Unlike what has been happening elsewhere in the world, Australian and New Zealand cinema has been particularly dynamic and prolific this year. The quality and abundance of films is a unique opportunity to organize unforgettable “encounters” between the artists, the audience, and the industry professionals. This 11th edition of the Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma des Antipodes will rhyme with diversity, uniqueness, harshness, poetry, humour, sensitivity, and wide open spaces.
After a first edition devoted to Australian screenplays, and with the support of the France New Zealand Friendship Fund, this second edition of the Antipodean Screenplay Award is open to New Zealand cinema as well as reciprocity. We hope the winner will quickly turn into a film, which you will be able to see… in our feature film competition!
As for the Nicolas Baudin Prize for Best Short Film, it will be awarded by a jury made up of high school students. It is a great opportunity for these young people to have an in-depth look at an emerging cinema. This programme of short films will be part of the “Antipodes Junior” section, which is attracting an ever-growing audience, and has now a time slot dedicated to documentaries.
But it is the vibrancy of a cinema constantly reinventing itself that is taking Saint-Tropez by storm, as we can see with the eagerly awaited « Dreamland » by Ivan Sen, as well as the films that will compete this year, « Accidents Happen », « Belladonna », « Lucky Country », « Samson and Delilah », « September », and « The Strength of Water », all first features between which the jury, headed by talented and charismatic Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia (« Balibo », « Lantana », « Without a Trace/FBI Portés disparus »), will surely have difficulty to decide.
The opening night will be a delightful ode to the actors thanks to Toa Fraser’s new feature film, « Dean Spanley », starring the great Peter O’Toole, the elegant Sam Neill, and the very Australian Bryan Brown. And it is with the premiere of Jane Campion’s « Bright Star », a masterpiece of poetry and beauty, that we will close the Festival.
Finally, Place des Lices, your wanderings will lead you to discover, in the superb setting of the Tourism Embassy, two magical exhibitions devoted to the Poles: « Arctic Midnight », a spellbinding photographic exhibition by Dr. Lisa Anderson, as well as the hypnotic black and white of the photographs which Frank Hurley took of the Douglas Mawson expedition, a riveting, classic story published in French by Editions Paulsen.
I wish you a pleasant stroll in Saint-Tropez, at the heart of the Antipodes and their cinema.
President of Cinéma des Antipodes
Held for the first time in 1999, the Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma des Antipodes are entering a new decade which, it is my hope and my wish, will be as rich as the previous one.
This event has for sure come a long way! In its early stage, the Festival was three days in length. Today, a whole week is necessary to host a programme always richer and more varied. The people who supported the Festival from its beginning are as present and enthusiastic as ever, but new audiences have joined them. Indeed, the event now includes an « Antipodes junior » programme, geared towards a younger public. The Nicolas Baudin Prize for Best Antipodean Short Film is awarded by a jury made up of 150 pupils from the area’s high schools. Documentaries, in increased numbers this year, as well as quality photographic exhibitions, will attract people eager to discover cultures which are different from our own.
For this 11th edition, which promises to be exceptional given the quality of the film selection, I wish to thank the organizers, and first and foremost the Festival’s President, Bernard Bories, for the excellence of his choices and his capacity to always renew the interest of the public and the press. I wish this new edition of the Festival to meet with the success it deserves, and I am certain that the films shown this year will not fail to pleasantly surprise you.
Enjoy the screenings.
Mayor of Saint-Tropez
Every year, the Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma des Antipodes de St Tropez grows in variety and content and the 2009 edition is no exception, offering a rich feast of film – features, shorts and documentaries – accompanied by an assortment of exhibitions, presentations, debates and discussions.
It has been a great year for Australian cinema in France, with the beautiful and confronting film “Samson and Delilah” by Warwick Thornton winning the ‘Camera d’Or’ at Cannes ,where the Australian production “Bright Star” was also in competition; the excellent critical and popular response to the poetic whimsy of Adam Elliot’s “Mary and Max” as well as the Israel-Australian claymation production “$9.99”. This creativity and eclecticism is reflected in the festival program. As president of the jury, Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia will have the challenging task of guiding his jury to the selection of winners from genres as diverse as black comedy, historical epic, societal, soul searching and slapstick. I wish him and his fellow jurors good luck.
Since its creation in 1999, the RICA has showcased the great diversity of Australian and New Zealand cinema, revealing new talent, both on screen or behind the camera, to a loyal French public and fostering dialogue between professionals in the industry. The festival has made a significant contribution to the recognition, promotion and exportation of antipodean cinema to France. For this I warmly thank Mr Bernard Bories, President of the Cinema des Antipodes. I would also like to thank Mr Jean-Pierre Tuveri, Mayor of St Tropez for his continued support of the festival and the people of St Tropez who so warmly welcome the films of Australia and the people who made them.
Australian Ambassador to France
As it has done for a number of years, the New Zealand Embassy is delighted to continue its association with the Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma des Antipodes. What is striking, looking back over the past 11 years of the Festival, is the energy, richness and diversity of New Zealand and Australian films that have been screened in St Tropez. I would like to express New Zealand’s appreciation of the role that Cinéma des Antipodes plays in helping to ensure that our films reach an enthusiastic and appreciative audience in France. Once again, I pay tribute to Bernard Bories and his team of tireless and passionate helpers, without whom this Festival would not be the success it is.
The New Zealand film industry enjoys a well-established reputation that stretches well beyond some particularly well-known films. It continues to produce high quality feature films and documentaries, often in close collaboration with Australia, as we can see from the selection of films in this festival. These links reinforce our respective industries. We are also especially pleased to see in the programme this year a France-New Zealand co-production about the singer, Graeme Alwright, “Pacific Blues”. I look forward to the latest film by acclaimed director Vincent Ward, “Rain of the Children”, which premièred at the Sydney Film Festival, as well as Juliet Veber’s well-received documentary “Trouble is My Business”. There will be great interest in the two New Zealand feature-length films in the programme: “The Strength of Water”, a first film from New Zealand director, Armagan Ballantyne, set in the isolated north of New Zealand, and Toa Fraser’s “Dean Spanley”, a period piece set in England which brings together some great actors.
The range of Australian films on offer is also very exciting. Just a few months after its Cannes première, Jane Campion’s “Bright Star” will be a highlight and, of course, New Zealanders do not forget that she is one of our most famous film-makers.
I am delighted that the New Zealand-France Friendship Fund has been able to support the establishment of a New Zealand prize for screenwriting. This is a welcome development which I hope will encourage new talent and perhaps lead to further contacts or exchanges between France and New Zealand in the area of cinema.
Once again the International Festival of the Cinéma des Antipodes will reveal some of the vibrancy and quality of film-making “down-under”. The New Zealand Embassy is proud to support this Festival and we would like to convey our warm appreciation to the Mayor and the authorities of St Tropez for the assistance and welcome they accord this event each year.
I wish Les Rencontres Internationales du Cinema des Antipodes 2009 every success.