Guest country: Australia

BY SUSANNE HAYDON

It’s the bicentennial year of independence in Argentina – a special year for celebration – and Australia will be the guest country at the 25th Mar del Plata Film Festival in Argentina from 13-21 November 2010.

Situated on the Atlantic coast, five hours drive south of Buenos Aires at Mar del Plata, the festival has attendance figures of around 125,000 and is a significant event on the South American cultural calendar.

The NFSA will supply the prints of all the Australian films screening, which comprise a stunning retrospective of Australian classic cinema:

  • Breaker Morant (Bruce Beresford, 1978)
  • The Cars that Ate Paris (Peter Weir, 1973)
  • Caddie (Donald Crombie, 1974)
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Fred Schepsi, 1978)
  • Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, 1986)
  • Money Movers (Bruce Beresford, 1978)
  • My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong, 1979)
  • Proof (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 1991)
  • Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971)

A scene from Wake in Fright (1971), Gary Bond (John Grant) at the Budanyabba train station.

All of the filmmakers of these iconic titles have given their whole-hearted support to the screening of their films at the festival. A highlight will be the screening of Wake in Fright, hopefully presented by Ted Kotcheff himself. Whereas the other titles have been photochemically preserved, Wake in Fright was a full film restoration using the latest film and digital technology to produce new 35mm prints. It was a challenging and amazing project for everyone involved.

Festival President José Martinez Suárez and Festival Programmer Pablo Conde, are committed to this Australian retrospective with the best possible 35mm prints coming from the NFSA collection.  They feel that the NFSA, together with their sponsors Deluxe Sydney and Kodak Australasia, have taken an international leadership role in feature film preservation. With 75 titles due to be completed by June 2011, the films preserved in the Kodak/Atlab and Deluxe/Kodak Collections represent a significant national effort.

I have been working closely with Pablo Conde over the last months to line the up the program and ensure that the screening experience at Mar del Plata is a great success and I will be there to present some of the films and participate in a round table conversation about the importance of film preservation at the national level.