3 March with a festival that celebrates Western Australian made short films with events like the Get Smart! Presented by Buy West Eat Best smartphone filmmaking competition, Celebrating Shorts, and the return of Left of Centre. These events sell out quickly, so make sure to pick up your tickets early. Other notable events include Hassibullah Kushkakis’s I Hope This Will Fix Me, Dylan Randall and Jules Burton’s Sweet Rhythm, and workshops by local legend Myles Pollard, and one by the powerhouse team of Jess Parker and David Vincent Smith. Find out more here.

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) was announced, running in Melbourne/Naarm from 3-6 March, then the online-only marketplace runs from 7-8 March. I caught up with CEO and Creative Director Natasha Gadd to chat about the conferences theme of Frontlines here. Notable events include a Spotlight Session with Australian legend Rachel Perkins, Marungka tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) creators Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne will be on hand for a spotlight session, and the filmmakers behind Academy Award nominated films Four Daughters and 20 Days in Mariupol will provide panel discussions about their work.

Keeping with the vibe of documentaries is the Antenna Documentary Film Festivalwhich runs from 9-19 February in Sydney / Warrane. The festival features an array of Australian Premiere’s, including the Tribeca Film Festival winner The Gullspång Miracle, while the Sydney Opera House will showcase the Australian Premiere of Ryuici Sakamoto | Opus. Other notable titles include Knit’s Island, Kokomo City, and Abebe – Butterfly Song.

Queer Screen’s 31st Mardi Gras Film Festival kicks off in Sydney / Warrane from 15 to 29 February. It has a mighty line-up of films, including the truly superb Monica. I had a chat with screen legend Patricia Clarkson about her work on the film, and what it means to support queer voices on screen. Give it a listen here.

Wrapping up festival news, the Sydney Film Festival announced the launch of the First Nations Award, the Europa! Europa! Film Festival announced its 2024 program running in Sydney / Warrane and Melbourne / Naarm from 15 February to 11 March, and the Castlemaine Documentary Festival bring the silent film GRASS to the Astor Theatre in St Kilda on 1 March.

Australian Arts

Joy Hopwood’s fourth film The Gift That Gives will receive its Melbourne / Naarm premiere on 3 February with a second screening at the Randwick Ritz on 4 February.

David Cook’s Heart of the Man will premiere in Brisbane / Meanjin on February 28.

Indianna Bell and Josiah Allen’s nail-biting thriller You’ll Never Find Me has received a trailer ahead of its national release on 14 March. Read the interview with Indianna and Josiah here.

The trailer the upcoming ANZAC war epic Before Dawn has been released ahead of its national release on 4 April:

Screenwest and Screen Australia have commenced production on Zoe Pepper’s debut feature Birthright, starring Travis Jeffery as Cory and Maria Angelico as Jasmine. Shot in the Perth Hills, Birthright tells the story of a couple who move back in with Cory’s retired parents (Linda Cropper and Michael Hurst) to assist with the arrival of their baby.

Nick Kozakis’ unsettling exorcism flick Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism arrives on Shudder on Feb 12. Listen to Nick chat about the film here.

The We Are Pride YouTube channel announced the new Australian original series My First Time which will premiere globally on 17 February.

The Grandparents Club is a new Australian musical comedy written by Wendy Harmer, and featuring Lynne McGranger, Laurence Coy, Meredith O’Reilly, and Andrew James. It launches in May 2024.

Eddie’s Lil’Homies is a new children’s comedy series inspired by the books of Eddie Betts. It’ll launch on NITV and Netflix Australia on 16 February.

Four Years Later is SBS first foray into original scripted series. It’s commenced filming in India before moving to Sydney in late-February.

At the Cinema

The Film of the Fortnight is Andrew Haigh’s superb All of Us Strangers. Nadine wrote a magnificent in depth review of the film here, encouraging empathy, compassion, and the notion of making love our goal.

Other films in cinemas now worth your time include:

Todd Haynes’ May December – read Connor Dalton’s interview with Todd here

Riceboy Sleeps – read Nadine’s review here

The Zone of Interest – read Nadine’s review here

The Curb is a reader supported website, with support from as little as $1 a month through Patreon. Please consider becoming a member to keep The Curb independent.

If you have a news item or film festival that you would like covered on the fortnightly wrap up, please get in touch via our contact form here.

For now, that’s it for this fortnights Shout Outs from the Soapbox.

Stay safe, stay sane.

Andrew F Peirce

Andrew F Peirce

Andrew is passionate about Australian film and culture. He is the co-chair of the Australian Film Critics Association, a Golden Globes voter, and the author of two books on Australian film, The Australian Film Yearbook - 2021 Edition, and Lonely Spirits and the King. You can find him online trying to enlist people into the cult of Mac and Me.

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