For the third time, European Film Promotion’s (EFP) in cooperation with the Sydney Film Festival (June 6 – 17) will present Europe! Voices of Women in Film. The programme highlights the work of ten outstanding European women filmmakers to the Australian audience, film industry and press. Of note here is the inclusion of Irish director Sinead O’Shea and her documentary A Mother Brings Her Son to Be Shot.

23 EFP member organisations submitted 37 films representing the great diversity of European cinema. The final selection by the festival director Nashen Moodley shows a broad spectrum of various trends: from feature debuts to cinematic works by well-versed directors, and from unique challenging dramas to politically charged documentaries. Eight filmmakers will present their films in person and be welcomed by the programme’s ambassador, the acclaimed Australian producer Jan Chapman (The Piano). The initiative is made possible with the support of Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union and the respective EFP member organisations.

Director Sinead O’Shea spent five years bringing this documentary about paramilitary activity at a time of peace in Northern Ireland to the big screen. As the film’s extraordinary title suggests, it centres on a shocking real-life case in a Republican stronghold in Northern Ireland where a Derry mother cooperates with the intervention of dissident Republicans in controlling her teenage son, who has a serious drugs problem. The story that emerges is a fascinating and timely exploration of a post-conflict community.

A Mother Brings Her Son to Be Shot is produced by Ailish Bracken and Sinead O’Shea for Blinder Films, with co-producer Figs Jackman for Spring Films. Executive Producer are Joshua Oppenheimer, André Singer, and Katie Holly. The film was made with the support of the Irish Film Board.

Five feature-length debuts will celebrate their Australian premiere: Swedish actress and director Fanni Metelius – also playing the main lead – takes love to the extremes in The Heart. Also talking about love, but in a complicated triangle, is The Marriage by the award-winning Kosovar director and scriptwriter Blerta Zeqiri. The search of a woman for self-fulfillment lies at the centre of Scary Mother by the Georgian director Ana Urushadze. Reaching into darker territories are the Danish production Holiday, a disturbing study by the Swedish director Isabella Eklöf about a young girl trapped in luxury and violence until the tables are turned, and the Polish feature Tower. A Bright Day by Jagoda Szelc who spices up a family drama with mystery elements.

The acclaimed German director Emily Atef directed the multi-award-winning 3 Days in Quiberon, portraying acting legend Romy Schneider driven by professional ambition and an urge for living. The Dutch director Nanouk Leopold will present her latest feature Cobain, about a boy trying to help his mother quit her self-destructive lifestyle. Another teen drama comes from Austria. Writer/producer/director Katharina Mückstein screens her second feature film L’Animale about a girl trying to assert herself in an aggressive boy gang. Rounding off the wonderfully diverse programme is Virpi Suutari’s Finnish documentary Entrepreneur – fresh from its premiere at Hot Docs, Toronto – showing what it takes to succeed in the new economy.

The supporting EFP members are: AFC – Austrian Films, British Council, Danish Film Institute, EYE International (The Netherlands), Finnish Film Foundation, Georgian National Film Center, German Films, Irish Film Board, Kosova Cinematography Center, Polish Film Institute, Swedish Film Institute.

From Wednesday, 6 June to Sunday, 17 June 2018, the 65th Sydney Film Festival offers Sydneysiders another exciting season of cinema amidst a whirlwind of premieres, red-carpet openings, in-depth discussions, international guests and more. The Festival is a major event on the New South Wales cultural calendar and is one of the world’s longest-running film festivals. For more information visit: sff.org.au.

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