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Sydney Film Festival (1 of 8)

Armed with caffeinated drinks and toothpicks (for closing eyelids) IONCINEMA’s Australian correspondent Samuel Hilton will be covering this very cool fest from the land down under……take it away Sam!

The 52nd Sydney Film Festival was kicked off in style on Friday 10th June in the heart of Sydney city at State Theatre with the opening film, My Summer of Love. While it’s a shame that there wasn’t an Australian film of enough quality to open the festival, the British flick drew a large audience in for the beginnings of a highly promising festival. My Summer of Love’s lead actors Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt were both in attendance to open the film festival (while none of my pictures of them came out – here’s one from the festival’s site)

This year the line-up, which includes independent films from Australia, Britain and the U.S and a sampling from around the rest of the globe is an impressive selection put together by Artistic Director Lynden Barber, who was there to open the festival with the others who throw their weight behind this year’s edition.

My Summer of LoveOpening Night Film

My Summer of Love tells the story of a forbidden romance that grows between two adolescent girls in a small British town where there isn’t anything to do except have sex, be violent or pray. A witty and mature humor runs through this very serious drama at the expert hand of director Paul Pavliksovky. The camera, what it shows and doesn’t show, its often jolting movements, keeps one interested for the entire run of this film. The dialogue is rich, and remains the strong point of the film along with the superb performances by its young leads in Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt. Notably Paddy Considine does remarkably well in realizing the internal struggle of the desire to be good and the impulse to do bad, providing the best performance of the film.

Alter Egos + Ryan

Ryan Larkin, the Academy award winning animator, is the common topic between these two companion short documentary films. I love short films and I especially love short animated films. Ryan, acts as an animated documentary of animator, Ryan Larkin’s life, screened before the feature of Alter Egos was especially joyful. Great computer animation accompanied by an impressively original concept opening numerous possibilities. It would be nice to see director Chris Landreth tackle a feature.

Alter Egos is a documentary on the animated short, Ryan, it’s director Chris Landreth and it’s subject Ryan Larkin. Designed a promotional tool for the animation, it has become its own film, exploring the work of both animators and examining questions of responsibility that accompany documentary. Director Laurence Green handles his material more thoughtfully then most would expect for a film originally designed for promotion and his camera captures some perfectly intimate moments.

How The Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer

Undertaking such items as romance, love and generational differences, How The Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer sees a Spanish family during their summer in a small town in Arizona. Offering a handful of moments of humor and sincerity that may bring a smile to the face, they are too few and too far between. It feels as if director Georgia Garcia Riedel attempts to capture the slow rhythms of life that can take place in a small town, but at times the pacing simply drags on. It’s always nice to see some Mexican American films though, particularly from fresh perspectives, I have no doubt that Riedel could do some more interesting things if she stays at it, but overall, this film while showing promise is slightly tedious in overall design.

For more info on the fest check out the official website:

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