FATHER Bob Maguire (above) retired from his position as South Melbourne parish priest on January 30 but his presence will continue to be felt courtesy of documentary feature In Bob We Trust, to be made by the Ghost Pictures team of Lynn-Maree Milburn, Andrew de Groot, Richard Lowenstein and Maya Gnyp. It promises to be a timely, forward-looking film, too, focusing on Maguire's well-publicised forced retirement and the turmoil engulfing the Catholic Church. It's one of four films to receive Screen Australia backing via its Signature program, which unlike other documentary funding schemes does not require a broadcaster commitment. The other films are Charlotte's Story by Judy Rymer, about a young Australian woman's search for justice after being gang-raped in Kenya, Sophia Turkiewicz's Remember Me, about a troubled mother-daughter relationship played out against an epic journey from a Siberian gulag to Australia, and Tyke: Animal Outlaw, the story of a circus elephant's rampage that shook a city and raised fundamental questions about our connection to other species.


AUSTRALIAN works are poised to have a good showing at the forthcoming Sundance Film Festival. The New Frontier sidebar, for experimental and innovative screen work, has selected Coral: Rekindling Venus, a fulldome cinema project by renowned installation artist Lynette Wallworth and producer John Maynard. Jane Campion's six-hour TV series Top of the Lake will be screened in its entirety in the out-of-competition Premieres section (it's the first long-form scripted series to be thus honoured) alongside the Australia-France co-production Two Mothers. Directed by Anne Fontaine from a screenplay by Christopher Hampton (adapting Doris Lessing's novel), the feature charts the unconventional and passionate affairs of two lifelong friends, played by Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, who fall in love with each other's sons (Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville). The festival runs from January 17-27.


THE VCA Film and Television School takes pride in its role in grooming new filmmakers. Andrew Kavanagh won the Emerging Australian Filmmaker award at last year's Melbourne International Film Festival, while 2009 graduate Ariel Kleiman won prizes at Cannes and Sundance for his film Deeper Than Yesterday. Films by the latest crop of students will screen at ACMI from tomorrow until December 16. The school's head, David Price, says the graduates are a diverse cohort of filmmakers using narrative, documentary and animation genres to develop their individual voices and find a way of telling a story.

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