Stratton Q & A at Mt Vic Flicks

David Stratton will be the special guest at Mt Vic Flicks on Sunday, March 26, answering questions after the Mountains premiere of the movie based on his own life.

David Stratton: A Cinematic Life will screen from March 23-29 at Mt Vic.

The Q & A session on the Sunday will start at 4.45pm and reservations are recommended. Mr Stratton, from Leura, will be joined by the film’s producer and another local, Katoomba’s Jo-anne McGowan.

Cinema has always been an obsession for the English-born Mr Stratton. Back in 1946, aged seven, one of his first reviews was of the Australian film, The Overlanders.

David Stratton, pictured at Olympian Rock, Leura, in January 2015, when he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

David Stratton, pictured at Olympian Rock, Leura, in January 2015, when he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

At 19, he had started a film society in his English home town.

He moved to Australia in 1963 as a 10-pound Pom, and worked as a casual usher at the Sydney Film Festival. Next thing, he found himself at the age of 26 being invited to head the festival, which he did for the next 18 years.

Then, of course, he famously partnered with Margaret Pomeranz for 28 years, first at SBS (The Movie Show) then the ABC with At The Movies.

When Stratton took on the job as Sydney Film Festival director, his brother Roger said their father was “beside himself with fury”: David was meant to return to England to run the family grocery business.

At that time the Australian film industry was practically non-existent but within a few years a growing band of courageous Australians was channelling their enthusiasm for storytelling into an extraordinary body of work. Stratton helped champion them and their films, which he became more and more personally affected by.

In this glorious, sometimes hilarious, sometimes serious, always compelling story of Australian cinema, told through Stratton’s very particular gaze, he explores the films most important to him and Australia and analyses their emotional punch.

Included are interviews with Australia’s biggest movie greats: the actors Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Rachel Griffiths, Eric Bana, Jacki Weaver; and the directors Gillian Armstrong, George Miller, Fred Schepisi, Bruce Beresford and Warwick Thornton.

They talk about their work, the films that have most affected them – and Stratton.

Stratton himself reveals why he identified with the boy in Careful He Might Hear You and expounds on his theory on the distinctiveness of Australian crime films. He highlights the importance of landscape and explains his about-turn on The Castle. He revisits the Romper Stomper controversy and describes how Head On gave him a window into a contemporary Australia he’d never seen before.

For bookings, see mountvicflicks.com.au.

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