The Revelation Film Festival opening night took place last Thursday at Luna Leederville, and the festival continues until 17 July. In the calendar of Perth’s film devotees, it rises like an otherworldly elm tree from the surrounding subterfuge.
The opening film was Kursk, a sombre submarine flick based on the Russian tragedy of 2000. On this night, a meteorologically privileged population was faced with steady rain, meaning the festival had to cancel a series of outdoor visual projections. Otherwise, the night proceeded smoothly, with a surge of shared admiration and a touch of heckling.
The MCs for the night were ABC Radio Perth’s Breakfast presenters Nadia Mitsopoulos and Russell Woolf. A complimentary duo, Russell embodies a kind of shaggy charm, and Nadia a pert whimsy. Their presence was comically offset by a rather corny introductory video encouraging viewers to tune into ABC Radio Perth from 6am. Much too early for a Revelation crowd.
Shaun Nannup delivered a memorably gracious Welcome to Country, with his characteristic warmth and performer’s voice. This was followed by a welcome from the Minister for Culture and the Arts, David Templeman.
Nadia introduced Templeman as a once budding actor, and there was a sense throughout his repetitive speech of wilful theatricality, as if to prove himself as both patron and practitioner of the arts. His momentum was quickly deflated when an audience member called out “give us more money!”, which he deflected to the under-funded ABC hosts.
Finally, to the brains behind the operation, the founder and Festival Director Richard Sowada and Program Director Jack Sargeant closed proceedings in the festival’s twenty-second year.
It’s a testament to the festival that it has kept its core passionate organisers for so many years, forging a pillar of Perth’s cultural scene. From the basement jazz bar of His Majesty’s Theatre, Revelation has emerged as a leading Australian film festival.
When asked about festival highlights, Sargeant singled out Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records. It charts the rise of ska music in ‘70s and ‘80s Britain, and which fed into an array of subcultures. Sowada offered Under the Wire, another documentary about the war correspondent Marie Colvin, as well as the feature Chained for Life with visiting international talent Adam Pearson.
With over 150 films, the next 10 days is set to submerge locals into the riches of international cinema. Long live Revelation, and cheers to all you Rev-heads!