Friday, 24 October 2008

director answers puzzle at acmi

Monkey Puzzle


"a hauntingly mysterious gem"
- Julian Shaw, Film Ink

"An acutely observed screenplay, unerring direction and outstanding performances drive this edgy and universal drama with a singularly Australian ethos."
- Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile

The acclaimed feature film debut of Australian director-writer Mark Forstmann, Monkey Puzzle, will enjoy an encore screening as part of Australian Perspectives this November at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Director Mark Forstmann is back at ACMI by popular demand after the films Melbourne premiere at ACMI in September. He will conduct a post-screening Q&A. This is the first feature film for Forstmann whose previous directorial credits include a list of internationally acclaimed short films and documentaries for National Geographic and ABC TV.

ACMI's Australian Perspectives Film Programmer, James Nolen, says Forstmann's debut is impressive. "This first feature film from Mark Forstmann delivers on so many levels. Drawing on his previous directorial experience filming in natural environments, Forstmann captures breathtaking locations, placing them side-by-side to a biting character investigation led by a superb script and exciting casting," said James.  "ACMI is thrilled to be presenting this encore screening of Monkey Puzzle as part of the Australian Perspectives program, showcasing this refreshing, new Australian talent."

Monkey Puzzle follows five intrepid friends on an adventure into New South Wales' Blue Mountains on a search for one of the world's rarest trees, the Wollemi Pine. After abseiling down into the rainforest canyons, a series of mishaps delay their adventure. Tensions in the group surface quickly. As the friends become engulfed by the harsh terrain, they come face-to-face with their most personal secrets and fears on a journey which will test their perceptions of friendship, intimacy and the nature of their pasts.

Recalling Picnic at Hanging Rock, it stars Australian Perspectives regular Ryan Johnson (Underbelly), as well as an impressive young cast including Ben Geurens (Blue Heelers), Ella Scott Lynch (The Falls), Billie Rose Prichar (Me, Myself & I) and Socratis Otto (The Rage in Placid Lake). For many of these actors, the film is also their first major role in a feature film.

Monkey Puzzle had its international premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival in June where it was awarded Best Environment Film Award. Also this year, Monkey Puzzle has screened in official competition at Brazil's Sao Paulo International Film Festival and at international film festivals in Ireland, Israel, United Kingdom, United States and the Bahamas, as well as at various local film festivals. 

The film is currently enjoying screenings nationally.

"It's an impressive debut by director Mark Forstmann. tense and satisfying, the film entices us"
- Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile

Monkey Puzzle is screening at ACMI on Saturday 8 November at 4pm, followed by Q&A

For more program information click here.

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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