The London Australian Film Festival 2008

The London Australian Film Festival 2008

The London Australian Film Festival (Thursday 6 to Sunday 16 March) is fast approaching and due to popular demand selected films including All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane, Bra Boys and Two Hands are to receive additional screenings.

Also, the votes are now in for The Ultimate AusFlick, for which the LAFF teamed up with TNT Magazine to offer audiences the chance to choose their favourite Australian film to be screened as part of this year’s festival. Hundreds of votes were cast and the LAFF is proud to present the winning film, the hilarious low-fi comedy The Castle, screening on Tuesday 11th March.



OPENING GALA: Unfinished Sky
Thursday 6 March, 7.30pm, Cinema 1
Thursday 13 March, 6.30pm
Friday 14 March, 8.40pm, Cinema 1
Only recently completed yet already highly acclaimed, Peter Duncan’s Unfinished Sky stars William McInnes as John, a reclusive farmer whose solitude is broken when battered Afghan refugee Tahmeena (Monic Hendrickx) stumbles into his life. Despite initial reservations and a language barrier, they slowly develop an understanding; Tahmeena recounting the harsh realities of her life. But when John decides to act upon what Tahmeena has told him, he lets the outside world intrude upon their quiet existence and places them both in jeopardy. Beautifully shot, Unfinished Sky features ravishing Queensland landscapes as a backdrop to a beautifully acted, moving story of compassion and the strength of the human spirit. (15*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Peter Duncan 91 min) Winner of the Audience Award for Best Feature, Brisbane Film Festival 2007

CLOSING GALA: Romulus, My Father
Sunday 16 March, 3.00pm, Cinema 1
Set in the dramatic landscape of rural Victoria and based on the traumatic childhood memoirs of philosopher Raimond Gaita, Romulus, My Father is a heart-breaking story of familial love and loss via the post-war immigrant experience. It’s the early 1960s and 9 year-old Raimond (Kodi Smit-McPhee) lives a rustic yet happy life with his Yugoslavian father (Eric Bana as the titular Romulus) while his mother Christina (Franke Potente) is away working in Melbourne, only to return home and turn their lives upside down. For his debut as director, actor Richard Roxburgh (seen in Moulin Rouge and Van Helsing) draws deeply affecting performances from the entire cast especially talented newcomer Smitt-McPhee as well as Bana, in a marked change from his Hollywood roles. (15*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Richard Roxburgh 104 min) Winner of AFI Award for Best Film 2007


Friday 7 March, 8.40pm
Sunday 9 March, 7.30pm
Oscar nominated, multi award winning actor Heath Ledger has been a regular feature in The London Australian Festival from his early films Blackrock and Paws (1997) to his first lead role in AFI winner Two Hands (1999), the world-wide hit Ned Kelly (2003) and most recently the critically acclaimed Candy (2006). LAFF 08 pays tribute to the acclaimed star, who will be much missed, with a special screening of his first major Australian film, Two Hands.

20-year-old Ledger’s lead role in this Australian box office hit earned him a plethora of awards and the coveted attention of the Hollywood casting directors. Ledger plays a young would-be hustler in Sydney’s Kings Cross who loses a gangster’s money and has to pull his first ‘job’ to avoid the consequences. But distraction comes in the form of the girl of his dreams. Bryan Brown and Rose Byrne also star in this stunning film which is funny, violent, charming and shocking by turns. (15) (Australia 1999 Dir. Gregor Jordan 103 min)

THE TNT ULTIMATE AUSFLICK: The Castle – Monday 11 March, 8.40pm, Cinema 1
The London Australian Film Festival teamed up with TNT Magazine to offer audiences the chance to decide the Ultimate AusFlick and have it screened as part of this year’s festival. Hundreds of votes were cast and the LAFF is proud to present the winning film, the hilarious low-fi comedy The Castle. The Kerrigans live right by the airport – so close, in fact, that it’s practically their back yard. But when the airport authorities want to expand, the family home comes under threat and the battle begins. Warm, funny and an inspiration especially for anyone living in the vicinity of Heathrow or Stansted at the moment. (15) (Aus 1997 Dir. Rob Sitch 82min)

Kalaupapa Heaven
 and Salvation plus ScreenTalk – Tuesday 11 March, 6.00pm, Cinema 3
The LAFF 2008 is delighted present a double-bill of director Paul Cox’s recent works.

Kalaupapa Heaven
Following his 1999 fictionalised film Molokai: The Story of Father Damien, Cox felt compelled to return to Kalaupapa to film this moving and respectful documentary about the trials and hardships the residents of the world’s most famous leprosy colony. Even though mandatory quarantine of the residents ended in 1969, many have chosen to stay in the lush and tropical haven of Kalaupapa, telling through interviews, photos and home movies, how inspirational their life stories are. (12a*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Paul Cox 90 min)

Cox’s latest project tells the story of three interconnected characters. Irina has left her native Russia to support her mother and daughter, and has found herself involved in a life of prostitution. Gloria and Barry are married. She is a tele-evangelist with a thriving church franchise. Barry her husband although a biblical scholar, is still looking for the light. After years of supporting Gloria, he wants out, and by confiding in Irina and her services, finds the strength to share a better life.
(12a*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Paul Cox 105 min)


Cross Life
Friday 7 March, 6.15pm, Cinema 1
With a script gleaned from her previous documentary, director Claire McCarthy’s Cross Life is a multi-stranded portrait of life in Sydney’s infamous and culturally diverse inner city red-light district; King’s Cross. What results is a gritty and involving tale of ordinary people pained by the desire for love. (18*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Claire McCarthy 100 min)

Friday 7 March, 20.40, Cinema 1
Wednesday 12 March, 6.00pm
On a Melbourne suburban train, a young woman sits with headphones blaring, oblivious to a terrible crime being committed in her carriage. Meanwhile, a young cop who mans a mobile incident centre, is pitched into the chaos of the crime whilst fighting his own battle with chronic tinnitus. Matthew Saville’s stunning drama ratchets up the anticipation as the paths of the young policeman and the woman on the train draw closer together. (18*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Matthew Saville 107 min) Winner of the AFI Award for Best Sound 2007

Dr Plonk
Saturday 8 March, 3.00pm, Cinema 1
In a bid to recycle a batch of expired film stock, legendary filmmaker Rolf de Heer utilized its grainy look to pay modern homage to the likes of Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd with the black and white romp Dr Plonk. In the early 1900s, Dr Plonk discovers the world will end in 2008 so invents a time machine to go and investigate, with some pleasingly slapstick results… (U*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Rolf de Heer 85 min)

The Home Song Stories
Saturday 8 March, 6.15pm, Cinema 1 & Monday 10 March, 8.40pm, Cinema 1
Writer/Director Tony Ayres’ autobiographical The Home Song Stories is the haunting tale of his mother Rose (Joan Chen), a glamorous 70s Shanghai nightclub singer who moves her family to Australia with her new husband. After the marriage fails, the emotionally unstable Rose moves from man to man in a bid to find love in this moving account of unrequited love, betrayal, displacement and identity. (18*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Tony Ayres 103 min) Winner of 8 AFI awards 2007

Lucky Miles
Saturday 8 March, 8.40pm, Cinema 1
Sunday 16 March, 12.00pm
Illegal immigration makes unlikely subject material for this comedy caper set in remote and harsh north Western Australia. Abandoned by Indonesian fishermen on a deserted beach, a group of Cambodian and Iraqi refugees must overcome cultural differences and band together in a bid to find their way and preserve their freedom. Lucky Miles tackles a controversial topic with empathetic compassion and healthy irreverence. (15*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Michael James Rowland 105 min) Winner of the Audience Award for best feature Sydney Film Festival 2007

Sunday 9 March, 6.15pm, Cinema 1
A broodingly meditative film set in the wheatbelt of outback Australia during the late 60s, when legislation giving equal rights to Aboriginals tears apart racial segregation. Two boys, one black and one white, witness the rapid social change as the status quo is upset and racial tension brew. Striking landscapes, oppressive narrative silences and an exquisite score underpin this inaugural feature from the Tropfest team. (15*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Peter Carstairs 85 min)

Crocodile Dreaming

Filmed in the rugged stone country of Arnhem Land, Crocodile Dreaming is a contemporary dreamtime legend about two estranged brothers who struggle to come to terms with their traditional roles and identities but are reunited through the spirit of their mother. (15*) (
Aus 2007 Dir. Darlene Johnson 26 min)

Monkey Puzzle
Sunday 9 March, 8.40pm, Cinema 1
A posse of five friends embark on a hazardous journey in search of one of the world’s rarest trees: the Monkey Puzzle. As the group traverses the canyons and ravines of the Blue Mountains, they learn to survive in the harsh wilderness by relying on the strength of their friendship and facing their fears, uncovering deep secrets buried in the past with devastating consequences. (15*) (Australia 2007 Dir. Mark Forstmann 90min)

Boxing Day
Monday 10 March, 6.30pm, Cinema 3
Over one Boxing Day the Sykes family find their seasonal good intentions ripped to shreds as the appearance of an old friend wrecks the dinner which was meant to reconcile alcoholic Chris to his estranged wife and daughter. Shot in real-time in long takes that give the feeling of one continuous shot, Stenders’ follow-up to Blacktown and The Illustrated Family Doctor is a roughly-cut, brilliant jewel of experimental filmmaking. (18*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Kriv Stenders 81 min.)

Burke and Wills
Monday 10 March, 6.30pm, Cinema 1
A Jarmusch-esque exploration of the highs and lows of co-habiting, this debut from writer/directors Oliver Torr and Matthew Zeremes was shot over just 9 days in Sydney. Largely improvised, the film follows the bonding process of two flatmates, dreamer Wills and loner Burke, as it takes a turn for the worst. Both darkly comic and plain dark by turns. (18*) (Aus 2006 Dirs. Matthew Zeremes & Oliver Torr 74 min)

Black Water
Monday 10 March, 8.40pm, Cinema 3
A carefree trip to the swampy mangroves of Northern Australia turns to disaster at the jaws of a man-eating crocodile. Black Water is based on the true story of three young holidaymakers who find themselves trapped up a tree, unable to reach their capsized boat without being eaten. Bleak and unrelenting, Black Water was filmed in one of the most claustrophobic locations imaginable with real crocodiles adding to the film’s grim realism. (15) (Aus 2007 Dirs. David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki 90 min)

All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane

Saturday 8 March, 8.00pm
Tuesday 11 March, 6.30pm, Cinema 1
Two years after graduating, Anthea (Charlotte Gregg) is suffering a crisis of confidence as all of her friends couple-up or go traveling overseas whilst she remains single and in dire need of a career kick start. Witty and charming, Louise Alston’s romantic comedy (based on playwright Stephen Vagg’s highly successful stage play) stars some of Australia’s hottest young acting talent and great music from the Brisbane indie scene. (15*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Louise Alston 76 min)

Thursday 13 March, 6.15pm, Cinema 1
Kenny Smyth is the proud, understated hero who delivers portaloos to conferences, festivals and summer fetes. As Aussie as meat pies, the eponymous Kenny strives to juggle family tensions, fatherhood and sewage whilst still managing to keep a smile on his face. The brainchild of brothers Shane and Clayton Jacobson, Kenny first rose to prominence as a short film, winning Best Comedy and Audience Choice Awards at the 2004 St Kilda Film Festival. (15) (Aus 2006 Dir. Clayton Jacobson 99 min)

Thursday 13 March, 8.40pm, Cinema 1
Brenda Blethyn steals the show as Jean, a highly-strung monster mum in Cherie Nowlan’s coming of age dramedy. Having left the UK and a burgeoning career in stand-up comedy in the 1970s to follow her man to Australia, now middle-aged, Jean finds herself with a broken marriage, two teenage sons and one last chance to hit the big time. A huge success at the Sundance festival, this is a genuinely heartfelt and entertaining film. (15) (Aus 2007 Dir. Cherie Nowlan 105 min)

The Final Winter 

Saturday 15 March, 1.00pm, Cinema 1
It’s 1987 and Australia’s Rugby League faces commercialism and corporate sponsorship, but Grub Henderson is desperate to retain the game’s integrity. When an ongoing feud with his brother erupts on field, Grub comes into conflict with his entrepreneurial manager. With his future hanging in the balance, he must choose between his beliefs or swallowing his pride to save not only his career but his marriage too…
 (12a*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Jane Forrest 93 min)

Razzle Dazzle – A Journey into Dance
Saturday 15 March, 3.00pm, Cinema 1
This hilarious mockumentary follows rival kids dance troupes competing for Australia’s most prestigious dance medal. At the centre of the action is Mr. Jonathon (Ben Miller), a dance teacher whose routines highlight social issues like the liberation of Afghan woman from their Taliban oppressors. Top of his agenda is getting his sequined pupils to beat those of Miss Elizabeth, the current title holder who pours scorn on his left-field techniques.
 (PG) (Aus 2007 Dir. Darren Ashton 95 min)


In the Company of Actors
Saturday 8 March, 3.00pm, Cinema 3
With In the Company of Actors, director Ian Darling sets out to observe and question the creation of theatre. Taking Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and a cast of fine actors as his subject, Darling sets about breaking down the barrier between the theatre audience and the actors, going backstage to share open and often intimate moments with the likes of Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving as they prepare to perform at the prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. (U*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Ian Darling 78 min)

Forbidden Lie$
Saturday 8 March, 5.00pm, Cinema 3
Award winning filmmaker Anna Broinowski investigates claims that the best-selling ‘true’ story of a shocking honour killing in Jordan, ‘Forbidden Love’, and the identity of it’s author Norma Khouri are in fact fabricated. Traveling the world to question Norma’s family, her publishers and even the F.B.I., Broinowski’s search for answers uncovers truths stranger than any fiction in this utterly compelling lit-thriller. (12a) (Aus 2007 Dir. Anna Broinowski 106 min) Winner of the AFI Award for Best Documentary 2007

Sunday 9 March, 3.00pm, Cinema 3
Four countries, four seasons, one thing in common – Vivaldi’s classic Four Seasons concerto. Tim Slade’s highly enjoyable documentary travels the globe with four inspirational violinists, each with the task of interpreting a season. In Tokyo, spring brings anticipation of the cherry blossom, while summer in the Northern Territory of Australia is harsh and unforgiving. New York’s autumn brings beautiful colours, and finally the magically snowy landscape of northern Finland is the prefect home for Winter. (U*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Tim Slade 88 min)

Great Australian Albums: Diorama – Silverchair
Sunday 9 March, 5.00pm, Cinema 3
Described by Rolling Stone as ‘one of the boldest musical statements ever made by an Australian rock band’ Silverchair’s 2002 album Diorama marked a musical departure for the band, who exploded onto the scene in the nineties buoyed by the grunge wave of Nirvana. Talking candidly about their inspiration and motivation, the Newcastle-born trio reveal the truth behind the creative process that brought this iconic album into being. (PG*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Larry Meltzer 52 min)

Born Sandy Devotional – The Triffids
Led by singer/songwriter David McComb, The Triffids formed in Perth in 1978 then traveled to Sydney where they established a cult following, moving to London in the 1980s, where their album Born Sandy Devotional was described by the Guardian as ‘one of the dozen greatest albums of all time’. But tragically their exhausting nomadic existence was to take its toll on McComb, who died in Melbourne in 1999. This compelling documentary explores McComb’s songs and revisits the making of the album as told by former band members. (PG*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Larry Meltzer 52 min)

Words from the City
Wednesday 12 March, 6.00pm, Cinema 1
This energetic hiphopumentary traces the roots of Australian hip hop and features the pick of the country’s urban wordsmiths, including Hilltop Hoods, MC Trey and TZU, performing, chilling and shooting the breeze during one long hot summer. Words… captures the essence of young Australia’s attitude to life as voiced through some of its most compelling contemporary artists. (15*) (Aus 2007 Dir. Natasha Gadd, Rhys Graham 85 min)

Bra Boys
Friday 7th March, 6.15pm
Wednesday 12 March, 8.00pm, Cinema 1
The most commercially successfully Australian documentary ever released, Bra Boys offers a rare insider’s glimpse into the notorious surfing tribe of south Sydney’s working-class beachside suburbs. Narrated by Russell Crowe, this compelling film focuses on brothers Sunny, Koby, Jai and Dakota Abberton and their troubled home life, sporting successes and strained relationship with the law. (15*) (Aus 2007 Dirs. Sunny Abberton and Macario de Souza 90 min)

Global Haywire
Saturday 15 March, 2.00pm, Cinema 3
Oscar-winning cartoonist Bruce Petty proves that animation is the perfect tool to articulate the questions and complications surrounding the dramatic relationship that now exists between the East and the West. Mixing animation with interviews with Tariq Ali, Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Arundhati Roy and more, Global Haywire addresses the complexities of such subjects as terrorism, oil crises and globalization with flair and intelligence. (15*) (Aus 2006 Dir. Bruce Petty 82 min) Winner of AFI Best Direction and Best Sound in Documentary 2007

Bomb Harvest 

Saturday 15 March, 4.00pm, Cinema 3
In the shadow of the Vietnam war, a staggering 2 million tonnes of bombs were dropped on the island of Laos, a vast amount of which remain unexploded. Unable to farm their shell-littered land, Laos’ families now ‘harvest’ the bombs for scrap metal, often with horrific consequences. Shocking and powerful, Bomb Harvest follows Aussie bomb disposal expert Laith Stevens as he helps to clear the bombs, witnessing the humour and resilience of the Laos’ people in the face of a seemingly insurmountable task. (18*) (
Aus 2007 Dir. Kim Mordaunt 88 min)



For the fifth year running the LAFF is delighted to present a shorts and animation programme in association with Flickerfest, Australia’s premiere international short film festival. The pick of Flickerfest will be screened prior to each main feature to reveal the wealth of new and young Australian filmmaking talent to UK audiences.

SONY TROPFEST 2008 Thursday 13 March, time TBC (15*)
One evening in February each year, the world’s largest short film festival takes place simultaneously in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Hobart. At Tropfest’s open-air screenings, 150,000 people view sixteen finalist films selected from over 700 entries, which can take any subject matter they choose but which must contain the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI), which this year is the number ‘8’. The 14th London Australian Film Festival is delighted to present Tropfest in the UK with a special screening of the 2008 winners. Unfortunately the March climate in London doesn’t allow for open-air screenings, but as in Australia, admission to the event is free. More details to follow.


The Overlanders
Sunday 9 March, 2.00pm
Following LAFF 07’S hugely popular archive screening of John Heyer’s The Back of Beyond (1954), the festival returns to the Australian outback with another landmark work. Made in 1946, The Overlanders is set during WWII, as the Japanese army is about to invade the Northern Territory as a group of rugged Aussies lead by Chips Rafferty (then Australia’s leading screen star) drive a herd of cattle over 1,000 miles to safety near Brisbane rather than kill them off. Legendary documentarist Harry Watt’s vivid portrayal of the inherent dangers and beauty of the outback, and the indomitable Australian spirit, is hugely entertaining. (U) (Australia 1946 Dir. Harry Watt 91 min)

On Our Selection, with live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand
Sunday 9 March, 4.00pm
A cultural reference point for many Australians, On Our Selection is the original silent film adaptation of Steele Rudd’s stories about the Rudd family in the Australian outback, revealing the struggles and achievements of the early pioneers in an inhospitable environment. Director Raymond Longford was one of the key figures in early Australian cinema, and together with his 1919 film The Sentimental Bloke (shown the LAFF 06), On Our Selection is one of the landmark Australian films of the silent era. (PG) (Australia 1920 Dir. Raymond Longford 74 min)


Bush Christmas
Saturday 1 March, 10.30am Movie Trolley / 11.00am Film
Starring Nicole Kidman in her first film role, this is the much-loved Australian story of an outback family in 1950s Queensland. When two thieves decide to steal their prize-winning racehorse, the family is devastated. In a bid to save Christmas and their home, the children set out on an incredible adventure to rescue him. (U) (Aus 1983 Dir. Henri Safran 91 min)

Gumnutz – A Juicy Tale
Saturday 8 March, 10.00am Workshop / 11.00am Film
Claude, is an ambitious young numbat. The last thing he wants to do is work in his uncle’s Gumnut juice factory but Hot Shot Charlie, the crafty fox, is trying to steal the secret of his uncle’s juice recipe. Can Claude be a hero and save the day? A brand- new animated tale about friendship, family and responsibility. (U*) (Aus 2007 Dir. John Cook 88 min)

Elephant Tales
Saturday 15 March, 10.30am Movie Trolley / 11.00am
A moving and magical tale of two elephant brothers in search of their mother, and the menagerie of wild creatures they encounter along the way. From Australia’s leading director of children’s films Mario Andreacchio. (U) (Aus 2006 Dir. Mario Andreacchio 92 min)



The first of an annual symposium to be held as part of the London Australian Film Festival, co-hosted by the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London and the British Australian Studies Association. The symposium features a range of papers and panel discussions on aspects of Australian film and the Australian film industry that will contextualise the films shown in the festival. All sessions are open to the public and will have space for questions and open discussion.

Films and Documentaries: £8.50 full price / £6 members & concessions
Galas: £11 full price / £9.50 members & concessions
An evening with Paul Cox: £11 full price / £9.50 members & concessions
Australian Film Industry Symposium: £5 full price / £3 concessions
Special Offer! Book for 3 or more events online and each ticket is reduced to £6 (excluding Gala events)
Family Programme: Members tickets £3.50 in advance, £4 on the day. Non-Members tickets £5.50. No unaccompanied adults and everyone needs a ticket.

For further press information / DVD screeners / images / filmmaker interviews please contact: Laura Bushell / Sarah Harvey at Sarah Harvey Publicity on 020 7703 2253 /

Region: All
Press Tickets: Not Available
Sponsorship: Not Available
Press Tickets:
Name: Sarah Harvey
Phone: 020 7703 2253