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Adelaide Film Festival 2023 throws spotlight on SA made films

14 September 2023
SA made films in the AFF 2023 program: Speedway, Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black), The Royal Hotel, The Musical Mind: A Portrait in Process, Rewards For The Tribe.

South Australia is set to shine on screen once more at the Adelaide Film Festival (AFF), with the festival’s newly unveiled 2023 program featuring a huge range of exciting new South Australian made films, including 11 supported by the SAFC.

The festival’s 2023 program, revealed at a special launch event at Palace Nova Eastend on 13 September, showcases an array of outstanding SA made and SAFC-supported productions across feature films, documentaries and shorts.

Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick in The Royal Hotel. Photo courtesy of See-saw Films.
Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick in The Royal Hotel. Photo courtesy of See-saw Films.

Opening Night Gala – The Royal Hotel

The previously announced Opening Night Gala film The Royal Hotel will kick off the festival with a bang, with director and co-writer Kitty Green set to walk the red carpet alongside star, and AFF Board member, Australian acting icon Hugo Weaving. Filmed in South Australia last year with the support of the SAFC, The Royal Hotel stars Julia Garner (The Assistant, Inventing Anna, Ozark) and Jessica Henwick (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery) as two backpackers who take a job in a remote Australian pub for some extra cash. When the locals’ rowdy behaviour starts to go too far, they find themselves trapped in an unnerving situation that grows rapidly out of their control.

The film has earned great reviews off the back of its premiere screenings at Telluride Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, with IndieWire calling it a “masterfully constructed pressure cooker” and Vanity Fair branding it “an appealingly uncomfortable watch”.

Also screening at the Opening Night Gala will be the world premiere of SA writer/director Elena Carapetis’ short film Blame The Rabbit, produced by SA’s Lisa Scott, of Highview Productions. Developed through the SAFC supported SBS Emerging Writer’s Incubator Program, this surrealist short is a modern take on the Gorgon myth. After surviving a horrific assault by her husband, Helen (SA’s Anna Linder) uses the time of his incarceration to plan her revenge, painstakingly rebuilding herself into the entity that will have the most power over him: a beautiful woman.

Blame The Rabbit will also screen as part of AFF’s Made in SA program, a special showcase of SA made shorts highlighting the breadth of talent and creativity of local filmmakers and crew – read more below.

Tickets for the Opening Night Gala are on sale now – book here.

The Musical Mind: A Portrait in Process, photos via AFF.

Hicks and Heysen Shine on with new documentaries

Also on the 2023 AFF program is the world premiere of documentary The Musical Mind from the powerhouse South Australian team of Academy Award-nominated director Scott Hicks, and celebrated producers Kerry Heysen and Jett Heysen-Hicks.

Supported by the SAFC and the AFF Investment Fund, the film is a portrait in process, giving a glimpse into the private worlds and elite musical processes of four superstar musicians – Ben Folds, Daniel Johns, David Helfgott, and Simon Tedeschi – brought together through their connection with Academy Award winning SAFC supported 1996 film Shine and director Hicks.

Book tickets here.

Emmy award-nominated composer and rock maestro Ben Folds is also the subject of the Festival’s Closing Night presentation My Name’s Ben Folds – I Play Piano, another feature documentary from Scott Hicks, Kerry Heysen and Jett Heysen-Hicks. The film is a symphonic concert spectacle featuring Ben Folds with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets for the Closing Night Gala are on sale now – book here.

Speedway, photo via AFF.

Speedway takes a bite out of true crime

South Australian made and SAFC supported true-crime feature documentary Speedway comes from first-time filmmakers Luke Rynderman (SA) and Adam Kamien 

In the small town of Speedway, Indianapolis in 1978, four young employees of a Burger Chef restaurant went missing at the end of a Friday night shift. The police initially suspected a petty theft by the work crew. By the time their bodies were found on Sunday and the investigation elevated to multiple murders, the crime scene had been cleaned and re-opened for business. 

Produced by SA’s Bonnie McBride and Anna Vincent of Ringleader Films, SA producer Lisa Scott of Highview Productions and Louise Nathanson, and featuring the work of SA cinematographer Maxx Corkindale and SA editor Sean Lahiff ASE, Speedway marks a gripping and stylish feature debut.

Book tickets here.

Rewards For The Tribe, photos courtesy of Film Camp.

Dance doco a rewarding experience

Acclaimed South Australian contemporary dance company Restless Dance Theatre is highlighted in the bold, visually striking dance documentary Rewards For The Tribe from director Rhys Graham and director mentee Jana Castillo.

This beautiful, character-led arts documentary traces the first collaboration between Restless, which since its establishment in 1991 has worked predominantly with dancers with intellectual disabilities, and Victoria’s Chunky Move. Produced by Molly O’Connor and Philippa Campey of Film Camp with associate producers Bus Stop Films, the documentary celebrates human connection and reminds us of the value of engagement and sharing.

The film has been supported by funding from the SAFC and the AFF Investment Fund.

Book tickets here.

Black Time, White Time, Tambo and The Getaway. Images via AFF.

First Nations First Films

Presented by the SAFC, First Nations First Films on Saturday, 21 October at The Mercury will see the world premiere of three exciting new short films from up-and-coming SA First Nations talent: Black Time, White Time from writer/producer Tammy Coleman-Zweck, directed Edoardo Crismani; Tambo from writer/director Travis Akbar; and The Getaway from writer/director Adam Jenkins.

All three films have been made under the SAFC’s First Nations Short Film Initiative, with this special showcase event also providing a chance to learn more about opportunities for First Nations filmmakers provided by the SAFC.

Tickets for First Nations, First Films are on sale now – fine out more about the films and book tickets here.

Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black)

Made in SA shorts showcase

Award-winning SA made and SAFC supported short film Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) will feature in AFF’s Made in SA screening event, a special showcase of SA made shorts highlighting the breadth of talent and creativity of local filmmakers and crew.

From SA writers and directors Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne, and SA producers Duncan and Patrick Graham, Marungka Tjalatjunu had its international premiere at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival, receiving the coveted Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) and the Teddy Award for Best Short Film. The film also won the $20,000 Documentary Australia Foundation Award at this year’s Sydney Film Festival, and the Award for Best Documentary Short Film in the 2023 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Shorts Awards.

Also included in the Made in SA program are Blame The Rabbit from SA writer/director Elena Carapetis and SA producer Lisa Scott; Calen Vanston’s Greg, Stephanie Jaclyn’s Mating Call, Bryce Kraehenbuehl’s Red Earth, Nicholas Muecke’s Prove To Me You Are Human and Daisy Anderson’s The Unrequited Life of Farrah Bruce.

Tickets for Made in SA are on sale now, with two dates to choose from.

SA Indie Voices

AFF’s SA Independent Voices program strand includes the world premieres of a range of exciting and diverse SA made feature films, presented at The Mercury on 21 and 22 October.

The Burnt Half from SA director Stephen de Villiers provides a gripping insight into the 2020 Kangaroo Island bushfires; Emotion is Dead from SA director Pete Williams follows a young emo skateboarder from Elizabeth who comes up with a moneymaking scheme after the closure of the Holden factory; My Darling in Stirling from SA director Bill Mousolis presents a love story set in Stirling, told entirely in song; and What are We Fighting For? from SA directors Carolyn Corkindale and Christine Belford couples modern interviews with archival footage to tell South Australians’ stories of protests and persecutions surrounding the Vietnam War. Honorary SA filmmaker Margot Nash’s poetic Undercurrents: meditations on power is a powerful documentary essay examining the cyclic nature of history.

Find out more about these films and book tickets here.

Isla’s Way, photo courtesy Corner Table Productions

Even more SA films on show

Want more South Australian made films? The AFF 2023 program has you covered! Don’t miss these great films from SA creatives:

Also on AFF’s packed 2023 program you’ll find a range of talks and Q&A sessions including with SA directors Scott Hicks and Luke Rynderman; The Royal Hotel writer and director Kitty Green and actor Hugo Weaving; Talk to Me and Cargo producer Kristina Ceyton of Causeway Films; and 2023 Bettison & James Award winner, Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna Elder, Uncle Major Moogy Sumner AM, a former SAFC First Nations Advisory Committee member, who will tell his remarkable life story in the Bettison and James Award Talk on 28 October.

And of course, the program also features a huge range of exciting new films from around Australia and the world.

The Adelaide Film Festival runs from 18 to 29 October, 2023. Tickets to all sessions are on sale now – go to for more information.

The SAFC is proud to be an Industry Partner of the Adelaide Film Festival 2023.

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