My Year Without Sex to open BAFF

[Press Release by MB Publicity]

The 2009 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival is delighted to announce two romantic comedies – Sarah Watt’s new feature film My Year Without Sex and Stephan Elliot’s, Easy Virtue ­– as the Opening and Closing Night films.

My Year Without Sex is Sarah Watt’s second feature film. Her first feature Look Both Ways opened the 2005 Adelaide Film Festival and went on to win numerous awards including the AFI for Best Film, the Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Critic’s Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

My Year Without Sex extends Watt’s concerns with the capricious ways that the gods can reach out into suburbia and strike you down. Natalie and her family are the stuff of suburban life: mortgage, messy house, job worries, and trying to figure out how fast to let the kids grow up, until something unexpected occurs which forces Natalie to address the big questions: is there a God, and if there is, why does the dryer keep on breaking down? If life is governed by dumb luck, should I play the pokies? Sacha Horler, alongside Matt Day, gives one of the great performances you’ll see this year at the centre of a family prone to all the terrors and comedies of ordinary life in this strange, exotic and quietly remarkable place called Australia.

Easy Virtue is the new film by Stephan Elliot, best known for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Easy Virtue stars Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas and – as the American interloper – Jessica Biel.

Based on the play by Noel Coward, Easy Virtue offers all the delights of wicked, high-toned comedy and tells the story of Larita, an American Jazz Age race-car driver. After impulsively tying the knot in Monte Carlo with young Englishman John Whittaker, she travels to England to meet her groom’s privileged and batty family. Naturally, they hate her. John’s mother, Mrs. Whittaker and his sisters Hilda and Marion do their best to sabotage the newlyweds and banish their brother’s shocking new wife. Only in the family’s patriarch, Mr. Whittaker, does the young bride find acceptance, and the two develop a bond founded on their mutual appreciation for motorbikes and flouting social etiquette. Easy Virtue is far beyond the confines of the typical romantic comedy, it is a film that is as clever and hilarious as it is artfully crafted.

Festival Director, Katrina Sedgwick says, “We are delighted to be screening Sarah Watt’s My Year Without Sex as our opening night film – it is funny, warm, frank, moving and utterly delightful – a fabulous way to kick start the festival. Easy Virtue, Stephan Elliiot’s thoroughly entertaining new film is the perfect closer. It’s a pleasure to be screening such strong films from these distinctive Australian directors – which form bookends to a program that contains some truly wonderful new Australian films – its going to be a hell of a year for Australian cinema!”

The 2009 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival Opening Night kicks off its cinematic celebrations with the announcement and screening of the winning animated short film from the BigPond/Screen Australia initiative “Great Moments in History”.

Following the world premiere of My Year Without Sex will be heavy-duty party time for hundreds of VIPs, film festival industry guests and the general public at the Peroni Opening Night Party, to be held at the Queen’s Theatre.

After 11 days of dynamic screenings, special events, workshops and forums, with over 45,000 film lovers and filmmakers in attendance, the 2009 festival will be farewelled with the closing night presentation and party.

Prior to the closing night screening the recipients of the NATUZZI International Award will be announced by Natuzzi Jury President Laurence Kardish, then following the screening, those who have survived the 2009 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival marathon will pop the champagne corks at the Estonian Hall in Tynte St, North Adelaide.

Full program will be revealed on 22 January.