Beat’s top picks from the 2020 St Kilda Film Festival program

Beat’s top picks from the 2020 St Kilda Film Festival program

Peel: An Exercise in Disipline (1982)

You won’t want to miss these incredible offerings.

St Kilda Film Festival kicks off this Friday and with the whole program completely free to stream from home until the festival wraps up on Saturday June 20, there’s really no reason not to check out this year’s incredible spread of Australian films. The expansive program is bursting with short films across a range of genres, from documentary and coming of age to comedy and action, as well as retrospectives looking back at iconic works from some of Australia’s most celebrated filmmakers and so much more. Whether you’re a filmmaker, a cinema buff or you’re just looking for something good to watch, St Kilda Film Festival 2020 has got you covered and to point you in the right direction, we’ve put together a list of our top picks from this year’s program.

Gary Foley: Basically Black

Join one of Australia’s most recognised Indigenous performers and activists, Gary Foley, for a unique journey through his life on the stage, screen, politics and advocacy. Featuring a special live presentation by Foley and introductions to two classic ’70s works, this focus is a rare opportunity to get under the skin of one of the most idiosyncratic, pioneering and well-known Australian stage, screen and political voices. Screening online as part of this program are Phillip Noyce’s fabulous works Castor & Pollux: A Tale of Two Spiritual Brothers (1973), which inspired Gary to agree to perform in Noyce’s later work, Backroads (1977). You can also join Gary Foley and Tony Birch in Conversation at 7:30pm on Tuesday June 16.

Forming Jane Campion

Another retrospective package, this year the St Kilda Film Festival pays tribute to one of the region’s most celebrated filmmakers, Jane Campion. Having received two consecutive Cannes selections and one Short Film Palme d’Or, her early films are still refreshing, surprising and full of texture. This program presents her five key early short works: Peel: An Exercise in Disipline (1982), After Hours (1984), A Girl’s Own Story (1984), Passionless Moments (1983) and Lady Bug (2007). If you fancy yourself a fan of Australian cinema and haven’t seen Campion’s early films, be sure to strap yourself in for Forming Jane Campion and let the education begin.

World Perspectives

A specially curated program, World Perspectives is a richly textured documentary program which brings an Australian eye to offshore stories, issues and cultures in always surprising and big-screen ways. A cinematographer’s and storyteller’s delight, the program encompasses four documentaries that will take you from the Ganges to Northern Argentina’s vast desert plains. The films in this category range from between four and 40 minutes in length, so why not dip your toe in? Not only are they cinematically stunning, but this insightful collection will certainly leave you with plenty to think about.

Shifting the Gaze: Focus on Women Filmmakers

Presenting new films from women filmmakers, this excellent program includes short documentaries, lovely essay and experimental works, biographies and thrillers. Featuring six short films, Shifting the Gaze: Focus on Women Filmmakers hones in one the perspectives of females, both behind the lens and in front of it. From portraying revolutionary female artists in 1920s Russia in I want to make a film about women to Smoke Prono‘s exploration of sexuality and intimacy through the eyes of a woman learning to navigate the world of sex, this collection looks to women in film showcasing complex, multi-dimensional female experiences.

The Big Picture

If you’re in the industry, don’t miss The Big Picture series of free talks covering everything from writing, producing and cinematography to marketing and distribution of films. There are 17 live forums that you can be part of for free and all you need to do is jump on the website to register. You can pick the brains of some of Australia’s most established names in film and gain expert advice in everything from sourcing music for film to lighting, directing, producing and writing.

St Kilda Film Festival is happening from Friday June 12 until Saturday June 20. Check out the full program and stream this year’s festival for free via the SKFF website

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