A day of downpours and wild winds that whipped umbrellas inside out did not slow the steady stream of Revelation Perth International Film Festival supporters into the Astor Theatre on Thursday evening, for the launch of the 2012 program. After complimentary drinks and canapés in the crowded upstairs bar, guests were herded into the theatre. The atmosphere was buoyant, with loud laughter and boisterous banter among attendees as they settled into the cinemas scarlet seats.
Russel Woolf was a charismatic master of ceremonies, opening the festivities with, “It was here I had my first snog and ladies if you’re feeling lucky where I may have my second” and repeatedly plugging his ABC 720AM radio program, before introducing founder and chairman of ‘Rev’, Richard Sowada. First time festivalgoers or long-term supporters alike would have appreciated Sowada’s brief history of the past fifteen years, including details such as packing up his clapped out car with gear and screening on 16mm film.
Program director, Jack Sargeant, took to the microphone reminiscing that “coming in tonight was like coming into your living room”, expressing the familiarity and affection he has developed for ‘Rev’ over his five years directing the program. He spoke passionately of the films of the evening as “an animation beautifully realized and poignant” and a feature that “encapsulates Rev, being a low budget independent film that punches above its weight”.
The ten-minute animation, Being Bradford Dillman, followed an introspective young English girl, Molly Flowers, and her single, self-absorbed mother. The issues of alcoholism, gender and identity were portrayed in touching ways that were equally engaging and challenging. Viewers experienced deflated and disillusioned Molly’s daily encounters with a desperate longing, as her sole parent behaved as though out to win ‘most selfish mother of the year’. Little wonder this short, directed by Emma Burch, has been officially selected for over thirty international film festivals and winning awards.
Beauty is Embarrassing, director Neil Berkeley’s debut feature presentation, was a thoroughly pleasurable viewing experience. A documentary chronicling the life and inspiration of American artist Wayne White, the ninety-minute film was engrossing, uplifting and an inspiration. Described as ‘infectious’, ‘irreverent’ and ‘compelling’ by viewers, it showed the struggles White has experienced as a creative pioneer, freethinker and ultimately, as a son, father and man. Self-narrating his journey from a Southern childhood to his international commercial success with touchingly sentimentality and refreshing honesty on-screen, he pointed the middle finger at ego, vanity and the snobbery that the fine art scene can cultivate. One of those rare films that have the effect of invigorating the audience long after the final credits have been rolled.
By Lisa Morrison.
The 15th Revelation Perth International Film Festival runs from July 5-15th. You can view the full program of events online at www.revelationfilmfest.org