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Darwin International Film Festival: Take Two

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This year, DIFF will be DIFFerent. The Darwin International Film Festival will screen at various venues across Darwin from 2-9 May 2021. Tickets are now on sale on the website. The festival features a curated selection of outstanding and award-winning films from Australia and the world, as well as the Capricornia Film Awards, the NT Screen Summit, and Spark gala screening. It's cutting-edge cinema from across the globe to Top End audiences with 19 films from 14 countries and 8 Australian-to-World premieres. The two day summit is a great opportunity for Territorians in the film industry to network with some of the major players of the national screen industry.

This year's program has something for everyone, from border thrillers to comedies, to a heartfelt love letter to Filipino cinema. Highlighting at the festival once again the Spark Film Initiative will be joined by two NT-produced features. This Take Two edition will be capped off by a glittering awards ceremony closing the festival in style with the Capricornia Film Awards and a killer after party. Join DIFF in supporting the Territory screen industry at this star-studded night filled with entertainment, surprises, emotion and huge levels of territory-ness! Tickets include dinner and a welcome drink, ceremony and access to the After Party.

The festival will kick off with Singaporian film Tiong Bahru Social Club on Sunday 2 May 2021 at 7pm. A brilliant dark comedy and social allegory about an urban community's pursuit of ultimate peace and collective happiness, Tiong Bahru Social Club is as much a visual treat as a feel-good, gentle satire on the absurdity of life. Other highlights include two NT documentaries screening as part of the festival. Wild Things follows a new generation of environmental activists that are mobilising against forces more powerful than themselves and saying, enough. Under a Pagan Sky follows Australian Druids and Witches as they navigate challenges inherent in practicing their nature-based religion south of the equator.

For four years in a row, the Spark Film Initiation has been a collection of commissioned short films by local emerging talent. This year, the theme is Intergenerational relationships. Top-End identities will be featured in the shorts screening at Spark, including choreographer Gary Lang in A Dancer for all Seasons; frontman for the loudest band in the desert Chris Wallace in Desert Metal Dreaming; the godfather of Darwin's Saint Mary's Football Club Vic Ludwig in Uncle Vic; and in Poleng, Jocelyn Tribe bravely opens up to filmmaker Naina Sen on the complexities of her biracial identity. For the first time, Spark is joined by broadcast partner ABC, so the films can be enjoyed nation-wide!

Tales from Australia will take centre-stage in Independent Aus with the screening of My Name is Gulpilil, a deeply personal documentary on the extraordinary and culture-clashing life of legendary Australian actor David Gulpilil. Other films include Unsound, a unique coming of age romantic drama and Greenfield, a powerful film from Western Australia exploring the group dynamics of male dominated small towns and the toxic environment they can breed.

Neighbouring Asia will have the best stories with Help is on the Way, an award-winning documentary that explores the dreams and realities of human migration through a training centre that prepares women to become overseas domestic workers. Circa on the other hand is a tribute to 100 years of the Philippine film industry. It delves into the final moments of celebrated film producer Doņa Atang (Anita Linda) as she holds a reunion with the actors and staff of her past. He Who is Without Sin is also a story from the Philippines about a broadcasting student who discovers the shady truth about the TV reporter he idolises. A cautionary tale told in three contradicting accounts.

New cinematic marvels can be found in Global Gems from around the world, making their Top End debut. Our Lady of the Nile observes young girls in Rwanda coming of age in a prestigious boarding school amid a backdrop of violence and imperialism. Winner of Best Documentary at the European Film Awards, Collective is a gripping thriller that follows a heroic team of journalists as they expose shocking corruption in the Romanian national health-care system. Sundance Audience award-winning drama Identifying Features is a heart-shattering border story that looks at the predation of would-be illegal immigrants in the U.S. Set over 24 hours in London, Surge is a stripped back thriller about a man (James Bond's Ben Whishaw) who goes on a bold and reckless journey of self-liberation.

There's a lineup of Family Films that includes the epic animated adventure Yakari, A Spectacular Journey and a special screening of Best of Annency Kids 2020, where a collection of funny and touching animated shorts have been curated to enchant children from the age of six and up. Moving On, Mother Schmuckers and The Salt of Tears completes the lineup of the festival. Stay in touch via Facebook for updates.

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Why? Darwin International Film Festival 2021
When: 2-9 April 2021
Where: Deckchair Cinema, Jervois Rd, Darwin City, NT & Darwin Entertainment Centre, 93 Mitchell St, Darwin, NT
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by Jen on 23/08/2020
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