By Ryan Keating-Lambert

The Aussie and Kiwi Film Fest is kicking off this weekend in Prague and there’s a tasty helping of titles to sink your teeth into. From the 18th to the 23rd of November in cinemas Kino Lucerna and Kino Ponrepo, delve into international hits like Taika Waititis’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople, classics like Australian Wake in Fright, or check out the short film programme in Ponrepo. Both Australia and New Zealand have a thriving and diverse film industry that needs constant attention, especially in countries like the Czech Republic where we share much of the same taste and cynical sense of humour.

Feature films

The festival will start in Kino Lucerna this Friday the 18th with a special screening of the Kiwi film Hunt for the Wilderpeople, a story about a manhunt for a troubled boy that’s taken on a wild adventure by his foster uncle into the wilderness of New Zealand. Starring Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Wilderpeople has been a festival frontrunner throughout the year and should set the mood for the festival here in Prague.

Other feature film highlights include Tanna, a joint production of Australia and Vanuatu which focuses on forbidden love in the Yakel tribe of Vanuatu. Tanna is also Australia’s Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film and is showing on Saturday the 19th in Kino Ponrepo in the heart of Prague’s New Town.

Also on Saturday in Kino Lucerna is the two-part mini-series The Secret River (pictured below), which captures the grim time that was the British colonisation of Australia along with the ruthless battle for land rights. Secret River shows us the struggles of the Thornbill family when they set up a home on Aboriginal land in New South Wales. This has been an ongoing issue in Australia and is worth checking out to put the country’s history into perspective.

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Holding the Man, in Kino Lucerna on Tuesday the 22nd, is another noteworthy Aussie film about a young gay couple dealing with HIV in 1980s Melbourne. The film has now been the world over and has become an instant classic, especially under the genre of queer film.For more of a classic look at Australian cinema, check out Wake in Fright (feature photo), a 1970s drama about a broke school teacher stranded in the Australian outback and descending into madness. A stunning film that accentuates the rough landscape and lifestyle in the Australian outback. Showing in Kino Ponrepo on Tuesday the 22nd.

Short films

The festival also boasts two afternoons of award winning short films from both countries. Kino Lucerna will host the Kiwi shorts on Saturday the 19th, and the Australian shorts on Sunday the 20th. More information on the programme here.

Other events

There will be an exclusive wine tasting after the final film Goldstone in Kino Ponrepo on Wednesday the 23rd, with a fine selection of wines from both Australia and New Zealand.

For those involved or especially interested in the film industry, there will also be a talk on the history of Australian cinematography by Czech film producer Jitka Kotrlova in Multikulturni klubovna Zazemi in Prague’s New Town.

For full programme and tickets, go to the official website.

Feature photo: Davidson Business Technologies

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