AACTA Film Fest | Blake Howard's Top Picks

Article by Sydney Film Fest host Blake Howard


BROTHERS’ NEST is a showcase of the breadth of talent of the brother’s Jacobson. The only similarity it has with the delightful and jovial merchant of toilet humour in KENNY is that this deeply dark film also clings to you like an inescapable stench. The influences of the Coen Brothers (especially FARGO) are felt in every breath of BROTHERS’ NEST. Clayton Jacobson’s direction is profoundly impactful and unflinching in its portrayal of violence, and crafts arresting human performances from Kim Gyngell, Lynnette Curran and Shane Jacobson whose performance as Terry is a career-best slow burn.

BROTHER'S NEST will screen in Sydney on 22 September, in Melbourne on 5 September, in Brisbane on 13 September and on AACTA TV as part of AACTA Film Fest (see more here).


Director Warwick Thornton’s outback morality tale, SWEET COUNTRY, combines striking visuals of Australian landscapes with a script that entangles ideas of what this country is 'made of' and mythical justice. Thornton's commanded gaze is unflinching, creating a harsh impression of Australia’s historical reality. Featuring superbly crafted performances from seasoned icons like Bryan Brown and Sam Neill and riveting debutant Hamilton Morris; SWEET COUNTRY is an essential Australian Western.

SWEET COUNTRY will screen in Brisbane on 12 September and on AACTA TV as part of AACTA Film Fest (see more here).


Simon Baker charges into the director’s chair for his first feature film, adapting Tim Winton's 70s coming of age novel BREATH with dramatic intensity and confidence. With surfing photography so beautiful that it borders on spiritual ecstasy, Baker's rendering of the coastal surfing community drips with authenticity. The deeply inferred class distinctions; the hippie surfers and the rigid, conservative working class, the choice for the actors to convey their characters’ emotion, rather than expound feelings in long monologues, from someone who calls a surf-side town 'home' - feel so real that they feel like déjà vu.

BREATH will screen in Brisbane on 23 September and on AACTA TV as part of AACTA Film Fest (see more here).


AACTA Film Fest screenings and AACTA TV are exclusive and complimentary to AFI | AACTA members. Membership is open to everyone and starts at just $70! Click here to join today and enjoy AACTA's Film Fest, Docs Fest and over $650 worth of annual benefits and events.

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