Aussie and Kiwi Film Fest at Lucerna and Ponrepo

New films and a couple of classics show several aspects of two diverse cultures

A festival of films from Australia and New Zealand will be at Lucerna and Ponrepo from Nov. 18 to 23. The Aussie and Kiwi Film Fest, now in its third year, is intended to get wider distribution into cinemas and festivals for films from those countries.

The festival also is intended to show that both Australia and New Zealand have diverse societies that also include indigenous cultures. Organizers hope to attract not only a Czech audience, but also an international one, especially film students.

The opening film on Nov 18 at Lucerna is the award winning 2016 comedy The Hunt for the Wilderpeople. A troubled boy winds up in foster care in rural New Zealand, and then goes on the run with his foster uncle. A nationwide manhunt ensues as the two are forced to grow closer together.

Other highlights at Lucerna include Secret River, a story of the settling of New South Wales, based on the novel by Kate Grenville. Families trying to settle there find the land is not as uninhabited as they thought. The film was originally made as a two-part TV miniseries.

The 2015 Australian documentary Putuparri and the Rainmakers examines one man who returns to his ancestral roots and then tries to pass those values onto others.

The 2016 New Zealand drama The Rehearsal is based on an award winning novel by Eleanor Catton. A student actor is caught in a dilemma when the subject of a play hits too close to home.

Also from New Zealand, the 2016 drama The Great Maiden's Blush looks at a the friendship between two single mothers. It is described as a story of friendship, forgiveness and the redemptive power of truth.

A 2015 love story from Australia called Holding the Man is based on a memoir by Timothy Conigrave about LGBT life in the late 1970s and 1980s. Aside from prejudice and discrimination, Tim and John have to face the AIDS crisis.

Ponrepo has four films. The 2015 film Tanna, from Australia and Vanuatu, concerns romance in a traditional tribe on a Pacific island. A young woman does not want to be used as a pawn in a peace settlement. It is based on a true story.

Going back quite a few years, the 1990 New Zealand film An Angel at My Table is based on the life of poet and writer Janet Frame. The film was directed by Jane Campion, who later made The Piano.

Also from the archives is the 1971 Australian drama Wake in Fright from director Ted Kotcheff, who later made First Blood, featuring Sylvester Stallone as Rambo, and the comedy Weekend at Bernie's. Wake in Fright is about a man in the Outback who loses all of his money gambling and has a series of misadventures. It is considered an important early entry in the Australian New Wave.

The final film is Goldback, a 2016 Australian film noir about a missing person in the Outback. A man investigating the case finds out a lot more is at stake.

The festival is supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture and Prague City Hall, with help from the Australian Consulate, the Australian Trade Commission in Prague, and the Czech-Australian-New Zealand Association CANZA.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/AussieFilmFest or aussiefilmfest.cz

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