Taking the Danish tradition of communal group singing as a starting point, Angelica Mesiti’s Mother Tongue explores the way diverse communities in and around Aarhus connect to their cultural heritage through music, dance and song.
The work was produced with the participation of a range of performers from Aarhus including school children, employee’s of Aarhus Kommune, the Ramallah Boy Scouts troupe, the Jaffra Dancers, Gellerup Circus School and residents of the housing development, Gellerupparken. From popular radio hits to traditional folk songs, Somali blues, marching drills and wedding dances, Mother Tongue explores a series of communal, creative activities shared across the urban, civic and residential spaces of one European city.
Mother Tongue uses music as a way to sketch a portrait of society as we see it today, where individuals and groups seek ways to maintain their own cultural values while integrating into a new place rather than assimilating. Musical tropes like synchronicity, harmony, dissonance and discordant associations build to generate an image of juxtaposed realities. Mesiti has created a complex new melody where traditional and newer unexpected rhythms can evolve.
Commissioned by Aarhus 2017- European Capital of Culture with additional funds from the Adelaide Biennale.
Images: Installation view O space Aarhus, presented as a part of the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 programme. Photos by Lucas Adler.
Written and directed by Benjamin Gilmour, produced by John Maynard, Jirga is a feature drama about former Australian soldier, Mike Wheeler (Sam Smith), who returns to Afghanistan to find the family of a man he killed in combat.
Duration: 78 mins
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Languages: Pashto and English with English subtitles
Directed by Kate Blackmore.
The Glass Bedroom is a six part series profiling six Australian artists who use Instagram to create bold new works to share with their thousands of followers. The series will take viewers inside the ‘glass bedrooms’ of these Instagram artists, to explore the relationship between authenticity, identity, and social media in their work. The series was commissioned for Art Bites a joint initiative from ABC Television and Screen Australia, with Screen NSW finance to encourage new arts content from early career filmmakers.
Duration: 6 x 5 min episodes
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Australian premiere: ABC iView 16 January – 16 Apr 2017
Stanley (James Rolleston), a naive first year drama student meets Isolde and begins a sweet, first love affair. Goaded by Hannah (Kerry Fox), the charismatic, domineering Head of Acting, Stanley uncovers a talent and ambition he didn’t know he had. When his group hits on a sex scandal that involves Isolde’s tennis prodigy sister as fertile material for their end-of-year show, Stanley finds himself profoundly torn.
The Rehearsal, directed by Alison Maclean and written by Maclean and author Emily Perkins, is based on the novel by Man Booker award-winner Eleanor Catton, and produced by Bridget Ikin and Trevor Haysom.
The Rehearsal was financed by New Zealand film commission and NZ Lottery Grants Board, in association with ANZ Bank of New Zealand Limited, Park Pictures Media Partners, Definition Limited, and Film Buff Pty Ltd.
International sales: Mongrel Media
Australasia: Footprint Films
A fight on Everest? It seemed incredible. But in 2013 news channels around the world reported an ugly brawl at 21,000ft as European climbers fled a mob of angry Sherpas.
In 1953, New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay had reached the summit in a spirit of co-operation and brave optimism. Now climbers and Sherpas were trading insults – even blows. What had happened to the happy, smiling Sherpas and their dedication in getting foreigners to the top of the mountain they hold so sacred?
Determined to explore what was going on, the filmmakers set out to make a film of the 2014 Everest climbing season, from the Sherpas’ point of view. Instead, they captured a tragedy that would change Everest forever.
At 6.45am on 18th April, 2014, a 14 million ton block of ice crashed down onto the climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall, killing 16 Sherpas. It was the worst tragedy in the history of Everest.
The disaster provoked a drastic reappraisal about the role of the Sherpas in the Everest industry. Sherpa, tells the story of how, in the face of fierce opposition, the Sherpas united in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain they call Chomolungma.
A video installation by Hossein Valamanesh.
Char Soo places us in a four-sided Iranian bazaar to contemplate movement, human interaction and the passing of time. Char Soo is a metaphor for Iran, a country which has been subject to invasion, religious and cultural interaction for centuries. This immersive four-screen video projection aims to place the audience at its centre.
William Yang: Blood Links examines the Chinese diaspora and how family bonds endure. Both William Yang’s paternal and maternal grandfathers came to Australia from the south of China in the 1880s to dig for gold. Both his parents were born here. William grew up on a tobacco farm in Dimbulah in North Queensland and was brought up as an assimilated Australian with his Chinese side denied and unacknowledged. In his mid-life William claimed his Chinese heritage. This led him to research his own family. He travelled around Australia and the USA piecing together a family history. He probably has met more relatives than anyone else in the family. He has scores of relatives from all walks of life in these two countries, some rich, but most are ordinary folk with menial jobs, and most cannot speak a word of Chinese.
A stunning debut by Australian director Kasimir Burgess, Fell is an entrancing and enigmatic drama – a dreamlike, visually resplendent tale of nature, revenge and redemption. While on a camping trip, Thomas’ only daughter, Lara, is killed by a logging truck in a hit-and-run accident for which the driver, Luke, serves a prison sentence. Stricken with grief, Thomas sheds his urban life and his identity, and moves to the remote town where Lara was killed. There he takes on a new name, Chris, and finds work as a logger. When Luke is released from prison and returns to work, Chris connives to work as his partner in dangerously high tree-logging work. Every time Luke climbs, Chris holds his life in his hands.
As the tension ratchets up, the two men, both damaged, grow closer through their affinity for nature. The forest, with its beautiful tall trees, is as important a character, seemingly exerting a strange power over the two men.
For The Calling, artist Angelica Mesiti has travelled to the village of Kuskoy in Northern Turkey, the island of La Gomera in The Canary Islands and the Island of Evia in Greece where whistling languages are all still in use. For these communities, whistling languages are in a process of transformation from their traditional use as tools for communication across vast lands into tourist attractions and cultural artefacts and are being taught to local school children. The Calling is a poignant exploration of ancient human traditions evolving and adapting to the modern world. Mesiti’s work speaks to the tenacity and creativity of traditional cultures in the face of technical progress and environmental flux.
Angelica Mesiti is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery. The Calling was Produced by Felix Media - Bridget Ikin and Jodie Passmore. The inaugural Ian Potter Moving Image Commission: a collaboration between The Ian Potter Cultural Trust and ACMI.
Photographer William Yang came out in Sydney in the early 70s, a period of great social change. “I never consciously came out as a gay man, I was swept out by events at the time.” He has seen the formation of a gay activist culture in the 70s, the commercialisation of the gay scene in the 80s, and lived through the devastating effects of AIDS in the early 90s. With myriad images and his trademark candid narration, in Friends of Dorothy Yang leads us though this beguiling era of sexual discovery, politics, love and loss.
Produced by Donna Chang; directed by Martin Fox.
Revealing the heritage, politics and imagination in contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
A three-part documentary series, written and presented by Hetti Perkins. A diverse group of outstanding contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists reveal to Hetti Perkins how their art practice is driven by culture and heritage, political and personal preoccupations, dreams and imagination.
In the Ear of the Tyrant is a three-screen video installation by Angelica Mesiti. In collaboration with Italian vocalist Enza Pagliara, Mesiti re-imagines the grieving ritual, depicting a vocal performance on location at the Ear of Dionysius, an ancient limestone cave carved out of the Temenites Hill in the Sicilian city of Syracuse.
The Dream of Perfection is as extraordinary as its provocative subject matter, the dramatic story of the building of the Sydney Opera House, culminating in Utzon’s departure from the project. Director John Weiley was commissioned in 1968 to make the documentary Autopsy on a Dream by then BBC2 controller David Attenborough, and following its only screening on the BBC, it was destroyed – literally chopped to pieces on the chopping block. Miraculously, a mute print of Autopsy on a Dream was rediscovered in a BBC vault this year, and has now been restored with sound saved by John Weiley, and with a new prologue.
In the 70s and 80s, photographer William Yang captured Sydney’s emerging artistic, literary, theatrical and queer circles, as well as his friendships with artists, filmmakers, writers and fashion designers such as Brett Whiteley, Patrick White, Jim Sharman, Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee. With myriad images and his trademark candid narration, Yang leads us though this beguilingly decadent and creative era. Through the lens of his dynamic friendships, William documents the impact of the AIDS crisis, the outrageous fashion, the drug and party culture, and the bohemian social scene.Nothing was off limits; William was always where the action was.
CORAL is an immersive dome-installation by Lynette Wallworth; an extraordinary journey into a mysterious realm of fluorescent coral reefs, bioluminescent sea creatures and rare marine life, revealing a complex community living in the oceans most threatened by climate change.
A video installation by Angelica Mesiti.
Mesiti’s ‘band’ is made up of four individual films, which document the performances of musicians who work outside official structures of presentation. Cameroon, Geraldine Zongo drums the water in a Parisian public pool. Algerian, Mohammed Lamourie sings and plays his Casio keyboard in the Paris Metro system. Sudanese, Asim Goreshi whistles in his Brisbane taxi cab. And Mongolian, Bukhchuluun Ganburged (Bukhu) plays the Mongolian morin khuur (horse head fiddle) and throat sings on a Newtown corner. Each player delivers a distinct sound with a particularity of technique that is inflected with its cultural origin.
Arranged as a video ensemble of four screens facing inwards, Mesiti syncopates all performances and compresses the audiences’ concentration. We witness each performer individually, before a cacophony is produced by playing the four soundtracks together.
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Artist Angelica Mesiti brings Hurstville to life after dark. The Begin-Again is a dynamic, vibrant new contemporary art tour which runs across two nights on 1 and 2 April 2011 from dusk to midnight.
The Begin-Again features four large-scale video installations and a live performance in Hurstville’s laneways and shopping centre. Involving over 90 local residents aged between five and 88 years old, it is a showcase of vivid imagery: dancers waltz across a lantern-lit skyline; children stage a historic pantomime; a local tenor sings an ode to the river; neon coloured cars pulsate with smoke and music; a Chinese New Year dragon moves fluidly to beating drums on a high rise building. Through a deliberate remix of sub-cultures and traditions, this unique public art event transforms the local landscape into images of striking beauty.
Angelica Mesiti (2011), for C3West Project and the MCA. Multi Channel Installation in Hurstville. Produced by Bridget Ikin and Jodie Passmore.
The Begin-Again publication (Museum of Contemporary Art Australia)
art + soul is a three-part 1 hr documentary series made by Warwick Thornton & Hetti Perkins.
art + soul is the powerful and emotionally engaging television series about contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, and the artists that create it.
Hetti Perkins, the writer and presenter of art + soul, is an Eastern Arrernte and Kalkadoon desert woman, Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), daughter of political activist Charles Perkins and sister of filmmaker Rachel Perkins (First Australians, Bran Nue Dae).
Directed by Warwick Thornton; written and presented by Hetti Perkins; produced by Bridget Ikin and Jo-anne McGowan.
Funded by Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and with the assistance of the Australia Council for the Arts. Developed and produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
My Year Without Sex is a kind of a love story about all the big questions, and even more of the small ones. Over one messy year, Ross and Natalie navigate their children, nits, housework, birthdays, Christmas, faith, football, job insecurity, more nits, and whether they will ever have sex again.
Written and directed by Sarah Watt; produced by Bridget Ikin; associated producer Barbara Masel.
East Timor, 1975. As Indonesia prepares to invade the tiny nation of East Timor, five Australian based journalists go missing.
Four weeks later, veteran foreign correspondent Roger East is lured to East Timor by the young and charismatic Jose Ramos-Horta to tell the story of his country and investigate the fate of the missing men. As East's determination to uncover the truth grows, the threat of invasion intensifies and an unlikely friendship develops between the last foreign correspondent in East Timor and the man who will become President.
Balibo is a political thriller that tells the true story of crimes that have been covered up for over thirty years.
Directed by Robert Connolly; written by David Williamson and Robert Connolly; produced by John Maynard.
Romulus, My Father is based on Raimond Gaita's critically acclaimed memoir and won the AFI Award for Best Film, 2007.
It tells the story of Romulus (Eric Bana), his beautiful wife Christina (Franka Potente) and their struggle in the face of great adversity to bring up their son, Raimond. It is a story of impossible love that celebrates the unbreakable bond between father and son.
Meryl imagines disaster coming from every direction – train crashes, man-eating sharks, baby-eating killer whales … and then there’s Nick.
The most critically acclaimed Australian film of 2005, Look Both Ways is an innovative mix of animation and live action, set over a scorchingly hot weekend, when people dealing with unexpected events find their lives intersecting. Nick visits a doctor for a routine medical and is given a devastating diagnosis but has to wait until Monday for specialist advice. Meryl, returning from a funeral, has until Monday to finish her project or lose her job. Andy is thrown by his girlfriend's ultimatum and has to consider the news of her unplanned pregnancy. The convergence of their paths creates an intriguing picture; intimate, universal and uplifting.
Written and directed by Sarah Watt; produced by Bridget Ikin; associate producer Barbara Masel.
Opening night, Adelaide Film Festival 2005.
Discovery Award: Toronto Film Festival, 2005.
FIPRESCI Award, Brisbane film Festival, 2005.
Special Screening: Critics’ Week, Cannes 2006.
Queensland Literary Awards 2004: Best Film Script.
4 AFI Awards, 2005: Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Tony Hayes)
5 Film Critics Circle awards, 2005: Best Film, Director, Actor (William McInnes), Screenplay, Editing
3 IF Awards, 2005: Best Director, Screenplay, Editing
Most Popular Film: Adelaide Film Festival, 2005, Brisbane Film Festival, 2005
Best Screenplay: Mar del Plata Film Festival, 2006
Best Actress (Justine Clarke): Mar del Plata Film Festival, 2006
Critics Award: Rotterdam Film Festival 2006; NatFilm Festival (Denmark) 2006
Audience Award: Best Narrative Feature: San Francisco Film Festival 2006
Best Actress (Justine Clarke): Vladivostock Film Festival, 2006
Audience Award: Womens’ Film Festival, Dortmund, Cologne, Germany 2006
Nominated European Film Academy: Non-European Film Award category 2005
Three Dollars is the story of Eddie (David Wenham), an honest, compassionate man who finds himself with a wife, a child, and three dollars.
Eddie's world revolves around the three women in his life: his brilliant wife Tanya (Frances O'Connor), a passionate academic, their six year old daughter Abby (Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik), who heightens the stakes on every decision Eddie makes, and his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful, privileged Amanda (Sarah Wynter), who re-appears in his life with mathematical certainty every nine and a half years.
At any other time the world would have smiled on Eddie. But times have changed and the world values other things.
Surviving with a blend of self-depreciating wit, spirited sensitivity and a big heart, Eddie's life is rich with the pleasures and pains of love, family, friendship and marriage.
But with only three dollars to his name Eddie will be faced with a choice that will change the direction of his life forever.
Directed by Robert Connolly; produced by John Maynard.
"I'm like God but with a better suit," declares Centabank CEO, Simon O'Reilly (Anthony LaPaglia) with pride. Welcome to the world of The Bank, ripe with avarice and corruption, where O'Reilly and his ilk can thrive and honest Aussie battlers lose everything.
Enter Jim Doyle (David Wenham) a maverick mathematician who has devised a formula to predict the fluctuations of the stock market. When he joins O'Reilly's fold, he must first prove his loyalty to the "greed is good" ethos. Which way will he go? What does he have to hide?
A heady, exciting thriller where imagination, genius and humanity collide with unabashed greed.
Written and directed by Robert Connolly; produced by John Maynard.
'No evidence, just a smell of sex and violence'
Lesbian private investigator Jill Fitzpatrick (Susie Porter - Mullet, Better Than Sex) is between jobs and between partners, when she gets a call to take on a missing person case.
The case is a literature student called Mickey (Abbie Cornish) who frequents poetry readings and hero worships Sydney's senior poets, to whom she also pens her own, highly emotive and sexually confronting poems.
Jill interviews Mickey's lecturer, Diana (Kelly McGillis - Witness, Top Gun) but finds herself instantly attracted to this sensuous, mysterious - and married - woman. Will passion get in the way of her profession as Diana becomes a suspect? And can Jill risk her own life on the way to discovering the awful truth?
Written by Anne Kennedy; directed by Samantha Lang; produced by John Maynard.
Brett Sprague returns to his family home after twelve months in jail. Things have changed while he has been away: his brother Glenn has moved out with his girlfriend; Stevie's pregnant girlfriend Nola now lives with the family; and his mother Sandra has taken on a Maori drifter. Reunited with his brothers, Brett uses his first day back to restore order.
Directed by Rowan Woods; produced by John Maynard.
Moving East to West has turned their lives … upside down. Floating Life is a poignant and funny film about a Chinese family that falls apart after moving from Hong Kong to Australia. Gradually they find a way of coming together again.
Winner of the Silver Leopard award, Locarno Film Festival 1996.
Written Eddie L. C. Fong and Clara Law; directed by Clara Law; produced by Bridget Ikin.
In far North Queensland, 17-year-old boys do not dress up in women's clothing unless they have a very good reason!
In an attempt to reunite his family, which has fallen apart over a hocked piano, sensitive 17-year-old Mick O'Brien joins the all-girl "Total Fire Band" to earn some extra cash. He falls in love with the lead singer, Angela, who's been jilted by one too many lying men. She's hot for Mick too, but not just because he's cute and talented, but being a woman, he's sure to be honest!
Written and directed by Gerard Lee; produced by John Maynard.
With An Angel at My Table, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jane Campion brings to the screen the harrowing true-life story of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. The film follows Frame along her inspiring journey, from a poverty-stricken childhood to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and electroshock therapy to, finally, international literary fame. Beautifully capturing the colour and power of the New Zealand landscape, the film earned Campion a sweep of her country’s film awards and the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival.
Written by Laura Jones; directed by Jane Campion; produced by Bridget Ikin and John Maynard.
Key festivals (1990)
Venice (In Competition), Sydney, New York, Melbourne, NZ, Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle, Valladolid.
Special jury Prize (Silver Lion), Venice Film Festival 1990
Most Popular film, Sydney Film Festival 1990
International Critics Award, Toronto Film Festival 1990
Best Actress, Valladolid Film Festival 1990
6 New Zealand Film Awards 1990 - Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor
Best Film, Belgian Film Critics Awards 1992
Best Foreign Film, Chicago Film Critics Awards 1992
Best Foreign Film, IEP / West Independent Spirit Awards 1992
Best Screenplay: NSW Premier’s Prize for screenwriting (1990)
A group of seven sharp-minded English school leavers spend the weekend in a remote country house making their own horror video. Six return.
Written and directed by Anna Campion. Produced by Bridget Ikin and David Hazlitt.
Alison Maclean's debut feature film, Crush is an unnerving psychological thriller, focusing on the jealousy and hatred aroused by the dark side of sexuality and passion. It is a darkly comic tale of seduction, betrayal and revenge.
In competition, Cannes Film Festival 1992.
Co-written by Anne Kennedy and Alison Maclean; produced by Bridget Ikin and Trevor Haysom.
Jane Campion's stunning debut feature, Sweetie, focuses on the hazardous relationship between the buttoned-down, superstitious Kay and her rampaging, devil-may-care sister, "Sweetie, and by extension, their entire family's rotten roots.
A feast of colourful photography and captivating, idiosyncratic characters, the tough and tender Sweetie heralded the emergence of this gifted director as well as the breakthrough of Australian cinema, which would take the international film world by storm in the nineties.
From the bowels of the kitchen sink comes a dark and tender love. A nightmare come true. Kitchen Sink is beloved 14-minute short film about fear and desire.
In competition, Cannes Film Festival 1989.
Written and directed by Alison Maclean; produced by Bridget Ikin.
Watch (AUS/NZ only)
Griffin is nine years old. He's haunted by fragments of a dream. He sees a journey - a celestial city, a great cathedral, and a figure roped to a steeple, about to fall....
It is Cumbria 1348, the year of the Black Death. A medieval mining town lives in fear of the advancing plague. Griffin's older brother Connor returns from the outside world in a state of despair, until Griffin tells of his dream and reveals their only source of survival. Make tribute to God. Place a spire on a distant cathedral. Do it before dawn or the village will be lost.
Griffin sets out on a bizarre journey with Connor, Searle the pragmatist, Searle's naive brother Ulf, Martin the philosopher and Arno the one-handed ferryman. Together they tunnel through the earth to a new world - New Zealand, the antipodes, 1988. But Griffin has a chilling new premonition... one of them will die at the cathedral.
Directed by Vincent Ward; produced by John Maynard.
Jonah becomes the talkback host for a night, when her sometime lover Roger, the regular host, walks out. An original 50-minute drama by Alison Maclean. Produced by Bridget Ikin.
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Filled with the misty gray light and ghostly blue-green grass which have become signature of many New Zealand Films, VIGIL is the quietly powerful coming-of-age story of a young girl isolated by loss and environment. A film by Vincent Ward with Penelope Stewart.