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AACTA Film Fest | Andy Hazel's Top Picks

Article by Sydney Film Fest host Andy Hazel.


Joel Edgerton's adaptation of Garrard Conley's memoir is already promising to be a serious awards contender and one of the most talked-about films over the coming year. Oscar® nominee Lucas Hedges plays Jared Eamons, the gay son of Russell Crowe's Baptist preacher, Marshall, and his devout wife, Nancy, played by Nicole Kidman; the first pairing of the Australian superstars. Edgerton plays the head therapist at the Christian conversion camp that Jared is sent to, where he meets fellow attendee Gary, played by another Australian superstar, singer-songwriter Troye Sivan. BOY ERASED is shaping up as an absolute must-see.


Already lauded by film festivals the world over, SWEET COUNTRY was recently voted the eighth best film of the 2000s in a poll of Australian critics. Warwick Thornton's story of Arrernte man Sam Kelly, who goes on the run with his wife in 1920s Northern Territory after killing a white farmer in self-defence, is an intimate tale of injustice played out against the epic grandeur of the outback. What sets this apart from other Australian westerns is Thornton's eye for detail, taking the viewer in to a deep relationship with the land, perhaps more so than any other Australian filmmaker.


For his first turn behind the camera on a feature film, Australian actor Simon Baker aimed high. Choosing to adapt Tim Winton's beloved coming of age story about teenage friends and their fracturing relationships on Western Australia's southwest coast was never going to be an easy task, but Baker makes it seem effortless. From Elizabeth Debicki's turn as injured skier Eva to Samson Coulter and Ben Spence's peerless performances as the surfers who seem to grow on camera, with Marden Dean and Rick Rifici's stunning cinematography, BREATH never kowtows to Winton's prose, instead honouring its vivid energy and turning it into one of the finest films of the year.


BOY ERASEDSWEET COUNTRY and BREATH were screened in cinema in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane during September 2018 as part of AACTA Film Fest. SWEET COUNTRY and BREATH will be available for members to watch online via AACTA TV until 11 October 2018.

Please note, BOY ERASED will not be available on AACTA TV. Members will have an opportunity to view the film when it is released theatrically in Australia from 8 November.

For your complete guide to the feature films competing for a nomination for the 2018 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel, download the Film Fest Guide here (6MB).


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