The Breath of Fresh Air film festival is back this weekend. With dozens of films, creative events, and celebrity guests, there will be plenty for movie fans to do in Launceston from Thursday - Sunday. The full program is available through breath-of-fresh-air.com.au, but here are The Examiner's picks for the stand-out films and events. Tickets to all films can be pre-puchased through the Village Cinemas website.
For ... hobnobbing with celebrities
Get a drink with movie star Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, The Hunt for Red October) and groundbreaking director Gillian Armstrong (Little Women, Oscar and Lucinda) at the cocktail party celebrating the 40th anniversary of My Brilliant Career. The classic Australian film was the start of celebrated careers for both the guests, and the adaption of Miles Franklin's book - about a headstrong woman in the early 1900s - is still widely adored today. Trish Lake, BOFA's artistic director, will host a Q&A with Neill and Armstrong, to be paired with wine, beer, game, seafood, and cheese. Held at TasTAFE's Drysdale campus at 5.30pm on Saturday; $50 through eventbrite.
For ... award-winning cinema
Three Identical Strangers was the must-see documentary of 2018. It was the Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Storytelling winner, and was shortlisted for an Oscar. The film follows three American triplets who were adopted into separate families as part of a nature vs nurture scientific study in the early sixties. The boys had no idea they were brothers or about the study, and the film details their discovery of each other and their search for answers. The Times called it "unmissable"; The Guardian "gripping". See it at Village Cinemas on Sunday at 2.30pm.
For ... the love of the love of film
My Favourite Film is something a bit different: it's an art exhibition, not a screening. Some of Launceston's most applauded artists have dug into their memories and produced visual love letters to the magic of the movies. It's an investigation of all things cinema: from rolling the 'jaffas' down the aisle, to the classic music soundtracks, to the nostalgic seminal flicks that bring buried emotions come flooding back. With painting, video, photography, drawing, sculpture and installation art, My Favourite Film's opening night party is at the Academy Gallery on Friday from 6 to 8pm, and is open May 20 - June 7 at the gallery.
For ... the director's picks
Owen Tilbury is the organisational and curatorial mastermind behind BOFA, and he's narrowed down the 32 films on offer to two recommendations.
Defend, Conserve, Protect is fresh from winning Best International Documentary at the American Documentary Film Festival. The BOFA screening is the Australian premiere of this lauded real-life action film, that follows the fight between ocean defenders Sea Shepherd and Japanese whaling vessels: "You'll be on the edge of your seat," Tilbury said. It also stars Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters), as the inner monologue of the Minke whales - you'll see. It screens at Village Cinemas on Saturday at 2.45pm.
In the fiction category, Tilbury recommends Ghost Stories. The plot is chock full of suspense, the supernatural, and British sensibility. "It's quirky, it's different, it's for you if you like the horror movies of the 1960s," Tilbury said. "Martin Freeman is the star so he's never going to let you down - but be careful you don't walk home alone."
For ... cultural encounters
Four movies will be screened as part of BOFA's 'Indonesian Stories' series. Each one explores a facet of life in the world's fourth-largest populated country, with poignancy and beauty.
There will be a Village Cinemas Red Carpet Screening of the award-winning The Seen and Unseen at 8pm on Friday - a surprising and visually rich story of childhood grief, that dips into the dreams and subconscious of two twins.
Prior to the screening will be a cocktail party at Queen Victoria Art Gallery, Royal Park, with Indonesian food, local wines and beer, gamelan music, and a fascinating guest speaker. The party runs 5.30pm - 7.30pm with tickets costing $50 through eventbrite - and keep an eye out for the Indonesian Ambassador and Consul General, who have flown in for BOFA.
IN OTHER NEWS: