The 57th Berlin International Film Festival has announced its full festival line-up overnight, adding another two Australian films to the program - taking the total to three features and three short films screening across four sections of the festival.
The Home Song Stories, written and directed by Tony Ayres, produced by Michael McMahon and Liz Watts and starring Joan Chen, will screen in the Panorama section of the festival in the coveted first weekend time slot. Ayres collected the prestigious Teddy Award for Best Feature Film for Walking on Water when it screened in Panorama in 2002. The Home Song Stories was developed through the AFC's SP*RK Script Development Program.
Also selected to screen in the newly formed Short Film section is the live action hybrid animation short The Girl Who Swallowed Bees, from writer/director Paul McDermott and producer Justine Kerrigan. Funded through the AFC short animation production strand, the film stars Pia Miranda with Hugo Weaving narrating.
Further to these selections, producer Liz Watts has been selected to participate at the EFM Co-Production Market with Amnesia, the new feature project in development from writer/director Tony Krawitz (Jewboy). The project is a co-production with South African company dV8, whose principal, Nathan Jeremy, will attend the co-pro market alongside Liz Watts.
In addition, it was announced that three emerging Australian practitioners will participate in the Berlin Talent Campus - a symposium held each year at the Berlinale where film talents from all over the world are selected to participate in seminars, workshops and networking events. They are writer/director Juliet Porter and production designer/director Gavin Youngs, both from Victoria, and Helen Fitzgerald, a production designer/art director from NSW.
The above selections join previously announced feature films West (written and directed by Daniel Krige screening in the Generation 14plus section of the festival) and Razzle Dazzle (directed by Darren Ashton, screening in the Generation Kplus section), and the two short films selected to screen in the Generation Kplus short film section, AFC-funded short Playground (written and directed by Eve Spence) and Tommy the Kid (written and directed by Stuart Clegg).
The 57th Berlin International Film Festival runs 8-18 February 2007.
The Home Song Stories
Writer/Director: Tony Ayres
Producers: Michael McMahon and Liz Watts
Executive Producers: Wouter Barendrecht, Michael J. Werner, Liz Koops and Daniel Yun
Production Companies: Big and Little Films, Porchlight Films
Australian Sales: Dendy Films
International Sales: Fortissimo Films
Cast: Joan Chen, Qi Yuwu, Joel Lok, Irene Chen, Steven Vidler and Kerry Walker
Film Finance Corporation Australia presents in association with Film Victoria, Mediacorp Raintree Pictures, SBS Independent, Fortissimo Films, a Big and Little Films and Porchlight Films Production. The Home Song Stories was also assisted by the Adelaide Film Festival with a marketing loan.
The Home Song Stories is the true story of Rose, a glamorous Shanghai nightclub singer, who struggles to survive in 70s Australia with two young children. Based on writer/director Tony Ayres' own life, this is an epic tale of mothers and sons, mothers and daughters, unrequited love, betrayal and secrets.
The Girl Who Swallowed Bees
Writer/Director: Paul McDermott
Producer/Director of Photography: Justine Kerrigan
Animator: Tony Melov
Cast: Pia Miranda
Narrator: Hugo Weaving
Developed and produced in association with the Australian Film Commission.
A young girl consumed by bitterness decides to take drastic and irredeemable measures to put an end to her continual suffering. After running through a number of darkly humorous options for her demise she settles on the terribly romantic "death by swallowing bees". Intent on her mission, she sets off for the woods where "bees are said to hide". There, in the shade of an impossibly beautiful oak, she disturbs a hive only to discover, much to her amazement, the bees have other plans for her and for her bitter heart.