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During the festival, Aboriginal culture was also represented by the writer Philip McLaren, whose documentary Cinematic Storytelling was screened to several classes of high school students. Using various extracts from rare films such as Trooper O’Brien by John Gavin (1928) or Jedda directed by Charles Chauvel (1955), the film traces out the evolution of the portrayal of Aboriginal people in film. Thanks to Q&A with the writer/director's, the young audience learn more about this topic.

The highlights of the following days were the screenings of the feature films in competition, including These Final Hours by Zak Hidditch, which has also been shown at the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes and the captivating film Canopy, directed by Aaron Wilson, which depicts the wandering of an Australian paratrooper lost in the Singaporean jungle during the World War II. The director who came specially from Melbourne was delighted with the enthusiastic welcome he received from the French audience who was particularly sensitive to the visual and sound atmosphere of the film.. Will Canopy also convince the jury led by the director Fred Schepisi? You will find out on Saturday when the winners will be announced !

For the sixteenth edition of the Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma des Antipodes, the president Bernard Bories have decided to surprise us. Indeed, during the opening night, we didn’t travel to Australia but to Poland with the film Bunny, directed by Annika Glac, an Australian filmmaker who spent her formative years in Poland.

This unusual cultural mix creates a lovely kooky film that features poetic characters. The film, which previously won the Bel Age award at Cannes Cinéphile has also received a warm welcome from the St Tropez audience.  

Far from the wintery atmosphere of Bunny, we go back to sun, surfboards and kangaroos with the colourful collection of drawings and collages made by the students from Antipodes Junior. The exhibition can be seen at the salle Jean Despas until Friday.

Undoubtedly, this new edition highlights youth and first steps.

Indeed, the Antipodes Junior short film competition have started with Armeline directed by an 18-years-old filmmaker. Inspired by Spielberg's work, Jean-Baptiste Calvani is also a great admirer of Australian cinema and a festival regular.

In the afternoon, the students had the opportunity to meet the Australian director Kerry Gardner, who have introduce her short film Lyon housemuseum. The director, who is in her fifties, explains that she is just beginning her career in the film industry and  encourages the teenagers to develop their creative skills. As she claimed in a flawless French: "Tout est possible".

The director, producer and scriptwriter Michael Bond, an Australian filmmaker living in Los Angeles, also talked to the students explaining how he did his short film Empire Estates. Michael Bond, who runs acting classes, is very keen on passing down his experience and really appreciates meeting a young audience.

The spectators have also discovered Saskia Nilly's first film, A lifelong walkabout. This beautiful documentary tells the journey of a man tracking down his Aboriginal roots. After the screening, the audience was filled with emotion. The young filmmaker talked fervently about her work and explained how she came across a culture still unknown for many Europeans.

© 2017 Cinéma des Antipodes

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