The 8th edition of Possible Worlds, Australia's American & Canadian Film Festival, opened with the internationally-heralded STORIES WE TELL from Oscar-nominated director Sarah Polley (AWAY FROM HER). This multi-layered, genre-twisting documentary was awarded the Best Canadian Film prize at the 2013 festival.
The festival closed a week later with Joe Swanberg’s fresh and invigorating romcon-of-sorts, DRINKING BUDDIES. In between, audiences discovered 21 new American and Canadian films, many screening in Australia for the very first time.
The program included satirical suburban black comedy WHITE REINDEER for which many wore their favourite daggy Christmas sweater, the Cannes-selected, light-hearted urban adventure GIMME THE LOOT, the international premiere of the winner of SXSW’s Emergent Narrative Woman Director Award A TEACHER, and the original, visually arresting drama THE WAIT from Portland artist M Blash with Chloë Sevigny and Jena Malone.
Special guests included director and screenwriter Sara St. Onge, in town to present the Australian premiere of her quirky drama MOLLY MAXWELL, and gay-rights activist Steve Ostrow, who invited everyone at the sold-out session of gay bathhouse documentary CONTINENTAL to hug their neighbour.
The popular screening of THE FRUIT HUNTERS helped us work up an appetite in time for the special sampling of an array of delicious organic fruits. Many festival sessions included drinks before or after the screening which provided a welcome opportunity for punters to discuss the films they had already seen or were about to.
Narrative features included the the Australian premiere of Zach Weintraub’s YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO YOUNG, Frédérick Pelletier compelling DIEGO STAR, the hilariously raunchy MY AWKWARD SEXUAL ADVENTURE, Noah Baumbach’s FRANCES HA starring Greta Gerwig and Bernard Emond’s moving ALL THAT YOU POSSESS.
2013 was another strong year for documentaries. Audiences could choose from Simon Ennis’ LUNARCY!, the Australian premiere of Nick Bentgen’s sumptuous NORTHERN LIGHT, Peter Mettler’s meditative THE END OF TIME, and hilariously entertaining REWIND THIS!.
Our Awards Ceremony took place at Dendy Opera Quays prior to the screening of Closing Night Film DRINKING BUDDIES. Our 2013 all-female jury was made up Sandy George, Sarah Lancaster, Alyssa Orvis, Dr Jane Park, Sarah Ward and Lyn Norfor.
The Award for Best American Film went to Eliza Hittman's IT FELT LIKE LOVE, a drama about dangerous delusions and desires of adolescence, which had its Sydney premiere at the Festival. Sarah Polley's STORIES WE TELL took out the prize for Best Canadian Film. A gorgeous documentary about family and storytelling, STORIES WE TELL went on to win a number of awards worldwide, including the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary Screenplay and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Feature Length Documentary. The battle for the Audience Award was tougher than ever, but in the end, the winner for Best Film was Malcolm Ingram's documentary CONTINENTAL.