Thursday, May 26, 2011

5th Dungog Film Festival - a varied program

It seems only yesterday that I wrote 4th Dungog Film Festival - New England films. Now, and it almost escaped me, the 5th Festival is on. I feel a little annoyed, because I had said to myself that I would go. Still, the way that things have worked out, it wouldn't have been possible anyway. 

For those who don't know the festival, it has (I think) become the largest festival in Australia dedicated to Australian films. You can find the official web site here, the Facebook page here.

taj-web It's a very mixed program indeed, featuring new and old.

Taj is a first for Australian cinema, with Indian actors in leading dramatic roles exploring the world of Indian-Australian culture.

You can then go from this to the Australian classics The Man from Snow River or Gallipoli, films that still appeal enormously despite the changes that have taken place in Australia.

Then, for variety, try The Dragon Pearl. The plot of this Chines-Australian co-production is described in this way:

 When teenagers Josh (Louis Corbett from Charlotte’s Web) and Ling (Li Lin Jin makes an impressive debut) join their respective parents, Chris (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park, The Piano, The Hunt For Red October) and Dr Li (Wang Ji, a string of Chinese features but also The Karate Kid in 2009) on an archaeologdragon-pearl-webical dig in China, they are thrown together and left to their own devices.

What was meant to be a quiet vacation to an archeological dig in China, becomes an unexpected adventure full of ancient mystery. While their parents are making historic discoveries, Josh and Ling make one of their own. Together, the kids uncover something trapped beneath a temple, beyond their wildest imagination. The temple is guarded by Wu-Dong (Jordan Chan, a prolific actor and musician) who rounds out a cast of China’s most popular actors.

What they have in fact discovered is an ancient Chinese Dragon, trapped on earth because it was separated from its magical ‘pearl’. The sleeping dragon has been awoken. Josh and Ling’s parents don’t believe their stories, but archaeologist Philip Dukas (Robert Mammone) listens closely and has sinister ambitions. A breathtaking struggle between good and evil ensues.

As always, I am interested in New England films. This time we have The Forgotten Men. The film is based on an RM Williams campfire story and stars Jack Thompson, Kerry Armstrong, Gyton Grantley and Lincoln Lewis, with newcomer Nathin Butler shining in the lead role. It was shot all around the Dungog area and is directed by Jack Wareham.

Perhaps next year I will get to Dungog!

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