This May, Palace Cinemas once again are bringing the best of American independent film to Australian screens with American Essentials.

Twenty films will make their Australian premiere — many hot on the heels of their world premieres at A-list festivals around the world — as the festival comes to Palace Centro from 17-28 May, celebrating the latest indie treasures in narrative feature and documentary, together with newly restored American classics.

Straddling styles from thriller to melodrama, comedy to body horror, symphonic documentary to visual art, American Essentials’ world-class program of 31 films curated by artistic director Richard Sowada reflects the remarkable breadth of contemporary independent cinema produced in the US.

Highlights of the American Essentials program include Opening Night film 20th Century Women, Oscar-winning director Mike Mills’ moving tale of a mother doing her best to bring up a teenage son starring Annette Bening and Greta Gerwig; Are We Not Cats, a deliciously imaginative debut of romantic magical realism; Walking Out, an incredible wilderness drama; the lean and mean thriller Detour; and Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip Roth’s sprawling epic American Pastoral.

The seven retrospective tiles featured in the Masters and Masterpieces section include three movies celebrating their 40th anniversary — Andy Warhol’s Bad, David Lynch’s Eraserhead and a new 4K restoration of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall — as well as Postcards From The Edge, the 1990 adaptation of the late Carrie Fisher’s autobiography detailing her struggles with drugs and alcohol in Hollywood, starring Meryl Streep.

For more info and tickets, visit

Thanks to Palace Cinemas, we’ve got 20 double passes to give away to see the film of your choice at the American Essentials film festival — 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 and cannot be transferred. Competition closes 9am, Monday 8 May. UPDATE: This competition has closed. Congratulations to our winners — Merrin Smith, Kathleen Parker, Kaye Harris, Jackie Burrows, Ann Hughes, Rachel Keates, Teng See Loke, Lauren Brown, Mat Murphy, Francois Gauthier, Ann Hallows, John McGuigan, James Mather, Sam Anstee, Darren Fry, Petra Boettcher, Shelly Rees, Katie Lim, Robyn Whip and Lyn Grice! Your tickets will be posted to you.