The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia is an enthusiastic partner of the Young at Heart Film Festival (now in its fifth year). Newly preserved prints of two great Australian films — Breaker Morant (1980) (from the Kodak/Atlab Collection) and The Fringe Dwellers (1986) (from the Deluxe/Kodak Collection) — were screened at this year’s event held at the Dendy Opera Quays in Sydney. Bruce Beresford, the director of both of these fine films, was a special guest at this year’s festival. Aboriginal affairs advocate Aunty Millie Ingram of the Wyanga Aboriginal Aged Care Program in Redfern introduced the screening of The Fringe Dwellers.
Such screenings of classic Australian titles are rare, especially the newly preserved 35 mm prints from the NFSA’s national collection. This year was special because The Festivalists team invited Bruce to share his stories and conduct a Q&A after the screening of Breaker Morant. Bruce reported that although the film had not been a huge success at the box office, it has defined him as a director and led to ongoing work over a 30-year period and numerous nominations and awards including at Cannes and the Oscars.
Although there are now 75 Australian feature films preserved in the NFSA’s Kodak/Atlab and Deluxe/Kodak Collections, these new prints are rarely seen on the silver screen. Appearances at festivals such as the Young at Heart Film Festival are always received with enthusiasm tinged with some surprise at how wonderful the films look and sound after all this time.