A new festival has been introduced to Australia’s screen landscape. Essential Independents: American Cinema, Now is an annual event designed to showcase the past, present and future of independent cinema from the US.

From Penelope Spheeris to Kelly Reichardt; from Woody Allen to Alex Ross Perry; from Martin Scorsese to Paul Thomas Anderson; from Sofia Coppola to Lynn Shelton, and from John Cassavetes to Richard Linklater, the American independent film community continues to flourish and produce people, ideas, and cinema with a profound impact on the craft internationally.

Artistically directed by one of Australia’s most respected film curators, Richard Sowada, Essential Independents: American Cinema, Now, will showcase new narrative feature, feature documentary, and short works; retrospectives on crafts-people from behind and in front of the camera; guests from key US-based international film festivals; independent filmmaker guests; talks and master classes; and special event screenings.

“US independent cinema has produced some of the most iconic films across the decades,” says Sowada. “Far from being bogged down by the studio parallel universe, American independent cinema has constantly responded to changing moods, politics and technology and continues to create some of the most urgent, vibrant and influential cinema today.”

Designed as an annual event, Essential Independents: American Cinema, Now will provide audiences with not just a snapshot of current creative directions in the US but will explore their great traditions and impact on international cinema movements.

Essential Independents: American Cinema, Now

“We’re delighted to be developing this program for national audiences and look forward to breaking some new voices in Australia and perhaps internationally,” says Benjamin Zeccola, Palace Cinemas’ CEO. “It’s exciting and distinctive cinema and with the critical voices emerging from the US right now, we feel the program will not only be entertaining but throw a new perspective on what we know of contemporary American cinema.”

Highlights of the festival include the Opening Night event screening of Time Out Of Mind, starring Richard Gere on May 19; the New York retrospective Essential New York, including a screening of the Academy Award winning Midnight Cowboy; the Essential Originals chapter with first feature films from well-known filmmakers including Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides; and films featuring some of the biggest names in the industry today including James Franco in Yosemite, Natalie Portman in Jane Got A Gun, Sam Worthington in The Keeping Room and indie darling Sarah Silverman gives a career defining performance in I Smile Back.

Essential Independents: American Cinema, Now
screens exclusively at Palace Centro Cinema from 19 May to 1 June.

We’ve got 20 double in-season passes to give away — enter now for your chance to win!

HOW TO ENTER: Enter via the form below. *Entrants agree to receive future promotional offers from Bmag. This prize is not redeemable for cash. Competition closes 9am, Monday 16 May.

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