The Turning strikes a chord

Still from Tim Winton’s The Turning, making its world premiere at MIFF 2013. Christina Ricci (right) stars in Around the Block, set in Redfern.

People planning to turn up for The Turning

Producer-director Robert Connolly describes ticket sales for the Tim Winton adaptation The Turning as ”huge” so far. An innovative approach to turn the film into a special event in cinemas has generated more than $200,000 in pre-sales. After a series of Q&A screenings around the country, the three-hour film is screening for two weeks from Thursday with an interval and a free program. Like a live show in a theatre, it will also have just one session a night, plus the odd matinee in some cinemas. ”I’ve picked the 15 best screens in the country to launch this film,” says Connolly, whose boldness ran to using 17 directors for different chapters of the film including actors David Wenham and Mia Wasikowska. In Sydney, The Turning is screening at the Cremorne Orpheum, Dendy Newtown, Dendy Opera Quays and Palace Verona.  In Melbourne, it’s at the Nova, Rivoli, Palace Como and Palace Brighton. Other venues are the Palace Electric in Canberra; Palace Centro and Dendy Portside in Brisbane, the Arts Centre on the Gold Coast, Palace East End in Adelaide, Luna Leederville and Luna on SX in Perth and the State Cinema in Hobart.Around the Block moves around the calendar

The cinema release of the film that Christina Ricci (pictured) shot in Australia last year, Sarah Spillane’s Around The Block, is shifting from November to March next year. Producer Brian Rosen says the warm audience response at the world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival has encouraged thoughts the drama could take up to $3 million at the local box office. ”We need to get 50 or 60 screens to be able to do that,” he says. ”If we go in November, I don’t think I can find that many screens. So we’re looking to push into March after the Oscars.” The film is about a high school teacher (Ricci) who wants to help a talented indigenous student (Hunter Page-Lochard) at the time of the Redfern Riots. “It’s a gritty urban story that really could be set anywhere – East LA or Sao Paulo – so it’s got a universal appeal,” says Rosen.Golden oldies not so mouldy

Two classics feature at the Seniors Film Festival in Melbourne next week, Casablanca and Gone With The Wind. But it’s not all nostalgia with the program also including the French drama Haute Cuisine, about a cook employed by the French president, and Alex Gibney’s powerhouse documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In the House of God, about the culture of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. The festival runs  October 6-11 at the Australian Centre For The Moving Image, with seniors tickets $5 and carers free.Documentray legend O’Rourke remembered

The Antenna Documentary Festival in Sydney will pay tribute to one of the country’s finest documentary makers, Dennis O’Rourke, who died in June. A screening of Cunnamulla, his controversial 2000 film about a Queensland country town, will be followed by a Q&A with executive producer Stefan Moore and editor Andrea Lang. ”In my view it’s Dennis’s greatest film,” says Moore. ”I was very surprised at how controversial it was. I looked at it as just a beautiful film about this small dot on the Earth.” While some claimed two Aboriginal teenagers were exploited by discussing their sex lives in the film, Moore says O’Rourke’s intention was ”to show how brave these girls were”. The festival opens with Eva Orner’s The Network, about a new Afghan television station, at the Chauvel cinema next Wednesday (sub: October 2). In Melbourne, it runs at ACMI from October 17 to 20.

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