The 2017 Adelaide Film Festival Launches Program!



5 – 15 October 2017

The 2017 ADL Film Fest, themed Vive Le Punk for the 40th anniversary of the punk movement, will set the tone for its eleven day event with a spectacular Opening Night on Thursday 5 October. Kicking tradition firmly out the window, the Opening Night event will be an after-dark festive carnival of cinema surprises, presenting a bold and audacious plunge into the future of screen storytelling.


Opening night guests will be immersed in the 360° world of The Summation of Force VR, sharing a simultaneous connection through the world premiere screening. The Summation of Force VR is a must-see cinematic treat created by renowned artists Trent Parke, Narelle Autio together with filmmaker Matthew Bate.


This remarkable and cutting-edge screening event will gather the opening night audience to the heart of South Australia’s digital revolution at the urban industrial space at Tonsley Innovation Precinct, which will be hijacked by a glittering and star-studded red carpet, a frenzy of food trucks and an embarrassment of digital riches, as guests wander through the sideshow alley of the Digital Carnivale. Sample a hologram, play a game, experience new and exciting screen works and see things you’ll never forget.


Opening night kicks off 11 days of festival fervour featuring 23 World Premieres and 40 Australian Premieres among 142 films encompassing feature films, documentaries, virtual reality, shorts and moving image works. With its new home in Adelaide’s West End, at the state-of-the-art GU Film House Hindley Street, sessions at Mercury, Palace Eastend and a pop-up festival hub in Port Adelaide, the 2017 ADL Film Fest has the west, east, north and south covered with something for everyone.


Closing Night features the Australian Premiere of Sophie Fiennes’ stunning documentary GRACE JONES: BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI followed by a gala party. Exhilarating live performances are expertly woven into candid footage of Jones in Paris, and visiting family and friends on a highly personal road trip through Jamaica.


The Jury determining the International Best Feature Fiction Award is acclaimed taboo-smashing actress and UN Peace Ambassador Leena Alam (Afghanistan), multi-award winning producer Catherine Fitzgerald (New Zealand), Head of EYE International for the promotion of Dutch cinema Martin Rabarts (Netherlands), Locarno 2016 Best Director winner for The Ornotholgist João Pedro Rodrigues (Portugal), and acclaimed Australian producer Miranda Dear (Blackfella Films).


The ten feature films In Competition include 6 Australian Premieres* and features from Cannes, Toronto and Karlovy Vary film festivals. They are Boris Khlebnikov’s ARRYTHMIA* (Russia, Finalnd, Germany), Mikhail Red’s BIRDSHOT* (Philippines, Qatar), Ofir Raul Graizer’s THE CAKEMAKER* (Germany, Israel), Luca Guadagnino’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Italy, France), Rungano Nyoni’s I AM NOT A WITCH (France, UK), John Cameron Mitchell’s HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES* (UK, USA), Mahommad Rasoulof’s A MAN OF INTEGRITY (Iran), Pedro Pinho’s THE NOTHING FACTORY* (Portugal), Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winner THE SQUARE (Denmark, Germany, Sweden, France) and Joachim Trier’s THELMA* (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France).


The Flinders University International Best Documentary Award will be determined by internationally renowned and acclaimed documentary practitioners Molly Reynolds (Australia), Hania Mroué (Lebanon) and Eva Orner (Australia). Now in its second edition, the Award recognises the authenticity, curiosity and fearlessness of truth on screen and is marked in 2017 by two world premieres and four Australian premieres amongst the ten films in competition.


In Competition are the World Premieres of Anne Tsoulis’ Gaza invasion story FROM UNDER THE RUBBLE (Australia) and Danny Ben-Moshe’s personal journey to find his half-siblings from his mother’s first marriage MY MOTHER’S LOST CHILDREN (Australia).


Australian Premieres are Ai Weiwei’s highly anticipated study of displaced people, filmed across 23 countries over the course of a year, HUMAN FLOW (Germany, US), direct from Competition at the Venice International Film Festival. Lana Wilson’s THE DEPARTURE (US) focuses on a Japanese Zen priest who specialises in working with the suicidal, Lefteris Charitos’ visually stunning portrait of Jacques Mayol DOLPHIN MAN (Japan, Greene, Canada, France, Italy) and Ziad Zalthoum’s dreamlike documentary about the Syrian construction workers virtually imprisoned on the site of the Beirut skyscrapers they build, TASTE OF CEMENT (Germany, Syria Qatar, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates).


Completing the competition lineup is Tali Shamesh & Asaf Sudri’s DEATH IN THE TERMINAL (Israel), Angès Varda’s FACES PLACES (France), Gaylene Preston’s MY YEAR WITH HELEN (New Zealand), and Slavko Martinov’s PECKING ORDER (New Zealand).


2017 sees the introduction of a new competition, the AFTRS International Virtual Reality Award to be judged by a jury comprised of AFTRS Head of Documentary Rachel Landers (Australia), Google Global Creative Team’s Creative Technologist Mathew Tizard and ADL Film Fest’s Artistic Director and VR champion Amanda Duthie. The ten VR works competing for the inaugural Award are from screen creators from Australia, Denmark, France, Senegal, South Korea, United Kingdom and the United States.  You can find ADL Film Fest’s VR Lounge presented by JumpgateVR at the Festival Box Office at GU Film House.


The first Australian festival to invest directly in film production, ADL Film Fest Fund first premiered in 2005. Over eight festivals the Fund has invested in 86 projects – from feature fiction to moving image, TV series to shorts. One of the most renowned and successful festival funding initiatives, AFFFund projects have now received over 175 national awards and over 90 international awards. The Fund has seen the launch of award-winning Australian screen creatives, with their films being selected for all of the world’s leading festivals including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Telluride, Toronto and Sundance.


In 2017, ADL Film Festival Fund premieres three feature films, the World Premieres of Yolande Ramke and Ben Howling’s CARGO starring Martin Freeman, Susie Porter, Anthony Hayes, Natasha Wanganeen and David Gupilil, Sophie Hyde’s F*!#ING ADELAIDE starring Pamela Rabe, Kate Box, Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Brendan Maclean and the Australian Premiere, direct from Official Competition at the Venice Film Festival, of Warwick Thornton’s SWEET COUNTRY starring Bryan Brown, Sam Neill and Hamilton Morris.


ADL Film Festival Fund presents the World Premieres of two major feature documentaries. Larissa Behrendt’s AFTER THE APOLOGY focuses on a group of grandmothers taking on the system over the increase in Indigenous child removal in the years following Kevin Rudd’s apology to the “Stolen Generations”. Matthew Sleeth’s GUILTY is a cinematic portrait of days leading up to the execution of Bali Nine drug smuggler Myuran Sukumaran who became an accomplished artist while in prison. Highlighting the last 72 hours of his life, and the painting he created during that time, the film crafts a deeply personal story about grief, arts and redemption. Also World Premiering from the AFF Fund is Richard Jasek’s one hour documentary MAKING A MARK which follows the journey of artists competing for the inaugural Ramsay Art Prize.


Completing the  2017 Fund slate is the world premieres of short films REMEMBERING AGATHA, ODDLANDS and BRUMLEY’S SUITCASE. 


Screen Worship sees the World Premiere of Axel Grigor’s JILL BILCOCK: DANCING THE INVISIBLE, a hugely entertaining documentary about the editor behind Baz Luhrmann’s red curtain trilogy of Strictly Ballroom (1992), Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Moulin Rouge! (2001), Australian classics Muriel’s Wedding (1994), Dogs in Space (1986) and The Dressmaker (2015) among many others. Bilcock’s cheeky charm and illuminating appearances by key collaborators make this a must-see for film lovers.


Music & Punk take centre stage with the Australian Premiere of Susanna Nicchiarelli’s NICO, 1988 (Belgium, Italy) starring Trine Dyrholm as Nico, Andy Warhol’s muse and singer with Velvet Underground in a stunning biopic that opens Venice Film Festival’s Horizons Section this week. Julien Temple’s priceless punk rock document from 1980, THE GREAT ROCK’N’ROLL SWINDLE screens on 35mm and will be followed by a Skype Q&A with Temple himself.


Punk gems screening include the electrifying document of American punk at its white-hot peak, Penelope Spheeris’ THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILISATION (1981) and the first British punk movie, Derek Jarman’s JUBILEE (1978).


Australian Indigenous cinema is celebrated throughout the program, featuring the World Premiere of Nakkiah Lui’s absurdist comedy about a good black girl in a bad white world KIKI AND KITTY, directed by Catriona McKenzie. Documentaries featured include NAMATJIRA PROJECT, directed by Sera Davies, about the renowned artist, and  Paul Williams’ THE DOCUMENTARY OF DR G YUNUPINGU’S LIFE.  ADL Film Festival marks the 21st anniversary of the FROM SAND TO CELLULOID collection, which premiered an extraordinary generation of Indigenous talent, with a special event screening followed by a forum which brings them together the new generation of Indigenous storytellers.


Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, the first of many extraordinary collaborations between Rolf de Heer and David Gulpilil, THE TRACKER, featuring the amazing and haunting soundtrack sung by Archie Roach, will return to the big screen, premiering its new digital restoration for a rare and must-see presentation.


The World Cinema program strand of 12 feature films brings Adelaide audiences the new work of celebrated filmmakers including, from this year’s Cannes, Faith Akin’s IN THE FADE (France, Germany), Michael Haneke’s HAPPY END (Germany, Austria, France), Todd Haynes WONDERSTRUCK (United States) and Yorgos Lanthimos’ THE KILLING OF THE SACRED DEER (Ireland, UK); and from Berlin, Sally Potter’s THE PARTY (UK), Sebastián Lelio’s A FANTASTIC WOMAN (Chile, Germany, US, Spain), Ildiké Enyedi’s ON BODY & SOUL (Hungary), Amit Masurkar’s NEWTON (India) and the second feature by Samoan New Zealander Tusi Tamasese (The Orator), ONE THOUSAND ROPES (New Zealand). World Cinema also features the South Australian Premiere of International Jury member João Pedro Rodrigues’ THE ORNITHOLOGIST (Portugal, Brazil, France), for which he was awarded Best Director at the Locarno International Film Festival.


Closer to home, the (Port) ADL Film Fest is a diverse program presented in unique locations steeped in rich history. Celebrate the Port on the big screen, learn more about the locations that have made the Port a star on the big screen and enjoy the World Premiere screenings of Shalom Almond’s PRISONERS AND PUPS, and Mike Retter’s love letter to the Port, YOUTH ON THE MARCH.


Program strand Up Late includes the Australian Premieres of the culmination of Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage trilogy, OUTRAGE CODA (Japan), a special Skype Q&A event with prolific Ugandan director Nabwana I.G.G. following a screening of his outrageous, unique and highly surprising action feature BAD BLACK (Uganda).


Program strand Undead showcases Joe Lynch’s horror-thriller set within a corporate satire MAYHEM (United States), and documentary SPOOKERS (New Zealand, Australia) in which director Florian Habicht takes us behind the scenes at Auckland’s phenomenally successful horror theme park to meet the people who earn a living as an insane clown or a zombie bride.


The festival’s Australian Showcase includes the Australian premiere, direct from Toronto International Film Festival’s Discovery section,  of Stephen McCallum’s 1% written by and starring Matt Nable,  plus the world premiere screening of SA-shot thriller by David Pulbrook, starring Xavier Samuel, BAD BLOOD,  and the local premiere of Luke Shanahan’s gothic fairytale RABBIT starring Adelaide Clemens.


Australian True Stories include the World Premiere of Nickolas Bird & Eleonor Sharpe’s study of men and their bikes in MAMIL (Middle Aged Men in Lycra), narrated by cycling’s David Stratton, Phil Liggett, and the moving story of the family of Su Goldfish with her autobiographical documentary THE LAST GOLDFISH.


Border Shift is a collection of works shining a spotlight on the most urgent humanitarian crisis of our time, the human tragedy of people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution.  The six titles featured paint a must-see portrait of the world we live in and offer a deeper perspective to this issue.


Four Australian Premieres feature in Once Was Water, a collection of documentaries featuring the first-hand account of the impact of climate change on Kisilu Musya’s farm and family in Kenya, shot with the camera given to him by Norwegian filmmaker Julie Dahr, with the resulting THANK YOU FOR THE RAIN (Norway, UK) following Musya all the way to the Paris Climate Conference where he was invited to speak and share his story. This session will be introduced by global adventurer, explorer and environmental scientist Tim Jarvis, co-recipient of the 2016 Jim Bettison and Helen James Award, alongside this program stream presenting partner, SA Water.


A special Sunday Family screening is stop-motion delight MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI (France, Switzerland), winner of multiple international awards including Best Feature and the Audience Award from Annecy International Animated Film Festival. And for those that grew up with the classic Winnie-the-Pooh books, the story behind the stories, in Australian Premiere of Simon Curtis’ GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (UK).  Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie and Kelly Macdonald star in a film about the relationship between A.A.Milne and his son, Christopher Robin.


And that’s not all – interrogate the program for much, much more – with full details and further films in the sections mentioned above in addition to collections of shorts, feature animations, films about architecture, screen worship, the environment and more. We are delighted to partner with KOJO to present our diverse Talks and Forums program this year.


In 2017 & 2018 ADL Film Fest will run alongside a new sister event Hybrid World Adelaide, an interactive tech based event, for the digitally curious and the screen obsessed, at Tonsley Innovation Precinct from 4-8 October. For more information, go to


Adelaide Film Festival would not be possible without the support of Major Government Partner Arts South Australia and the long-standing support of Principal Partner Channel 9 and Major Partners Screen Australia, South Australian Film Corporation, Adelaide City Council, Flinders University, NATION and INex.




BOX OFFICE for in-person sales at GU Film House, 128 Hindley St opens September 20.



NEW Festival Box Office, VR Lounge and main screening venue is GU Film House, 128 Hindley St

Sessions also at Mercury Cinema, 13 Morphett St

Limited sessions at Palace Eastend, 251 Rundle St

(Port) ADL Film Fest – Hart’s Mill & The Manhattan Room