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    Australian Consul General, Sean Kelly, on the importance of cinema down under and the films curated for Chennai

    If world cinema fascinates you, don’t miss out on the inaugural edition of the Australian Film Showcase, starting today. Curated by the Australian Consul General, Sean Kelly, it will see 11 films screened at SPI Cinemas between tomorrow and June 21. A movie buff, Kelly has previously organised a film festival in China in 2004 and will be taking this showcase to Bengaluru and Hyderabad next to promote Australian films. “I wanted to produce a collection which is a combination of old and new films. It has the earlier films of actors who are loved in Hollywood now, like Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett. Even Mel Gibson’s Mad Max.” They also have a red carpet event, today, at the Taj Coromandel that will see actors like Suhasini Maniratnam and Gautami Tadimalla. Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath is the chief guest.

    The big ones
    Talking about the influx of Australians in Hollywood, Kelly, 56,  says, “Everyone knows that people like Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe, are part of big blockbusters. Sometimes it seems to me like you can’t see a recent blockbuster come out without an Australian actor in it. Be it Sam Worthington, who starred in Avatar or Chris Hemsworth in Thor. We also have behind-the-scenes people like director Baz Luhrmann who made The Great Gatsby. So we are doing well in Hollywood and I think it is thanks to all the training in the Australian film industry,” says the Consul General, who is proud of the high quality films from the industry.

    The Hollywood backing
    While Hollywood dominates globally with box office hits, Kelly quotes actress Blanchett’s statement at the Academy Awards. “We are just looking at the tip of the ice berg, there is a lot of talent in our country.” He does concede that commercial success is important and points out, “Box office is a pressure everywhere. This is why Australian filmmakers are increasingly concentrating on products which are internationally competitive and working with investors from the US. We are a small country with a population of 22 million people. So we can’t really compare our box office with that in the US or India.” Talking about Aussie successes, Kelly says, “I believe, Moulin Rouge! was one film that broke all boundaries. It is a film that had no connection to the country, but was made with Aussie actors and the content was very regional.”
    At SPI Cinemas, from tomorrow. Limited passes. Details: 45921300

    Mrinalini Sundar

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