Revelation Film Festival 2023 full program revealed
The 26th annual Revelation Perth International Film Festival returns in 2023, screening at Luna Cinemas Leederville from Wednesday, July 12 to Sunday, July 16.
Featuring 17 documentaries, 16 feature films, a locally made web series, an extra special event presentation based around an experimental film like no other, the annual Industrial Revelations industry programme of talks/workshops, a free and family friendly animation showcase, over 80 short films and much more, the festival is packed with cinematic delights from all four corners of the globe.
“We can’t be happier with our 2023 program,” says Festival Director Richard Sowada. “From opening with a new work from one of our favourite local filmmakers to premieres of a tonne of locally produced short and feature films, this year’s showcase of new indie films demonstrates the blossoming of the sector post-COVID.”
Leading the charge of international features is US crime drama Devil’s Peak – from Perth director, and Revelation Perth International Film Festival Ambassador, Ben Young (Hounds of Love, Extinction) and local production company See Pictures (Breath, The Little Death, June Again). Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Robin Wright, Hopper Penn and Emma Booth and set in North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains, the screen adaptation of David Joy’s novel titled Where All Light Tends To Go follows eighteen-year-old Jacob McNeely who is torn between his meth-dealing kingpin father and leaving the mountains forever with the girl he loves.
With all sound and post-production requirements for the feature handled by Western Australian providers it marks the first time the full scope of an international feature film of this scale was completed in the state, with the Australian premiere screening on Wednesday, July 12.
Other international feature films in this year’s programme include The Integrity Of Joseph Chambers – which tells of an insurance salesman and family man who wants to acquire the skills to be able to take care of his family in case of an apocalypse; written and directed by Robert Machoian (The Killing of Two Lovers); Unidentified Objects – a film about an uptight dwarf and his free spirited, alien-obsessed neighbour who hit the road on a border-defying search for their own place in the universe; Mammalia – about a man on the brink of losing control who discovers a world of strange rituals and unsettling communities, as the lines between the real and the surreal start to blur; and How to Blow Up a Pipeline – an American environmental action-thriller in which a group of environmental activists come up with a daring plan to make their voices heard and disrupt an oil pipeline.
Rev also presents a screening of An Untitled and Perfectly Legal Coming of Age Parody Film – one of the most talked about and ground-breaking films of the year, this controversial film is a trans coming of age comedy where filmmakers cannot legally call the film by its original title due to some outstanding legal issues.
Other international highlights include Canadian indie hit Riceboy Sleeps – set in the 90s about strong-willed Korean single mother raising her young son in the suburbs; and I Like Movies – the debut feature from director Chandler Levack. Set in the early 2000s the film stars Isaiah Lehtinen as Lawrence Kweller, a socially inept movie-obsessed 17-year-old who gets a job in a video store where he forms a complicated relationship with his older female manager.
There’s also German horror comedy Holy Shit! in which an architect wakes up from unconsciousness – bloody and squeezed into a portaloo; and Austrian artistic genre film Enter Mycel.
Audiences can catch the latest Japanese superhero film Shin Ultraman alongside Maniac Cop from 1988 and Merry Chrstimas Mr. Lawrence from 1983 as Rev brings these gems back to the big screen. Based on the experiences of Sir Laurens van der Post as a prisoner of war in Japan during WWII, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence stars David Bowie, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Takeshi Kitano and Jack Thompson, whilst Maniac Cop is an American action slasher film.
International documentaries in this year’s programme include the found footage film comprised entirely of often-shocking videos uploaded by Russian teenagers to social media platforms – Manifesto. The presumably pseudonymous filmmaker Angie Vinchito has taken considerable risk with this darkly disturbing portrait of school life that shows how aggression and oppression are unwittingly passed onto the next generation.
Rev also presents the psychotropic spectacle of American politics from 2016 – 2021 which is Hello Dankness – the latest sample-based experimental film from New York based Australian siblings Dan and Dominique Angeloro, the artist duo also known as Soda Jerk. A political fable disguised as a stoner musical comprised entirely of hundreds of pirated film samples, this is part political satire, part zombie stoner film and part Greek tragedy – a record of the time, written from the time. Soda Jerk will visit Perth during the Festival to participate in a Special Event screening on Thursday, July 13.
Other international documentaries include Duthchas – containing previously unseen 8mm archival film of everyday life on Berneray, the film is a celebration of community and culture from the 1960s and 70s; De Humani Coporis Fabrica – which literally opens the human body to cinema and offers an examination of the human body as an extraordinary landscape that is also otherworldly and harrowing, from five hospitals in northern Paris neighbourhoods; Werner Herzog Radical Dreamer– a documentary on the iconic director Werner Herzog revealing extraordinary anecdotes about his filmmaking process; Smoke Sauna Sisterhood – an Estonian documentary set in the darkness of a smoke sauna, where women share their innermost thoughts, secrets and intimate experiences.
Rev also presents the world premiere of IX XI – a US documentary about 9/11 from director Sean Wilsey who will attend the Festival in person; The Space Race – from National Geographic Documentary Films, this emotive and educational exploration of the experiences of the first Black astronauts features candid interviews spotlighting the oft-omitted racial injustice narratives and present-day realities of these pioneers; Heavenly Resentments from NYC underground filmmaker and musician Carey Burtt and The New Americans – a seven-hour documentary about a diverse group of immigrants and refugees who leave their home and families behind to learn what it means to be new Americans in the 21st century.
The darkly funny Citizen Sleuth is an engaging and thrilling documentary about a true crime podcast which examines the ethics of the true crime genre and how the power of narrative can affect truth and communities; and Sunlight: Yes is an Australian documentary from Japanese/Australian writer, filmmaker and Perth-based academic Kenta McGrath and filmmaker Joseph London.
Lee Fields: Faithful Man is a feature documentary 50 years in the making about the soul of soul singers; What You Could Not Visualise is an intimate portrait of the short-lived 4AD band Rema-Rema who were part of the initial wave of post-punk bands that formed in the late 70s after the demise of punk; while Little Richard: I Am Everything is a treasure trove of archival footage that recounts the story of black queer origins of rock n’ roll.
The programme also features Nam June Paik: Moon is the Oldest TV – which tells the remarkable story of Paik as a citizen of the world and trailblazing artist – the father of video art and coiner of the term “electronic superhighway”; Circus Of The Scars – a sensational circus sideshow act that exploded out of the Pacific Northwest and revived a lost art form of the 90s US grunge rock scene; Fragments Of Paradise – which follows Jonas Mekas, the godfather of avant-garde cinema, who emigrated to New York in 1949 and over the next 70 years drove the rise of the independent film scene; and Bolan’s Shoes – a light-hearted comedy with supernatural chills that is a joyful celebration of seventies culture taking us on a tumultuous journey from the height of T.Rex mania to the present-day poignancy of what would have been guitarist Marc Bolan’s 75th birthday.
On the local home front, Rev presents the seven-episode lesbian web series shot in Fremantle, Love Me Lex; celebrates micro-budget triumphs with the Australian premiere of Frank and Frank from Albany writer/director Adam Morris (Edward and Isabella), a bromance movie which stars Myles Pollard and Trevor Jamieson and was filmed on location in Albany and Mt Barker; and presents Show Me The Magic: The Adventures of Don McAlpine from 2013 – a tender portrait of a life in film which weaves together footage from Don’s personal archive and work on sets of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, directed by WA Screen Academy’s Cathy Henkel who will present a masterclass in documentary filmmaking as part of the Industrial Revelations programme.
Rev also shines a spotlight on absurdist and surreal filmmaking with metafictional comic odyssey Paco – in which a sound recordist goes in search of his most crucial possession, his radio microphone.
WAnimate presents a showcase of animation from WA filmmakers from the past 15 years and Rev also gets behind one of our favourite local film critics, RTRFM GM and Rotten Tomatoes certified, Simon Miraudo, with the launch of his book Book Of The Banned which takes a deep dive into the history of film censorship in Australia.
In a special partnership with the WA Museum Boola Bardip, Rev presents a screening of The Mummy from 1959 – from Hammer Studios who brought us The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula. This is pure Hammer horror entertainment, screening at the Museum to align with their Discovering Ancient Egypt exhibition.
Rev’s International Family Animation Explosion also returns this year, screening a specially curated collection of family friendly international short animations that are perfect for all ages (and the best news is, tickets are free).
Rev presents a sidebar of Experimental Shorts as well as Horror Shorts – From the Gothics to the Ghostly to the Grotesque and the Gross. As well as some ‘’long shorts’’ gathered together in The World and All Within It and Fault Lines.
Westralia Day shines a light on locally made films on Saturday, July 15 at The Backlot, and the festival closes with the annual celebration of WA’s talented emerging filmmakers at the popular Get Your Shorts On! and City Of Vincent Film Project Special Event on Sunday, July 16.
Revelation Perth International Film Festival hits Luna Cinemas Leederville from Wednesday, July 12 to Sunday, July 16, 2023. For the full programme and to buy tickets, head to revelationfilmfest.org