American Essentials Film Festival

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The American Essentials Film Festival hits selected Palace Cinemas today, delivering the freshest and most relevant films hot off the indie festival circuit – think Sundance, SXSW, and Venice. The festival is a hand-picked selection of thirty-one films that reflect the remarkable breadth of contemporary independent cinema in the States.

‘These are bold works by filmmakers who are unquestionably voices we’ll hear well into the future – films that take no prisoners in their analysis of the current political environment, and films that dazzle in their capacity to entertain audiences’, says Artistic Director Richard Sowada.

Milk Bar Mag names the top five must-see films at the festival: 

20th Century Women 

It’s Santa Barbara in 1979. The pastel aesthetic movement is reaching dizzying heights. Annette Benning is phenomenal in the role of Dorothea, a mother who enlists the services of the women around her to help raise her son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), and guide him to manhood. It’s part feminist epic, part comedy, and since it also stars Greta Gerwig, this refreshing tale is faultless. 

American Pastoral 

Despite its title, it earns its spot based on merit. Marking Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut, American Pastoral charts the extraordinary lives of a family through turbulent political times from the 1940s to the 1970s. Garnering attention on the festival scene, including the Toronto Film Festival, the film is a honest look at radical activism – and the lives touched on opposing sides of the coin.

Becoming Bond 

Remember George Lazenby? ‘George, who?’ I hear you say. Ardent James Bond fans will know he had his martini stirred, not shaken, starring in only one Bond flick. A hilarious look at Lazenbury’s moment in the sun – and his mysterious aftermath – features our very own Josh Lawson, and appearances by Jane Seymour and Cassandra Clementi.

Annie Hall 

A Woody Allen classic starring the always classy Diane Keaton. Although not quite ‘contemporary’, Annie Hall is regarded as among ‘the best comedies ever made’. Don’t miss your chance to see what New York City was like forty years ago through the eyes of Allen himself. 


Companion of Straight Outta Compton, the film follows the rise and enormous impact of G-Funk on pop culture. It’s really nothin’ but a g thang.

American Essentials Film Festival 2017 
Thursday, 11 to Wednesday, 24 May



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