‘When Pomegranates Howl’. 

Adelaide Film Festival has revealed its full program for 2020, including the world premieres of local titles When Pomegranates Howl, Yer Old Father, This is Port Adelaide, ShoPaapaa, and more, as well as a special strand dedicated to Australian indies.

Overall, the biennial festival – due to be an entirely physical event thanks to dedicated COVID-Safe plans – has snared a total of 54 features from more than 40 countries, including 22 world premieres and 27 Australian premieres.

As previously announced, the festival will open with Seth Larney’s sci-fi thriller 2067, starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ryan Kwanten and Deborah Mailman, and will close out with the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner, Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari. 

Stephen Johnson’s High Ground, which bowed in Berlinale, will vie in the festival’s official competition, up against Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round; Christos Nikou’s Apples, Dea Kulumbegashvili’s Beginning, Yolqin Tuychiev’s 2000 Songs of Farida, and Haifaa Al-Mansoor’s The Perfect Candidate.

In the documentary competition are local films Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra, from Wayne Blair and Nel Minchin, and A Hundred Years of Happiness, from Jakeb Anhvu. They will compete with Sundance Special Jury Prize winner, Benjamin Ree’s The Painter and the Thief, Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw’s The Truffle Hunters, Iryna Tsilyk’s The Earth is Blue as an Orange, and Hubert Sauper’s Epicentro.

This year’s jury consists of playwright/screenwriter Andrew Bovell, director, producer and screenwriter Khao Do, film critic Zak Hepburn, producer Rebecca Summerton and actress Natasha Wanganeen.

The festival will have a strong focus on local production, with gala screenings for AFF Investment Fund films When Pomegranates Howl, from My Tehran for Sale director Granaz Moussavi; Nicole Miller doco This is Port Adelaide, Eleanor Sharpe’s Phil Liggett: The Voice of Cycling and Heather Croall’s portrait of her dad, Yer Old Father, in addition to Hilton Nathanson’s Chasing Wonders. The latter is due to screen as part of the Australian Indies strand alongside Madeleine Blackwell’s Damage, Katie Found’s My First Summer, Kurt Martin’s Moon Rock for Monday, Daniel J. Phillips Awoken and Michael Bentham’s Disclosure. 

Other world premieres include Molly Reynolds and Shekhar Bassi’s ShoPaapaa, produced with Rolf de Heer, and Matthew Bate and Liam Somerville’s Video Nasty: The Making of Ribspreader, a BTS look at the Dick Dale film. There will also be a special repeat screening of Unjoo Moon’s I Am Woman, which recently bowed on Stan, with the filmmakers in attendance.

To screen in the ‘Change the Status Quo’ strand are local documentaries Catherine Dwyer’s Brazen Hussies, Sally Ingleton’s Wild Things and Ili Bare’s The Leadership alongside with Norwegian film Gunda. 

International highlights include the Sundance Best Screenplay and Audience Award winner Identifying Features and Blackbird,  starring Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska.

This year’s Don Dunstan Award winner will be the Adelaide-bred Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies, Wild, Gone Girl, The Nightingale). The Made Up Stories producer will appear in conversation with AFF patron Margaret Pomeranz, sharing her insights into the Australian and international industries, and women in production.

A new feature of this year’s event will be the Film Concept Lab, which will showcase three world premieres of proof of concept film from local creatives Aaron Schuppan, Chan Griffin and Leela Varghese.

Adelaide will also host a retrospective of director Craig Lahiff and producer Helen Leake’s 2002 drama Black and White, which follows the landmark 1958 trial of Aranda man Max Stuart, followed by a discussion with Leake and former High Court Justice Michael Kirby.

The festival marks the first for new creative director and CEO Mat Kesting, who says: “Festivals are about bringing people together and we are so lucky in South Australia to be able to do this during this challenging time. We have taken great care with this year’s program to celebrate our local and national talent within a broader international context. We have consciously selected work we hope will have broad appeal and there will be something for everyone. We invite audiences to embrace all that the Festival offers, including lots of fabulous nights out!”

Adelaide Film Festival runs October 14-25. View the full program here.

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