Film lovers can finally let out a collective sigh of relief because the Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air (BOFA) Film Festival is back for 2015 and the program is a sight to behold. With 15 feature films including two drive-in screenings, 20 documentaries, 35 short films, four one day Action master classes and two half day Actions sessions, there is truly a Breath of Fresh Air for everyone this year.
BOFA (situated in Launceston, Tasmania) will be dazzling audiences for its sixth annual festival held from Wednesday November 4 to Sunday November 8, 2015. And this year it’s all about curating your experience so that every breath is fresher than the last.
“Part of what makes BOFA so special is that we always try to make it more than just a chance to see compelling cinema,” says Festival Director Owen Tilbury. “BOFA is about getting inspired and seeing the world differently. So whatever your BOFA is – whether it’s features, docos, food-films, family films, offbeat films, eco films, or movies that convey profound ideas– there is a chance to engage and discover this year.”
Before the Festivals official opening night there will be a “Creating Community Change” Action Session on Wednesday 4th November. The session will showcase the best practice in community change processes. There will also be a screening of highly-anticipated Aussie Doco, Frackman, which follows ordinary Australian’s caught up in a multinational ‘gas rush.’ Its central character, Dayne Pratzky, who has become a media superstar, will be attending to discuss the role of film as a vehicle for change.
If features films are your BOFA than expect some colossal viewings on opening night because Tasmania’s very ownDeath or Liberty will be making its World Premiere at BOFA! Produced by Tassie locals Roar Films in partnership with Ireland’s Tile Films, Death or Liberty, directed by Steve Thomas, tells the compelling story of the political radicals and insurgents, regarded as the “terrorists” of their day, exiled to Australia from all points of the British Empire. It was these radicals, arriving in chains that formed the basis of our democracy.
Australian musical icon, Mick Thomas, who created the soundtrack for Death or Liberty, will be BOFA’s special guest on opening night and will be keeping the good vibes flowing strong at the Red Carpet After Party. Patrons are invited to mix with visiting film folk, enjoy fine Tasmanian food and wine, whilst Thomas and his band The Roving Commission serenade the evening away. As one of the parties of the year, this is an event not to be missed!
Cinephiles will also be thrilled to learn that BOFA is screening this year’s winner of the Cannes Directors Fortnight Europa Cinemas Award, Mustang. This heartfelt Turkish drama depicts the life of five young orphaned sisters whose innocent interactions with male classmates lead to their oppression under the draconian rules of their guardians. The Variety described Mustang as “a beautifully mounted story about the demonization of young female sexuality.”
Other critically revered films screening at BOFA include My Love, Don’t Cross That River, the bestselling Korean film of all time. This heartbreaking film from first timer Jin Mo-young follows lovebirds Jo Byeong-man and Kang Kye-yeo, who have been married for 76 years.
Tomm Moore’s enchanted tale Song of the Sea will be a perfect choice if you are after a family film. Moore’s animated story about a young boy who finds out his sister is a selkie – a mythical Irish sea creature – was Oscar nominated and won the Audience Award for Top Feature at Melbourne International Film Festival.
Kids are also going to love Brazilian-French film Amazonia about a capuchin monkey born and raised in captivity who finds himself lost in the wilderness of the Amazon Jungle, and the iconic American shark thriller Jaws.
There will be plenty to eat at the festival, but if food is your BOFA and you like your films to touch on the culinary arts then check out doco-drama City of Gold, which tells the story of Pulitzer Prize winning food critic, Jonathan Gold, who takes you on a journey of discovery into the ethnic sould of Los Angeles food scene, and Finding Gatson – a mouth-watering film about Peruvian restaurateur extraordinaire Gaston Acurio, who single-handedly changed his country with his food.
Alternatively, if offbeat cinema is your BOFA than you’re not going to want to miss the hilarious independent comedyTangerine, winner of the Stanley Kubrick Award at the Traverse City Film Festival. Shattering casting conventionsTangerine, shot totally on iPhone, tells the story of a trans-gender hooker who finds out that her boyfriend/pimp cheated on her while she was in jail. With the help of her best friend she sets out to find him and teach him and his new, straight lover a lesson.
For the documentary-inclined there is Iris, a portrait of Iris Apfel, a 93 year old fashion icon with a quick wit, sharp tongue and a penchant for dropping insightful and hilarious one line musings on the world. In true style the film will be followed by a bubbles and brioche social event.
A series of vivid eco-films will also be screened at the festival for those interested in nature and natural history. Sherpas: the True heroes of Everest is a captivating documentary delving into the history and culture of the Sherpas who guide climbers to Mount Everest, with donations raised at the screening being sent to the Nepal earthquake relief. The Pearl Button is a mesmerizing documentary guiding viewers through the stories of Chile’s past and the synchronicity of geography, history and the physical universe.
Powerful Tasmanian classic The Tale of Ruby Rose will screen as a retrospective at the festival, followed by a Q&A with writer/director Roger Scholes. The film captures Ruby’s story of isolation and anxiety. In the wild and lonely wilderness of the Tasmanian highlands, Ruby is overcome by her fears – concocting elaborate and mythical stories to survive.
BOFA is also about action. Films on innovation and community development are used to prompt an audience of opinion leaders from around Tasmania to make plans for creating state growth and effective collaboration .This year BOFA will partner with the International Women’s Development Agency in presenting this year’s Big Picture Discussion. The free session will tackle the controversial topic of The Ethics Of Australian Aid In Developing Countries. Using excerpts from powerful short Walk Selina and the insightful film The Opposition, the session will discuss the important question – how can we ethically build sustainable industry in developing countries in the light of reducing Australian aid and the systemic corruption in many such societies?
Action sessions this year will feature a number of short films used to encourage and stimulate opinion leaders to engage in new topics and innovative ideas. Tasmania’s poor health outcomes will be addressed in a Sharing the Bounty Action Session. By evaluating the vibrant local food economy and the value of Tasmanian produce, the session will highlight how we can innovate and “share the bounty” of our food system with those most in need of it locally and elsewhere.
Aspiring filmmakers would do well to attend the “Maximizing Impact and Money for Indie Film Makers” master-class. Industry professionals will be sharing the tricks of the trade and explaining how to maximize the impact (on audiences and in making change) and money (both investment and financial returns) of your film by using the Impact Producer process and new distribution mechanisms.
The Festival Lounge and Wine Bar will be open all throughout the festival from 11am until late in The Annexe, providing the perfect place to meet up with friends before or after a film and enjoy fine Tasmanian wine, cider and beer, gourmet food and coffee. Patrons can also gain privileged access to Tasmania’s world class cool climate sparkling wines and wineries through BOFA’s exclusive “Behind the Bubbles” and “Taste of the Tamar” tours. Intimate group tours will be led by wine and food connoisseur/author, Tony Walker, and will include wine tasting at Jansz, House of Arras, Apogee, and Pipers Brook.
So whatever your interest is, you’ll find YOUR BOFA at BOFA 2015. The Festival offers a jam-packed four days of the world’s best films, insightful discussions, and wonderful food and wine. Immerse yourself for the whole four days or dip into BOFA this November in Tasmania’s beautiful Tamar Valley. No matter WHAT’S YOUR BOFA it will be the ‘breath of fresh air’ you’ve been craving!