The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival says it’s Australia’s only outback film festival – and this year there’s a killer lineup to checkout.
Granted, you’ll have to trek over to Winton, Queensland, to attend, but it certainly looks like it’ll be worth your while.
Opening the festival is Ivan Sen’s Limbo, a modern monochrome film about the complexities of loss and the impact of the justice system on First Nations families. It has a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics calling it Sen’s best film to date.
The festival will have eight days of screenings, Q&As, a kids club with age-appropriate films, a night focusing only on silent films, and the returning ‘Breakfast with the Stars’ series, in which patrons can sit down with legends like John Seale, Ray Martin and Ivan Sen to hear about the tricks of the trade.
The festival opens this weekend, and takes place mainly in The Royal Theatre, Winton’s 1918-built open-air theatre.
Here are some select highlights from the program:
Limbo follows Travis (Simon Baker), a detective who arrives in a remote outback town to investigate a twenty year-old outback cold case murder. This is the latest film from acclaimed director Ivan Sen (Mystery Road, Goldstone, Beneath Clouds), and it opens the 2023 Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival.
The Survival of Kindness follows protagonist BlackWoman, as she walks through pestilence and persecution, from desert to mountain to city, only to encounter ever increasing adversity and more captivity. Kindness is a controversial new film from veteran Australian director Rolf de Heer.
Sweet As is a uniquely Australian coming-of-age tale that follows troubled sixteen-year-old Murra, whose life is turned around when she is forced to knuckle down on a ‘photo-safari for at-risk kids’. While she’s on the road trip of her life, she meets a whole new crew of unlikely friends.
Monolith is a science fiction thriller in which a disgraced journalist turns to podcasting to salvage her career, before uncovering a strange artefact that she believes is evidence of an alien conspiracy. Directed by Matthew Vesely.
The 30th anniversary screening of Sirens allows audiences to see the controversial 1994 flick on the big screen. When a painting is termed blasphemous, a young minister and his wife visit the artist and the three ‘sexually playful’ models living with him. The minister’s wife is troubled and has to deal with latent sexual urges while trying to remain loyal to her husband.
Brenda’s first memories were of growing up in a loving white foster family, before she was suddenly taken away and returned to her Aboriginal family. Decades later, she feels disconnected from both halves of her life. The Last Daughter is a documentary about Brenda’s journey to unearth the truth about her past, and to reconcile the two sides of her family.
When radio host Neville lands in hospital, a group of unexpected performers crash his show The Lonely Spirits Variety Hour. Lonely Spirits is a local absurdist comedy that our critic Stephen A Russell described as ‘dreamy’, but with ‘a heart-wrenching twist’.
The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival runs from 23 June-1 July 2023. You can find tickets and more information at the Vision Splendid website.