The 6th edition of Possible Worlds, Sydney's Canadian Film Festival, opened with the Australian premiere of SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL. Charming, fun and unashamedly Canadian, the comedy celebrates "the greatest game in the land", as does the festival poster for 2011, designed by Carnival Studio.
The opening reception was the opportunity to welcome our Canadian guests and sip a glass of Ascella Pure Wine as the sun set on Sydney harbour. The Festival ended a week later with gothic crime drama SMALL TOWN MURDER SONGS, which firmly establishes director Ed Gass-Donnelly as a talent to watch.
The Festival featured a strong Quebec contingent: Patrick Demers' relationship thriller JALOUX, Stephane Lafleur's LA Film Festival winner FAMILIAR GROUND (En Terrains Connus), Sebastien Pilote's Sundance hit THE SALESMAN (Le Vendeur) and popular rom-com crowdpleaser HEAT WAVE (Les Grandes Chaleurs), by Sophie Lorain.
Maverick filmmaker Bruce McDonald was the subject of a special focus with the Australian premieres of TRIGGER and Broken Social Scene concery film THIS MOVIE IS BROKEN. We also invited Canadian actors Stephen McHattie & Linda Houle to present a special screening of McDonald's cult contagion chiller PONTYPOOL, followed by a live performance by local musician Johnsong.
Other guests from Canada brought great new documentaries to Australian audiences. Jeff Topham flew from Vancouver for the Australian Premiere of LIBERIA '77, which would take home the coveted Audience Award for Best Film. Jay Cheel introduced the Australian premiere of BEAUTY DAY at a special screening with live music from Sydney's Toy Death, attended by many fans of his Filmjunk podcast. Annette Mangaard, meanwhile, flew to Sydney to present her documentary on Inuit art KINNGAIT: RIDING LIGHT INTO THE WORLD, which had its Australian premiere at the Australian Museum.
Other documentaries at the Festival included FORCE OF NATURE: THE DAVID SUZUKI MOVIE, and A DRUMMER'S DREAM, the screening of which included a drum solo competition and a live performance by Sydney's The Sculptures.
Screening for the very first time in Australia was Larysa Kondracki's conspiracy thriller THE WHISTLEBLOWER, starring Rachel Weisz, South-African coproduction THE BANG BANG CLUB with Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Phillippe and Malin Ackerman, and A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO ENDINGS, with Harvey Keitel and Scott Kaan.
Daniel Cockburn's playful experimental feature YOU ARE HERE was well-received, as was Michael Goldbach's DAYDREAM NATION (with Kat Dennings and Josh Lucas) and Ingrid Veninger's MODRA, which was followed by a drinks reception hosted by the Ambassador to Australia of the Slovak Republic.
Rounding out the program were panel discussions, filmmaker Q&A's and a photo exhibition of the best images of the Arctic from the archives of the Canadian Geographic magazine.