Press release from A & K Communication

While sports aficionados will have their eyes set on New Zealand during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Saint Tropez will play centre stage to the best Australian and New Zealand films.

Coming out of this cinematographic scrum is a visual maelstrom unveiling a multitude of universes, landscapes, emotions and feelings; rich with diverse and compelling stories; amusing, dramatic, surprising, fantastic yet always so inevitably fascinating.

Among the films in competition to be discovered this year is our 2008 Jury President Nadia Tass film Matching Jack, which tells the story of a mother as she wrestles with her son’s illness. The director of Amy returns to St Tropez with a wonderful film – both funny and moving, full of compassion and realism. After taking out three prizes at the 2011 Milan International Film Festival, Matching Jack also won the Bel Age Cannes Cinephile prize at the last Cannes Film Festival.

First feature from New Zealand director Jason Stutter, Predicament is a wonderful black comedy full of colour. It is a funny, almost burlesque, strange film with a subtle underlying cleverness.

In Here I am, Beck Cole shows the strength and continuing re-invention of Aboriginal cinema.

A women’s film and also intrinsically feminine, Here I am takes us on Karen’s journey as she rebuilds her life and seeks to get her daughter back after leaving prison. Living in a women’s shelter, she finds that the path to freedom, trust and an end to prejudice is filled with pitfalls and doubt. Our vibrant heroine allows for a surprisingly jubilant film.

Mad Bastards takes us on another journey into the Aboriginal world. We follow TJ, a violent man with a tortured soul, on a trip of over 2000 km towards Five Rivers, a small town in the Kimberley, to find his estranged 13 year old son, Bullet. Brendan Fletcher’s film is a social drama, musical road movie and set in the heart of the Australian Bush, all rolled into one. It’s a strikingly authentic and moving story of redemption and mutual discovery between father and son.

As for the film Lou, awarded the young public jury prize at the 2011 Women's Film Festival in Crétail, it follows the relationship between an Alzheimer-suffering grandfather his granddaughter Lou with subtlety and tact, as Lou rebels against her mother and their poor living situation.
Then there’s the premiere of Blame, a psychological thriller reminiscent of Atom Egoyan’s films, in which we find the charming Sophie Lowe (Blessed and Beautiful Kate).

Among other films, worth mentioning is the highly anticipated new film by Iven Sen, Toomelah, presented in Un Certain Regard section at the last Cannes Film Festival. It is the story of 10 year old Daniel, caught between a junkie mother and alcoholic father, who must choose a future between his fascination for the local dealer or a return to the culture and language of his Aboriginal heritage. An original film that observes social behavior in a poetic way, making it full of compassion and fundamentally optimistic.

On a completely different note, Russian Snark takes us in the footsteps of a Russian film maker who arrives in New Zealand to discover a free market and the difficulties of being a struggling artist. Screenwriter Stephen Sinclair delivers a comical and intelligent film, even if sometimes quirky and absurd.

Another comedy, Surviving Georgia demonstrates the impact a destructive mother can have on her two very different daughters. This is a colourful romantic comedy, full of imagination and charm which will no doubt win over many.

Face to Face by Michael Rymer, is a punchy drama in a single setting, perfectly cast with wonderful actors Matthew Newton and Luke Ford, as well as Vince Colossimo and Sigrid Thornton. This film is a real masterpiece.

Among the films in this 13th edition we’ll also find the fine work of Rolf de Heer with Alexandra in the presence of its leading actress Helen Buday, and Triangle, a refreshing maritime horror-thriller.

The Antipodes Junior section will offer, as well as Lou, Here I am, Dr Plonk, and Black and White, the admirable film by Jeremy Sims Beneath Hill 60 which reminds us, through the incredible true story of Australian tunnelers, how they fought alongside the French in the First World War. For the little ones, the classic Les Contes des Animaux will be a source of marvel as always.

For the sixth consecutive year, a jury comprised of close to 150 senior high school students will choose the best Antipodean short film and attribute the 10th Prix Nicolas Baudin. The young public will also enjoy a real educational experience with the presence of numerous professionals.

Documentaries remain very present at this year’s festival and will allow us to return to New Caledonia to discover the impact of a mine on the life of Kanaks, to visit Papua New Guinea in the amazing Kuru and to also discover through the superb Solo from David Michôd and Jennifer Peedom, the incredible story of Andrew McAuley, who wanted to be the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand. From New Zealand we will see This Way of Life which draws an intimate portrait of a Maori family and their relationship with nature, their horses and society.

Our opening film, The Tender Hook is a love triangle set in the modern boxing world and will be presented by its director Jonathan Ogilvie, while Paul Murphy’s marvelous comedy Love Birds will be the closing film.

As well as the films, some beautiful musical notes from Australia will light up the Festival opening, thanks to Belle Roscoe, and we will have the opportunity to rediscover Australian artist Lucinda Clutterbuck, who returns to the Salle Jean Despas with an exhibition of paintings of her recurring playful character, Smith.

In anticipation of PJ Hogan’s next film Mental with Toni Collette, let’s set sail for the Antipodes, towards the town of Saint-Tropez, heading for the Place des Lices – to uncover the cinematographic treasures offered in abundance by Australian and New-Zealand film making.

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