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November 30, 2022

Step out in style at the Byron Bay Film Festival Gala

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Fostering local writing talent

Since 2001, the Byron Writers Festival Residential Mentorship has been inspiring writers on the path to publication. This year saw four writers spend a week in Possum Creek being mentored by Walkley Award-winning journalist and author, Sarah Armstrong.

The BBFF2022 Opening Night Red Carpet Event is a highlight of Byron Bay’s social calendar. Byron Bay International Film Festival is back to shine light in the darkness with a sparkling night of well-deserved decadence and special celebration of Byron and film.

With the focus on the pre-film reception, guests will mingle with visiting filmmakers and Byron creatives while Animal Ventura’s sultry sounds weave through the space. Beautiful platters laden with tasty treats courtesy of fantastic local producers including Byron Bay Olive Co will provide a feast for the senses while Zilzie Wines, Grainshaker Vodka and Good Happy Kombucha will keep the drinks pouring to quench the thirst of attendees.

Palme D’or winner Triangle of Sadness kicks off the festival as the feature film on opening night.

In the cinema, the 2022 Palme D’or winner Triangle of Sadness takes centre stage, taking viewers on a deep dive into a wickedly funny satire targeting some of the modern world’s key failings.

The wry opening scenes introduce us to the principal protagonist, Carl, a handsome young male model, and to some of the subjects of the film: fashion, influencer culture and the downright creepiness of the modelling game.

But Swedish writer/director Ruben Östlund is not content to take easy shots at such soft targets. His satirical goals are more ambitious, and as the increasingly hilarious and outlandish story unfolds, we are invited to look at inequality, wealth, power, (and its abuses), and the human susceptibility to corruption.

Carl and his gorgeous Instagramming girlfriend soon find themselves guests on a super-yacht, surrounded by the obscenely wealthy, and it is not long before Carl uses his newly-achieved crumb of power to score a point over a socially ‘inferior’ crew member.

Woody Harrelson is hilarious as the Marxist captain in charge of this boatful of spoilt and amoral bourgeoisie, and capitalism is in Ostlund’s merciless spotlight. Old Karl is quoted (and embodied) liberally throughout, most notably and ironically from the mouth of a Russian oligarch.

But the weighty themes float where they should – just below the surface of the story: even some of the targets of the visceral satire are recognisably human, and sympathetic.

Tipped as a top contender at the 2023 Academy Awards, the film won Östlund the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2022 for Best Director after receiving an eight-minute standing ovation, and has been a hit wherever it has screened.

Triangle opens the door to ten days and nights of award-winning, cutting-edge dramatic films that are by turns comical, romantic, disturbing, and insightful. Throughout, it’s their artfulness that got them into the festival – the kind of art that shines light in the dark.

BBFF shining light into shady places

Decision to Leave, a South Korean romantic thriller is among the many standouts screening at this year’s Byron Bay Film Festival.

Light (and shade) are explored in another festival stand-out, South Korea’s entry into the 2023 Academy Awards, Decision to Leave, a fantastically well-realised murder mystery that is also – even primarily – a love story, directed, produced and co-written by Park Chan-wook, who won Best Director at Cannes this year.

When a man falls from a mountain peak to his death, the detective in charge interviews his beautiful wife, Seo-rae, who does not seem overly troubled by the news. She becomes a suspect but the policeman, Hae-joon, feels himself powerfully attracted to her. He is married but his interest in the case becomes all-consuming.

‘Refreshingly unpredictable – a twisty, bewitching love story wrapped in a thoroughly 21st-century murder mystery that’s deeply erotic,’ the Hollywood Reporter enthused.

Decision to Leave features expressive cinematography in a range of setting – interiors, mountains, the coast – setting the scene for the turbulent but restrained emotions of the star-crossed pair. The film demonstrates that Park is a master of filmmaking, an artist at the top of his game.

The 2022 Official Selection contains another Oscar contender, Klondike, Ukraine’s entry for 2023 which sits along-side quirky comedies and dramas from emerging directors.

Oz film luminary Jack Thompson will once again take part in BBFF.

There’s also plenty happening outside the cinema too – including a real treat in the form of a lunch in the company of Australian acting legend Jack Thompson.

For decades, Jack has been a source of encouragement and inspiration to writers, directors, actors – everyone involved with filmmaking – and a staunch supporter of the Byron Bay Film Festival.

Jack takes centre stage at a lunch at Ember, one of Byron’s best restaurants, as wines by Zilzie and beers from Stone & Wood flow – as will the conversation as Executive Producer and Madman Entertainment CEO Paul Wiegard uncovers the stories behind what and who has inspired Jack across his illustrious career.

• Tickets are selling fast, so book early to avoid missing out! Visit: bbff.com.au


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