Monday, 21 June 2004

cinema program: focus on

Held over six Sunday afternoons at ACMI cinemas during June-August, the 2004 cinema program, Focus On, will shine the spotlight on six leading contemporary Australian moving image makers: Cordelia Beresford (NSW), Richard Grant (NSW), Susan Kim (NSW), Catriona McKenzie (NSW), Cate Shortland (NSW) and Ben Speth (VIC).

Working in a range of different areas from fiction, documentary, animation to advertising and music video, all have developed a visionary style which sets them apart from their peers.

Focus On gives audiences a rare opportunity to meet the filmmakers in person, hear them discuss their approach to filmmaking, and view (and in some cases get an early sneak preview of) some of their memorable work.

Cordelia Beresford(daughter of film director Bruce Beresford) has worked as a producer, director and actor but is best known for her lush and evocative cinematography, which has made a distinctive mark on Australian cinema via such films as Martha's New Coat (directed by Rachel Ward), the AFI Award nominated Preservation (Sofya Gollan, 2003) and Restoration (which she also directed), winner of the Dendy prize for Best Short at the 2000 Sydney Film Festival. Beresford is also known for her cross-discipline collaborations including Chunky Move's stunning interactive work Closer (staged at ACMi at Federation Square as part of the 2003 Melbourne Festival).

Multiple award-winning short filmmaker Cate Shortland (Sunday 1 August) has recently been thrust into the limelight following the announcement that her debut feature Somersault (2004) was selected to premiere in Un Certain Regard at the 2004 Cannes Film festival. In association with Melbourne International Film Festival, ACMI is proud to present a special focus on Cate's previous short film work, coinciding with the Melbourne premiere of Somersault at the festival. Cate's short films - which include the AFI-nominated Flower Girl (2000) and Joy (2000), winner of Best Student Production at the 2000 Melbourne International Film festival - are remarkable for their lyrical, poetic imagery and dynamic performances.

Hot on the heels of the highly anticipated fourth Melbourne International Animation festival, Focus On will feature the work of Susan Kim, an artist who combines traditional sand and painting techniques with digital applications to make inventive animations that illuminate themes of language, the outsider and the struggle to understand where one belongs. On Sunday July 4, Susan will screen her works, including the multiple award-winning Mother Tongue (2003), and demonstrate her animation process.

On Sunday 18 July, Focus On will present the Australian premiere of Forever, the second feature from Ben Speth. The American-born Speth immigrated to Melbourne relatively recently after considerable success working as a cinematographer in New York, and producing his first feature, Dresden (1999), which screened at the Sundance, New York Underground and Brisbane Film Festivals. Set in the council houses of a working class suburb of Melbourne, Forever, details the loving, intricate, symbiotic relationship between 28-year-old Helen and her nine-year-old autistic son Josh

A graphic designer working in broadcast design, music video and film, Richard Grant (Sunday 15 August) is best known for his striking visual collaborations with provocative electronica outfit Snog. Three times winner of the St Kilda Film Festival's music video award, Grants work has also screened at Resfest (USA) and Oberhausen Film Festival (Germany).

Catriona McKenzie (Sunday 29 August) is a Sydney-based film writer and director whose career has included a stint at Ridley Soctt's company in Los Angeles and several award-winning short films such as Redfern Beach, The Third Note (Best New Director Award, St Kilda Film festival) and Box (Best Short Film, 1998 AFI Awards). Also highly in demand as a director for television (including ABC TV's FireFlies). For Focus On, Catriona will talk on the impact of this experience on creative endeavour, as well as screening excerpts from her new documentary about Geoff Bardon and the Western Desert painting movement of Papunya, Mr Patterns (2004), and her work-in-progress, Grange.

Media inquiries:

Danielle Poulos ACMI 03 8663-2415, 0417 540 543,

Brendan Wall ACMI 03 8663-2406,  0417 852 118,

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
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