First published on 21 Sep 2012. Updated on 3 Oct 2012.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated drama The Master
has been announced as the opening night film of the inaugural Cockatoo Island Film Festival
in Sydney Harbour on Wednesday October 24.
The controversial and widely acclaimed film, starring Philip Seymour Hoffmann as an L Ron Hubbard-style religious figure and Joaquin Phoenix as his acolyte, will screen in the island’s Turbine Hall and Blacksmith’s Workshops, which will be converted into state-of-the art cinemas for the five-day event.
The announcement was made by festival co-director Allanah Zitserman on Cockatoo Island, the former prison, reformatory and shipbuilding workshop that has transitioned in the last few years into an important cultural and tourist destination.
Zitserman said that the Cockatoo Island Film Festival was designed to be an immersive experience. She said that for her “the film festivals that have had the most impact are the ones set outside of cities, where people have made a commitment to go somewhere.”
The island will host five cinema screens: four indoor plus an outdoor silent cinema, as well as a concert arena. Seventy international feature films had been confirmed for the festival, Zitserman said: 30 in the official competition and 40 out of competition. About 150 short films would also be screened.
Co-director Stavros Kazantzidis said that the festival had been budgeted at over $2 million. Partners include Hoyts, Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, NSW Mining and Keystone, who will be setting up the festival nightclub, ‘The Precinct’, adjacent to the Turbine Hall.
The competition section of the festival will award prizes for Best Dramatic Film, Best Documentary, and Best Short Film as well as a young filmmaker award and a $20,000 Indigenous filmmaking fellowship. Major international guests are expected to be in attendance.
The festival has been launched with the theme ‘Transport Yourself’, with a trailer tracing the history of Cockatoo Island featuring actor Michael Caton.
“You can’t beat Sydney Harbour as a location,” Kazantzidis said. “The island has played a significant role in the development of Sydney.”
“Cockatoo Island is a place drenched in history that embodies who we are as a people,” Zitserman said. “The Cockatoo Island Film Festival has the potential to stand out on the international stage.”
The full programme of the inaugural Cockatoo Island Film Festival will be announced on October 3.
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