Tuesday, 17 June 2008

focus on ozploitation

Co-presented with the Melbourne International Film Festival and curated by ACMI and Mark Hartley

ACMI Cinemas is proud to present Focus On Ozploitation, a unique series of Australian films from a forgotten era in Australia's cinematic history, in collaboration with the Melbourne International Film Festival. With lashings of gratuitous sex, violence and fuel-injected muscle car mayhem, ACMI's latest Focus On series will expose the 70s and 80s Aussie exploitation films that broke all the taboos.

Ozploitation was born of maverick filmmakers, a relaxing of censorship laws and the desire for Australians to see themselves represented in Australian films. It describes an era in the 1970s and 80s where Australians turned to Hollywood-style exaggeration and sense of adventure to tell their stories, in a no-holds-barred way, by Australian film makers and on Australian soil.

Ozploitation films are typically characterized by "break-neck action, schlock horror, ocker comedy and frisky sex romps"  and were unashamedly loved by Australian's and film audiences the world over, defining a liberating and new era of film making and propelling home-grown actors to notoriety internationally.

ACMI's Head of Film Programs, Richard Sowada, is excited about giving audiences the chance to relive and discover these local genre gems. "ACMI is proud to be collaborating with MIFF for this spotlight on the great forgotten era in Australia's cinematic history. We hope new and old audiences can appreciate the indelible mark these films have had on Australian culture and the incredible work of the film makers who took away our cinematic innocence."

"Furthermore, when an opportunity arose to collaborate with MIFF and present a flagship ACMI Focus On season as part of this year's festival, the lure of doing some deep detective work with such great films proved irresistible," said Richard.

Co-curator of this Focus On series and writer/director of Ozploitation documentary, Not Quite Hollywood, Mark Hartley, says that the production of these genre films was important to both local film making and audience development. "The production of Ozploitation films was driven by a new found liberation from censorship that allowed us to splash boobs, pubes and kung fu all over the big screen. It allowed Australian audiences and filmmakers a cinematic freedom they'd not experienced, or possibly even dreamed of before." Mark Hartley's documentary takes centre stage at this years MIFF, selected as the opening night film and premiering at MIFF as a production of the Festival's new Premiere Fund.

Comprising of horror, suspense thrillers, action and comedy of the most irreverent order, this retrospective offers something for everyone.  Program highlights include two films by acclaimed director Brian Trenchard-Smith; the 1982 international hit Turkey Shoot, once described by Philip Adams as "pornographically violent" with "unrivalled sadism and brutality" but conversely regarded as one of the guiltiest pleasures in Australian cinema; and the 1986 action flick, Dead End Drive-In, a story where the Australian Government detains rouge teens on the site of a drive-in cinema, which inevitably becomes a destructive wasteland, allowing Trenchard-Smith to employ high speed chases, impressive stunts and explosive shoot outs. 

Legend has it that, at the Australian premiere of Kill Bill Vol.1, Quentin Tarantino dedicated his film to Trenchard-Smith, prompting murmurs from industry types in the crowd that such a dedication - in fact endorsement - had been bestowed upon a director virtually unknown in his own country, by one of the most progressive and acclaimed directors the world over. In that moment, Tarantino gave the genre some of the spotlight and has since declared himself a fan of the genre. 

Other program highlights include;
. Richard Franklin's road-slasher movie, Roadgames, the classic hitchhiking scare story starring scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis.
. Russell Mulcahy's Razorback which draws horror from the murder of an animal rights activist in the Australian outback in Australia's own legendary Babe-turned-feral instalment in the 'Nature Goes Nuts' horror genre. Razorback screens with David Elfick's To Shoot a Mad Dog - The Making of 'Mad Dog Morgan'.
. Colin Eggleston's unrelenting suspense thriller, Long Weekend, the tale of bickering suburban yuppies getting terrorised by Mother Nature while vacation.
. Bruce Beresford's Barry McKenzie Holds His Own - a perverted Aussie gem, packed full of unforgettable ocker one-liners and Kung Fu fighting. Comedy ensues when Aunt Edna (Barry Humphries) is mistaken for the Queen, kidnapped and awaiting rescue by her nephew Barry (Barry Crocker).  

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
[email] Claire.Butler@acmi.net.au

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