Three Australian films announced in early Sydney Film Festival sneak peak

Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson.

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The Kids, Step Into Paradise and Wash My Soul in the River Flow will screen at this year’s Sydney Film Festival.

The 68th Sydney Film Festival today announced a sneak peek of 22 new films to be featured in this year’s 18-29 August event, including the three Australian films.

The announcement is in advance of the full program launch on Wednesday 21 July. 

Leading the titles announced today is Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow, an enthralling musical journey through love and country based around a fertile collaboration from 2004 between First Nation artists Archie Roach and the late Ruby Hunter, Paul Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra. 

Members of the Stolen Generation, Roach and Hunter met at a Salvation Army drop-in centre. This film is the story of their lives as told through their music and lively yarns, celebrating country, culture, resilience and family.  

Fashion revolutionaries Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson are another iconic Australian creative duo honoured in this year’s SFF program with Step into Paradise, directed by AACTA and BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Amanda Blue. The film is a vibrant and passionate true story of the pair’s enduring friendship and game-changing collaboration. 

Australian Director Eddie Martin (All This Mayhem, SFF 2014) revisits the cast of Larry Clark’s notorious indie cult classic Kids twenty-six years after its original release in The Kids, providing a snapshot of the lives of the cast members who didn’t hit the big time. 

From Wednesday 18 August to Sunday 29 August 2021, the 68th Sydney Film Festival offers Sydneysiders another exciting season of cinema amidst a whirlwind of premieres, red-carpet openings, in-depth discussions, film guests and more.   

Sydney Film Festival is a major event on the New South Wales cultural calendar and is one of the world’s longest-running film festivals. For more information, visit sff.org.au. 

You can find out more about the three Australian films below.

STEP INTO PARADISE 

The abiding friendship and game-changing collaboration between iconic Australian fashion creatives Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson is vividly rendered in award-winning director Amanda Blue’s documentary. Kee and Jackson have shared a passionate love affair with all things Australian for almost 50 years. With wit, irreverence, and a fertile imagination, they have embraced our unique landscape and elevated tourist kitsch to the height of style. It’s a fashion story like no other. It’s also the story of friendship that has endured despite tragedy and heartbreak. To enter the dynamic duo’s world is to step into a visual collage of emotion, art, and kaleidoscopic colour – a world beautifully depicted on screen using archival footage and evocative collage. Step into Paradise is a fittingly vibrant and passionate film about two Australian fashion revolutionaries.

THE KIDS 

Twenty-six years since Larry Clark’s notorious indie cult classic Kids, Australian director Eddie Martin revisits the original cast in this fascinating doco. Selected for Tribeca 2021. Kids was one of the most talked about and controversial films of the 1990s. “It is Lord of the Flies with skateboards, nitrous oxide and hip-hop,” according to the New York Times. Feted photographer Clark shot his debut feature with a cast of then-unknown New York teenagers, including filmmaker Harmony Korine, and actors Rosario Dawson and Chloë Sevigny. But what happened to the rest of the kids? Martin (All This Mayhem, SFF 2014) tracks the lives of the cast members, during and after the shoot, who didn’t hit the big time. In this unflinching look at an iconic film of the ’90s, Martin explores difficult questions that continue to surround the film.

A behind the scenes photo from Larry Clark’s Kids.

WASH MY SOUL IN THE RIVER’S FLOW 

A cinematic reinvention of Archie Roach and the late Ruby Hunter’s 2004 award-winning concert – a fertile music collaboration with Paul Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra. In 2004, Ruby and Archie worked with Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra to create the seminal concert Kura Tungar: Songs from the River.Ruby was born on the banks of the Murray, home to the Ngarrindjeri people for thousands of years. As a child, she was forcibly taken from her family under the government’s assimilation policy. Years later she met Archie, another member of the Stolen Generation, at a Salvation Army drop-in centre. The story of their lives, as told through their music and lively yarns, celebrates country and culture, resilience, and family. Philippa Bateman’s lovingly crafted film threads together footage of rehearsals and opening night with stunning images of the Murray. A fittingly cinematic and spiritual tribute to two much-loved Australian performers, executive produced by Indigenous singer-songwriter Emma Donovan.

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