ABOUT THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL
This autumn has been all about the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the fall of communism in central Europe. Freedom, therefore, has been chosen as the overarching theme of this year’s Australian and New Zealand film festival program. The selection of films from the festival will be screened in Prague cinemas from the 1st to the 6th of November. The movie screenings and accompanying program of events will also bring attention to such topical concerns as environmental protection and women’s rights and self-determination. In addition to the screenings at Lucerna and Ponrepo cinemas, there will also be a screening and debate held at Atlas cinema as well as a discussion at the Vaclav Havel Library about Czechoslovak emigration to Australia and New Zealand. Two exhibitions will also be held as part of the festival.
The clash of indigenous and European cultures, immigration and tolerance – all longstanding important themes in Australian and New Zealand filmmaking – will play an important role in the films to be screened at the 6th annual Aussie and Kiwi Film Fest. And none more so than the festival’s opening night movie, Ladies in Black (Lucerna, 1.11.2019 at 8pm), which uses humour to illustrate the prejudices and preconceptions of, and about, Australians. This Bruce Beresford directed film won awards for Best Actress, Best Original Music Score and Best Costume Design from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts in 2018. At the gala opening, audiences will hear Aboriginal mission songs sung live by the indigenous Australian singer, Jessie Lloyd. An exhibition of photographs by Jiří Jírů, called “Havel in New Zealand”, taken on the president’s visit to the Pacific in 1995, will also be on display in Lucerna café for the duration of the festival.
In recent times women’s self-determination has emerged as an important topic in New Zealand and Pacific Islander cinema. This year’s festival highlights this through inclusion of the movie Vai (Ponrepo, 2.11.2019, at 3pm), an atypical film made up of short vignettes filmed by nine female directors in various countries of the Pacific – Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Niue and New Zealand. The filmmakers focus on the experiences of women who leave their families and traditions behind in search of education or work. The word ‘vai’ means ‘water’ in all Pacific Island languages.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a cult gem of Australian cinema which celebrates the freedom of sexual minorities. A screening of this film will be held on 2nd of November, the 25th anniversary of the premiere of this legendary road movie. The screening will be preceded by a live on stage drag show from the group Hanky Panky. Following the movie, there will be an after party at Champagneria Bar at Průchodní Street with wines from festival partner Foltýn Wine.
The screening of the Australian drama Buoyancy (Atlas, 4.11.2019 at 5pm), which won the Ecumenical Jury Prize at Berlinale, will be accompanied by a discussion on the topic of “How to free modern day slaves in the fishing industry”. The discussion will include experts from the organisation La Strada and the Institute of International Relations and will be moderated by Michael Rozsypal from Czech Radio Plus.
Vaclav Havel Library will host an evening entitled “The journey of Czechoslovaks in search of freedom down under + Havel in the Pacific” on Tuesday, 5th of November at 7pm. The evening will be hosted by Markéta Vozková, Festival Project Manager.
Even before the official start of this year’s festival, there will be a gallery opening of the exhibition “Dreamtime: A view into the mythical world of the original inhabitants of Australia” at Champagneria Bar on the 29th of October, 2019 which will present modern day art from Down Under. For the duration of the festival, visitors who present their Aussie & Kiwi Film Fest cinema ticket will also receive 10% off at the Champagneria Bar.
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