April 1, 2015
Two controversial American documentaries, about how Scientology controls Tom Cruise and John Travolta and the epidemic of sexual assault in American colleges, are expected to spark debate at Sydney Film Festival.
Festival director Nashen Moodley will screen director Alex Gibney’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which has just screened on American television after attack ads from the church that called it “bigoted propaganda”, and Kirby Dick’sThe Hunting Ground, which tells the stories of sexual assault survivors whose cases were covered up by their schools.
The first titles to be announced for the festival, which runs from June 3 to 14, include the Australian thriller Strangerland, which stars Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes as parents whose two teenage children disappear in the outback.
Directed by debutant Kim Farrant and also starring Hugo Weaving as a country cop, it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
“It’s wonderful to see Nicole Kidman in an independent Australian film,” Moodley says. “Her performance is very, very brave.”
Also screening is Mr Holmes, which has Ian McKellen as a retired Sherlock Holmes taking on one last case at the age of 93, and Slow West, a western starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn.