Full 2018 Program Revealed! Here’s The Impressive Selection

17 World Premieres. 30 Australian Premieres.

+ Venice Film Festival winners ROMA, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, At Eternity’s Gate and The Nightingale.

The Coen brothers, Joan Jett, Melissa McCarthy, Robert Redford, a wheelchair underwater, Wayne Blair, love in the digital age and Arab women filmmakers. Where do we begin? This year’s Adelaide Film Festival full program has just been unveiled! From 10 – 21 October, more than 130 features, documentaries, animation, shorts, VR, installation and moving image works can be seen at the festival.

From the hotly anticipated to the visually sublime, the effortless comedy to the edge-of-your seat thrillers, the auteurs and masters to the emerging voices of world cinema, Adelaide Film Festival’s #YOUMUSTSEE program is a curated selection of cinematic delights.

The program is positively brimming with premieres – 17 World Premieres, 30 Australian Premieres, 75 South Australian Premieres – and action-packed with zombies, artists, comedians, divas, musicians, liars, adventurers, dancers, climbers, ghosts, terrorists, lovers, the world game… and dogs.  A long-time champion of Australian cinema, 44% of the films are Australian, and 22 were created in South Australia.

Closing night features a formidable choice between two powerful women with both Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation and Melissa McCarthy’s Oscar-buzz Australian Premiere screening of Can You Ever Forgive Me? on offer, with a joint after-party to remember!

With the festival well-placed to secure highlights of the Venice, Toronto and Telluride Film Festivals, ADLFF will present the Australian Premieres of Venice Award winners ROMA, Gold Lion (best film) by Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Joel and Ethan Coen’s Best Screenplay winner The Ballad of Buster Scruggs both in Adelaide’s feature Competition, plus Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate for which Best Actor went to Willem Dafoe for his career-defining performance at Vincent Van Gogh.

Adelaide Film Festival FUND film The Nightingale by Jennifer Kent, was named the Venice Film Festival Special Jury Prize winner and was also presented the Marcello Mastroianni award for best young actor for Baykali Ganambarr from the internationally acclaimed Djuki Mala dance group in his feature film debut.  This is the second ADL Film Fest film to win the Venice Special Jury Prize following Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country last year and one of only two films to win two awards in 2018.

The 2018 festival opens on October 10 with Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai, direct from its triumphant world premiere at Toronto on Friday night. The ADL Film Fest FUND thriller stars Armie Hamer, Dev Patel and Adelaide’s own Tilda Cobham-Hervey. And from its World Premiere at Telluride Film Festival, ADLFF presents the Australian Premiere of Robert Redford’s retirement swansong, The Old Man and the Gun.

Adelaide’s International Feature Fiction Competition sponsored by University of South Australia School of Creative Industries features a world-class competition and includes the Australian Premieres following the Toronto debuts of Beautiful Boy, exquisitely written by Australia’s Luke Davies (Lion, Candy), sensitively directed by Felix van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown) and starring Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) and Steve Carell; and Australia’s own Emu Runner by Imogen Thomas and starring Wayne Blair which premiered in Toronto on Friday night.

Also in competition is Indonesian auteur Garin Nugroho’s sensual dance-filled journey Memories of My Body which world premiered in Venice’s Orrizonti Program will mark its Australian Premiere in Adelaide, alongside Berlin Crystal Bear and Asia Pacific Screen Awards winner The Seen and Unseen, a magical, beautiful and ultimately heart-rending tale set in Bali, directed by his daughter Kamila Andini. This Australian first sees the festival Competition feature the work of both generations of these acclaimed Indonesian filmmakers.

Also in contention for the festival’s top prize is Australian film, Ben Hackworth’s Celeste starring Radha Mitchell, and  three Cannes selection titles – masterful psychological drama Burning by Korea’s top auteur, Lee Chang-dong, which won the highest acclaim ever recorded by the Screen International critics’ panel at Cannes, Nadine Labaki’s Cannes Jury Prize winner Capharnaüm and Lukas Dhont’s Un Certain Regard Camera D’Or, Queer Palm and Best Performance winner Girl.

The ten films in Feature Documentary Competition have all premiered at the world’s leading film and documentary festivals: Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside’s América (CPH:DOX),  Anja Kofmel’s Chris the Swiss (Cannes), Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck’s The Cleaners (Sundance), Mark Cousins’ The Eyes of Orsen Wells (Cannes), Luiz Bolognesi’s Ex Sharman (EX-PAJÉ)(Berlin), Lauren Greenfield’s Generation Wealth (SXSW), Genevieve Bailey’s Happy Sad Man (MIFF), Gabrielle Brady’s Island of the Hungry Ghosts (Tribeca), Vitaly Mansky’s Putin’s Witnesses (Karlovy Vary) and Daniel Zimmermann’s Waldon (Karlovy Vary).

The festival’s third juried competition is the AFTRS Virtual Reality Competition, established as Australia’s first competition of its kind. The VR jury consists of industry professionals at the forefront of screen making with emerging technologies, AFTRS Head of Cinematography Kim Batterham, Google Creative Lab’s Mathew Tizard and internationally acclaimed artist and VR creative Sue Austin. The 10 titles in VR Competition include the Australian Premieres of titles direct from Venice – Borderline (Israel), Kobold (Germany), Rooms (Germany), The Unknown Patient (Australia).

This new frontier of screen storytelling is available in the JUMPGATE VR Lounge at GU Film House.

Themed programming strands return with the popular Australian Showcase, Screen Worship, Up Late, Music & Art, Animation, Made in SA Shorts and with new sections this year A Singular Vision, Love and It’s Wild Out There and a focus on Arab Women Directors.

Arab Women Directors #YOUMUSTSEE celebrates the powerful voices of female filmmakers from the Arab world and includes the Australian Premiere of Jordanian docu-maker Widad Shafokoj’s new film 17, which follows the national team in the lead-up to Jordan hosting the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup. Annemarie Jacir’s Locarno Best Film winner Wajib, and Meryem Benm’Barkek’s Un Certain Regard Best Screenplay winner Sofia will mark their South Australian premieres.

It’s Wild Out There is a program of four films which take us to extreme locations for tales of human endurance, family ties and coming to terms with the savage beauty of nature and features the Australian Premiere direct from Toronto of National Geographic documentary Free Solo, an edge-of-your seat thriller which follows climber, Alex Honnold’s journey to scale the world’s most famous rock, the El Capitan in Yosemite; Mads Mikkelsen in Joe Penna’s Icelandic film Arctic, Debra Granik’s follow-up to her multi-Oscar nominated hit Winter’s Bone, Leave No Trace and Benedikt Erlingsson’s eco-thriller-musical-comedy drama from Iceland which won raves at Cannes, Woman At War.

Other Australian Premieres across the program include:

  • A dazzling essay about the pressure to conform in UK multimedia artist Rachel Maclean’s Make Me Up 
  • Marco Proserpio’s The Man Who Stole Banksy narrated by Iggy Pop
  • The fresh, vibrant and visually inventive Japanese zombie comedy bloodbath One Cut of the Dead
  • Russian auteur, Kirill Serebrennikov’s tale of real-life Soviet rock-legends in The Summer
  • Tom Volf’s stunning portrait of the great opera singer in Maria by Callas
  • Scotty & the Secret History of Hollywood
  • Award-winning animation, winning Best Film at Annecy Funan
  • Matthew Victor Pastor’s edgy and inventive Melodrama/Random/Melbourne!


Plus, repeat screenings of some of our audience favourites including winners of the top 3 Australian films #YOUMUSTSEE:  The Castle, Muriel’s Wedding special Sing-A-Long Edition and Samson & Delilah, and Sunday Too Far Away and Look Both Ways with Justine Clarke & producer Bridget Ikin in attendance!

View the full program.