Biennial event unspools Feb. 22-March 4

SYDNEY — The third Adelaide Film Festival will endeavor to repeat its success of having discovered international arthouse hits “Ten Canoes” and “Look Both Ways,” with world preems set for eight Aussie features and docs, many of them partly funded by the fest’s investment fund.

Biennial event, held Feb. 22-March 4 in one of Australia’s smaller state capitals, unspools in association with the Australian Intl. Documentary Conference and the digital broadcast summit Crossover.

Opening-night preem is “Lucky Miles,” Michael James Rowland’s feature directing debut about an Iraqi and two Cambodian refugees abandoned by an Indonesian smuggler who undertake an epic journey through Oz.

Rolf de Heer’s B&W silent comedy “Dr. Plonk” is the closing-night film.

AFF is unusual among film fests in Oz, and internationally, because it spends A$1 million ($740,000) to partially fund a slate of titles, which then receive their world preem at the fest.

At least that’s the plan. However, if a film is selected to play Sundance or Berlin, event director Katrina Sedgewick said she’ll gladly relinquish Adelaide’s preem rights.

Hence Tony Ayers’ Adelaide-funded “The Home Song Stories” will screen at Berlin in the weeks before Adelaide.

More than 150 titles will unspool, including fest-funded pics “Boxing Day,” about a father’s struggle to reunite his family; “Forbidden Lie$,” a doc about sham author Norma Khouri; and Paul Cox’s doc “Kalaupapa — Heaven.”

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