Australia storms the Berlinale 2014

An overview of this year’s entries from Down Under, by guest blogger Melinda Barlow

Heade Image - 52 Tuesdays.

Well, it’s Berlinale time again and this year’s 64th International Film Festival in Berlin has all of us at Down Under Berlin clapping our hands with joy at this year’s Australian selections. Get ready for a deluge of Aussies on the streets of Berlin as the city hosts a number of screenings with no less than three of these films for their World premieres as part of the Berlinale competition.

The brightest lights of Australian cinema today will surely be jostling for space on the red carpet in February for the International Premiere of Tim Winton’s The Turning. With 17 Australian directors on board taking on one individual story each, and featuring one of the greatest casts to come out of the country in a long time, it will be interesting to see just how many cast and crew make it to Berlin for the big event. The Turning is a gift to Australians abroad with Tim Winton’s signature style transporting us into the stories that come from small-town lives, lived and shaped by the sea. Fragments of Australian life are gloriously displayed through sun and sand and sea, as each director interprets the elements of coastal drama in their own way.

Rhys Graham’s Galore brings some sense of the terrifying Aussie bushfire season to the international crowd, and the tension is set by the presence of impending danger. As fires burn around two teenage friends in Canberra, the foundation is set for a study on the intense experiences of adolescent relationships. The summer is hotter than ever and as the girls deal with new developments in their relationships, emotions intensify. The fires approach and adult life beckons.

Along with ‘Galore’, the Berlinale’s Generation program this year features Sophie Hyde’s directorial debut – 52 Tuesdays. A unique approach to filmmaking, shooting was restricted to once a week every week, and only on a Tuesday up until midnight. The story is told as a mother undergoes gender reassignment surgery and time with her daughter is subsequently limited to once a week on Tuesdays. Billie is 16 and finds this understandably challenging as the chronology of events unfolds and she must deal with the transformative impact of her mother’s decisions, on both of their lives.

Other listings include Bridget Callow – Wright’s ‘The Insect King’ in the Talent Project market, ‘Lonely Girl’ from Natasha Pincus and Neil Triffet returns to Berlin with his short film Emo – the musical.

We wish all the Australian productions cast and crew members the very best for this year’s Berlinale.

Melinda Barlow is an Australian freelance writer, dividing her time between Europe and Australia. She first moved to Berlin in early 2012 and is an avid lover of films from all over the world. Previously she was film reviewer for ABC Radio in Australia among other things and currently writes for print and online media.@melindajbarlow

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