The inaugural Australian Music Week Film Festival unveils incredible international program

The first ever Australian Music Week Film Festival arrives at the end of next month, set to screen an impressive array of World and Australian Premieres across two venues from October 31st until November 3rd. The festival accompanies the annual Australian Music Week conference, which takes over Cronulla Beach for three days just outside of Sydney.

The festival will open with the Australian Premiere of Take Me To The River, presented in conjunction with Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. In the acclaimed documentary, Terrence Howard narrates the tale of several generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians who have come together to create a historic new album they hope will transcend race and gender. The Opening Night gala screening will take place at Event Cinemas on George Street on Tuesday, 31st October.

The rest of the program will take over the GU Film House in Cronulla, with nightly feature screenings across three nights and a special short film and music video program to help close the festival, showcasing filmmakers from Australia and all around the world.

The first night in Cronulla will see a special program of films focusing on women in music, with a screening of Play Your Gender (Canada), a recent hit of the Melbourne International Film Festival, as well as the World Premiere of the Australian film Breaking The Mould, which will be accompanied by the German short film audio engenering. 

Breaking The Mould is an independent documentary featuring a number of interviews with a diverse array of Australian artists and bands, reflecting on their experiences and sharing their opinions about the role of gender in Australian music since the 1950s. Inspired by Lindy Morrison’s legendary documentary, Australian Women in Rock & Pop Music, which was released in 1995, the documentary features interviews with The Jezabels, Katie Noonan, The Grates, Jebediah, Abbe May, Stonefield, Grace Knight (Eurogliders), Regurgitator, Mia Dyson and Mental As Anything. The film is narrated by Zoë Norton Lodge, best known for her work on the ABC (The Checkout, Story Club & Chaser’s Media Circus).

Night two will feature the first Sydney screening of another hit of the Melbourne International Film Festival, Something Quite Peculiar: The Life and Time of Steve Kilbey (UK/Australia), as well as Decks and the City (Australia), which will hold its World Premiere in Adelaide just days before being part of the AMW Film Festival program. Decks and the City explores the passion for electronic music within the night life scene of Adelaide and the obstacles that DJ’s, producers, venue owners and patrons face from lawmakers and a conservative society. A topic also close to the heart of Sydneysiders, too. Something Quite Peculiar, meanwhile, delivers an intimate insight into the life of iconic The Church frontman Steve Kilbey.

The second night will see the Australian Premiere of Garage Rockin’ Craze (Japan/Canada), the new film by indie director Mario Cuzic (Tsunami Attack, The Swap), which takes you on a savage journey into the heart of underground Tokyo rock and roll. Shot over six years almost entirely by Cuzic alone, the film centres on promoter Daddy-O-Nov, the man responsible for discovering titans of Japanese gunk punk such as Guitar Wolf (Wild Zero), the 5.6.7.8’s (Kill Bill), Teengenerate (GET ACTION!!).

On the final night of the festival Trenches of Rock (USA) will receive its Australian premiere. An Atlanta Film Festival official selection, the documentary marks the directorial debut of filmmaker Paul Michael Bloodgood. Executive Produced by Oscar and Grammy winner James Moll (Foo Fighters: Back and Forth), the film depicts the career of 1980s heavy metal band BLOODGOOD, who was targeted not only by a mainstream music industry that found their blatant use of faith-based lyrics an unfitting marriage with heavy metal, but also by Christians who believed their music was the work of the devil. BLOODGOOD became a trailblazer of “Christian Metal,” touring the world and facing adversity head-on while confronted by death threats, picketers and protests of these “metal missionaries.”

The short films which feature in the program – almost off of which are making their Australian premiere – showcase documentary, scripted and animated shorts that delve into everything from the music scene in Haiti (Sound of the Future: Haiti, USA) to a hungover band on the road who can’t remember how they lost their door take (Shout at the Ground, New Zealand). In The Music Stops Here, British director Adam Farkas asks, “when our cities develop, why is culture the first to go?”, which will be a topic particularly timely in the lock out law economy of Sydney. Partycipation animates the modern party world in the UK, while Adrift takes viewers on a journey from Uyghur (China) to Japan and then to Sydney in an often emotional portrait of traditional musician Shohrat Tursun. We meet the small Colorado recording studio Western Jubilee in the short of the same name and enter an alternate reality of Australia in a hybrid short film and music video for the band Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, with “Buzz”.

The vibrant music video program that accompanies it focuses predominantly on Australian acts, with directors hailing from all corners of the globe, with the inclusion of a video for a group who are no strangers to creating music for the screen, Explosions in the Sky. Elsewhere in the program, rising Australian stars Confidence Man feature their track “Boyfriend” in a video directed by German based filmmakers Eileen Huhn & Pierre Horn. Brisbane musician Thomas Calder animates his own song “A Lazy Kind of Pain”, released under his Daggy Man moniker. Vera Blue, WAAX, CLYPSO, Cosmo Thundercat, Wet Lips, Hachiku and Canada’s Hawksley Workman are among the artists whose videos also feature.

The festival will close with a special 30th Anniversary screening of the classic rock documentary Australian Made, which will be accompanied by a very special Q&A to be announced soon.

Special guest filmmakers and as well as talent from the films will be at select screenings throughout the week, with Q&As and introductions taking place throughout the program. These details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Festival programmer Larry Heath (also the Director of the National Live Music Awards) said of the lineup reveal, “I’m thrilled to debut a brand new film festival with such a vibrant selection of music focused films from all over the world. We received thousands of submissions, and our only regret is that we couldn’t fit more into the program. I hope everyone finds the time to come out and be the first in Australia – and in some cases the world – to see these powerful, important and hugely entertaining works.”

The full list of included films and music videos are below.

Feature Films
Take Me To The River (USA)
Play Your Gender (Canada)
Breaking The Mould (Australia) accompanied by audio engeneering (Germany)
Something Quite Peculiar: The Life and Times of Steve Kilbey (UK/Australia)
Decks and the City (Australia)
Garage Rockin’ Craze (Japan/Canada)
Australian Made (Australia)
Trenches of Rock (USA)

Short Film Program
Sound of the Future: HAITI (USA)
Adrift (Australia/France)
Shout at the Ground (New Zealand)
The Music Stops Here (UK)
Partycipation (UK)
Western Jubilee (USA)
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – Buzz (Australia)

Short Film Program
Wet Lips – Here If You Need
Suss Cunts – Shit Friend
Hachiku – Moonface
Curt Manor – Adelphi Hotel Nightmare
Daggy Man – A Lazy Kind of Pain
Dead Language – The Man Who Killed My Father
WAAX – Wild & Weak
Caves ft. Hannah Joy – Here We Are
Stevie and the Sleepers – Young Again
Cosmo Thundercat – Warning Bell
Vera Blue – Private
Explosions in the Sky – The Ecstatics
Confidence Man – Boyfriend
CLYPSO – YOLO
Hawksey Workman – Small Town Dracula

The short film and music video programs will screen together on Friday, November 3rd at 8.30pm.

Tickets to all screenings are on sale now through Event Cinemas, with all screenings at GU Film House in Cronulla (located at 2 – 6 Cronulla Street) just $10, plus applicable booking fees, while the opening night premiere at Event Cinemas on George Street will attract normal ticket prices.

For more details about the Australian Music Week festival, head HERE.