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Veterans Film Festival Launches 2022 Program Coming to AFTRS in November

Festival Chair and MD Warwick Young OAM speaks at the VFF launch

Apple Original Films’ Causeway, starring and produced by Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, will have its Australian Premiere as the opening night film for the Veterans Film Festival in Sydney on 3 November in the presence of Festival Patrons, their Excellencies, General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Mrs Linda Hurley.

Tickets are now on sale for the four-day program at Hoyts and AFTRS in the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park which will not only see features and documentary, shorts and animation by and about veterans, but also host a Masterclass with legendary Director Bruce Beresford among other special events.

Causeway features Jennifer Lawrence as a military engineer who has returned to the States from Afghanistan with a debilitating brain injury after an IED explosion. Emmy and Tony Award-nominee Brian Tyree Henry stars alongside Lawrence in the film directed by Lila Neugebauer, which will premiere on Apple TV+ on November 4, 2022, after the Festival opening.

Festival Chair and Chief Executive Warwick Young OAM, himself an Iraq veteran and also actor and filmmaker (and AFTRS alum), says the Festival will cover many themes not only relatable to veterans and their families but also intended to bring out the general public in support of the veteran community.

Highlights like the celebratory documentary The Skin of Others profiling the life of extraordinary Aboriginal soldier and journalist Douglas Grant from WWI and the new Australian feature, the Stan Original Film Transfusion starring Sam Worthington as a former Special Forces operative will have broad appeal.

A retrospective including three of Beresford’s incredible films – Breaker Morant, Paradise Road and Ladies in Black are expected to be popular, alongside Bill Bennett’s A Street To Die including an in conversation event with its star Chris Haywood.

It will be the first edition of the Festival in Sydney after moving from Canberra for its 7th outing. More than 20 new and retrospective films are on offer plus the prestigious Red Poppy Awards that come with cash prizes of $15,000.

NSW Minister for Veterans David Elliott said the Festival provided a much needed opportunity for the public to connect with and support veterans and their families.

“It is wonderful to have the Veterans Film Festival here in New South Wales for the first time. NSW has a rich history of acknowledging the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families. The film festival provides a great opportunity for the community to learn more about veterans and their service and the other skills that veterans possess.” Mr Elliott said.

The new Festival home in Sydney is intended to expand the close association with AFTRS who are partnering with VFF to deliver the new Screen Warriors program supporting veterans into industry training and employment in the film sector. The festival is also supported by Screen NSW as a film festival held in Sydney’s City of Film. The new Australian film Transfusion, starring Sam Worthington and Phoebe Tonkin and written and directed by Matt Nable who also stars will screen with French film War Trap, and the Ari Folman directed animation feature Where is Anne Frank? that reimagines the incredible legacy of her wartime story through her imaginary friend Kitty in modern day Amsterdam. Australian documentary The Healing by Nick Barkla will play alongside Canadian drama feature The Ace and the Scout.

Two strands of short films in the program bring films from all over the world including Iran, Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine, United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. Shorts include War Games, Ride Away, The Long River Home, Barrier and from female filmmakers, The Soft-Skinned and Freedom Swimmer which will be complemented by the animations The Sprayer and Balance both from Iran and Ukraine’s highly current Life and Death.

Beresford, who will give a Masterclass on November 6th, also Chairs the Jury Panel for the prestigious Red Poppy Awards that will include Best Feature and Best short with competition films screening across the festival.

The festival is presented at Hoyts Cinema EQ and AFTRS located next door, with an Art Exhibition of work from veteran artists and photographers, including Mike Armstrong and work from his recent Voices of Veterans national touring exhibition and the Persona exhibition opening soon at the Australian National Veterans Art Museum (ANVAM).

Tickets are on sale now on the Veterans Film Festival website.

About Veterans Film Festival

The Veterans Film Festival aims to be Australia’s premier international film festival devoted to screening films about, for and by veterans, with sidebar events such as masterclasses, Q&As, workshops, art exhibitions and performances. Through the new Screen Warriors program, the Veterans Film Festival will provide skills training, placement opportunities, scholarships as well as project development within the screen industry. By these means, it will broaden the diversity and inclusiveness of the Australian screen industry, whilst simultaneously supporting and improving the lives of veterans and their families. Their Excellencies General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Mrs Linda Hurley are VFF Patrons.