The Sydney Film Festival got off to an introspective start with the screening of the Aboriginal film, Mystery Road.
The low-budget flick delved into the racial tension, crime and broken family relationships in an outback Queensland town – and climaxed in a spaghetti western-style shoot-out, much to the crowd’s delight.
Director Ivan Sen told the auditorium: “We’re all really pumped to get some people to see this film … My last film, I had one actor who had acted before. It was nice to shoot something where I didn’t have to call people’s lines.”
Lead actor Aaron Pedersen put the film’s success down to higher forces; his mantra on set had been: “Don’t worry, the ancestors’ll take care of it, brother.”
Samara Weaving, who starred in the film alongside uncle Hugo, shimmered on the red carpet, while it was Stephanie Langridge who won most dedicated moviegoer award with her gown made of a Sydney Film Festival flag. “I’ve been interning with the Sydney Film Festival,” she told the Diary, “and they came to me and said ‘how much of a spectacle would you like to make at the red carpet?”‘
But it was the evening’s sponsors who inadvertently raised the biggest laugh of the night. An earnest speech by Audi’s general manager of marketing Kevin Goult had the crowd wondering whether he might just be the best deadpan comedian to hit the State Theatre in the 60-year history of the festival.