Screen Talks with celebrated filmmaker Richard Linklater, JOHN WICK producer Basil Iwanyk and SHADOW IN THE CLOUD director Roseanne Liang headline virtual industry conference taking place March 21-26


Opening Night film is Robert Connolly’s THE DRY starring Eric Bana

Delegates will have access to a new technology “Airmeet” including a virtual lounge to mix and mingle with industry colleagues from around the world

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Eric Bana stars in THE DRY (Image courtesy of IFC Films)

The Australian International Screen Forum is unveiling further details of its industry conference program taking place online this month. Showcasing innovative Australian and international content, featuring conversations with leading film industry mentors, and heralding exciting homegrown filmmakers, the third annual Australian International Screen Forum will be a virtual five-day feast of sessions on film, television and screen music featuring stellar talent from Australia and the United States.

Richard Linklater, the multi-award winning and Academy Award-nominated writer, director and producer of Boyhood, Before Midnight and Where'd You Go, Bernadette, features in an in-depth Screen Talk Q&A. Considered a leader of the American film renaissance of the 1990s, Austin-based Linklater will share his experiences and insights in an in-depth conversation about his career. Basil Iwanyk also features in a Q&A, talking about producing films such as Sicario, Hotel Mumbai, The Town and the John Wick series of action thrillers. As founder and CEO of Thunder Road Pictures, Iwanyk has also executive produced numerous films as diverse as A Star Is Born and The Expendables trilogy; his name has been attached to international box office grosses totaling more than $2 billion.  

Another Screen Talk conversation features Chinese New Zealand director and screenwriter Roseanne Liang, whose feature film My Wedding and Other Secrets is the most successful NZ-Asian feature film to date, based on her festival hit documentary Banana in a Nutshell. Her latest US action-thriller feature film, Shadow in the Cloud, premiered Sep 2020 at Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award. Blossom Films executive Per Saari (Big Little Lies, The Undoing) and Participant Media’s VP Narrative Film, Elizabeth Haggard (previously Ramona Films and Universal Pictures) round off the Screen Talks series.

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Screen Talks speakers Richard Linklater and Roseanne Liang

The Screen Forum is also pleased to announce that Robert Connolly’s hit Australian film, The Dry, will screen on Opening Night as an exclusive industry preview ahead of its US release in May.

The Dry has quickly become one of Australia’s most successful independent films following its local release in 2020. The mystery thriller stars Eric Bana as a federal agent returning to his small hometown in Victoria’s drought-stricken rural countryside to investigate a murder-suicide. The Opening Night screening will be available to view exclusively for US registrants of the Screen Forum. Following the screening a Q&A with Eric Bana will be viewable for registrants worldwide.

Panel sessions feature prominently in the Screen Forum conference, with a range of industry experts covering topics on craft include: Female-led Production Companies, Excellence in Casting, Podcasts to Screen, and Literary Adaptations from Book to Film & TV. These sessions will be delivered by a groundbreaking new technology platform from Airmeet, that allows delegates to attend sessions virtually, ask questions and mingle with other delegates after in a way similar to being there in person.

There will also be two sessions on music in film: A panel on the popular HBOMax music documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart will include director Frank Marshall and producers Nigel Sinclair and Jeanne Elfant Fester. Screen composing will also take center screen with Caitlin Yeo (Playing With Sharks), Marcelo Zarvos (Penguin Bloom) and Stefan Gregory (The Dig) in discussion with renowned composer David Hirschfelder (Shine, Elizabeth, Strictly Ballroom).

The announcement of the Screen Forum program details follows last month’s announcement that Peter Weir’s 1981 film Gallipoli will be the focus of a 40th Anniversary Retrospective, including a screening of the restored version of the film, a conversation with star Mel Gibson, and tributes and reminiscences from fellow cast members, crew and film industry identities.

Ahead of the Screen Forum program, the adjunct Talent USA program has commenced this week with support from Screen Australia, with 11 Australian screen creatives participating in two weeks of exclusive and bespoke professional development and networking sessions in a virtual setting. These filmmakers are meeting with key New York-based screen decision makers, with the goal to help establish and foster creative and business relationships for their careers and Australian projects.

Michael Kelleher, Executive Director and cofounder of the Australian International Screen Forum, says: “Our focus this year is on how projects are developed for the international marketplace, not just film and TV, but the growing influence that podcasts have in the development process.

With Australians now unable to travel to international festivals and marketplaces, these virtual industry events are more important than ever for both emerging and established industry. This year, we are using a new interactive technology called Airmeet that is more akin to being there in person – not a bad compromise.”

Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia, says: “We are thrilled that the Australian International Screen Forum is able to go ahead virtually this year. Australian screen professionals are highly regarded and we hope this spotlight on our wealth of talent here, coupled with the current high interest in working in Australia, with Australians, will see exciting business relationships made. While we still cannot travel overseas, the opportunity to connect virtually with key international decision makers and practitioners is invaluable, particularly for our 11 Australian screen creatives currently participating in the Talent USA program sessions.

“This year’s forum line-up includes many impressive panel and in conversation sessions, and I hope attendees will take advantage of hearing from many esteemed filmmakers and executives including producer Basil Iwanyk and Blossom Film’s Per Saari. It’s exciting to see The Dry, which has already broken box office records in Australia, will be screening for international audiences to enjoy, and of course the chance to revisit Peter Weir’s classic Gallipoli and conversation with Mel Gibson will be a fantastic celebration of a classic Australian film.”