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Revelation Perth International Film Festival

Jack Sargent - Photo by Alex MuntIt’s almost old enough to drink! The 17th Revelation Perth International Film Festival kicks off this Thursday, July 3, at Luna Leederville with a screening of Under The Skin, followed by a gala reception with music provided by DJ Jessica Kill. We caught up with Program Director and noted film academic, Dr Jack Sargeant, to chat about this year’s offerings. TRAVIS JOHNSON reports.

You’ve spent a year selecting films for Rev 2014 program. Has a theme emerged as yet?

I think that commonly the themes emerge retrospectively, certain things become prominent not during programming necessarily but during the final weeks. When I’m looking at the whole program I can see various themes emerge. The first, which we are also running a panel on, is the idea of novels that have become films – so we have films of the cult erotic novel Wetlands, of Larry Brown’s Joe, of Joe R. Lansdale’s Cold In July, amongst others. These are all great books, cutting edge novels, and seeing them all adapted is interesting. There are other titles taken from novels too, but these three stick out.

Another aspect is unique individuals. We have Finding Vivian Maier and The Man Whose Mind Exploded, fascinating movies about fascinating creative people. One, perhaps more deliberate theme is that of old technologies, or unusual technologies, we have Vladmaster’s view-reels show. which is a joy. We have the MuMeson Archives talking about collecting 16mm film and the importance of 16mm culture, we have So Wrong They’re Right, about eight-track tapes.

It’s hard to play favourites, but what are the standout films this year?

I’m really looking forward to seeing Wetlands. I am excited by the late night horror movie, American Mummy, which is getting a world premiere. I think The Man Whose Mind Exploded will be powerful with a big audience.

How has the Revelation Festival grown and changed this year?

This year, I think we are bigger, more screenings, more late nights, more talks, the academic side has grown also. It’s like a wild ride at this point – there’s so much going on.

The Special Events program is very impressive this time around. What’s the don’t-miss event for you?

The MuMesons are always special and a genuine treasure. Lee Ranaldo and Leah Singer will be a unique opportunity for audiences.

There has been much speculation lately about the future of Rev in light of recent cuts made to arts funding by the Federal Government. Where do you think the festival stands?

I think the people in Perth, in WA and in Australia all know how important Revelation is. On a personal level, I hope that across the board people in the arts continue to function. I hope that anyone in any political position recognises the importance of arts and culture.

What are you, personally, looking forward to the most this year?

I always look forward to the chance meetings, the new friends, new ideas, new films… you know? The point is inspiration, to show things, to get people talking, to make people see the possibilities out there.

Revelation Perth International Film Festival runs from July 3-13. For tickets and info, go to revelationfilmfest.org or lunapalace.com.au.

Pic: Alex Munt