University of Technology Sydney: Australian stories on the big screen

A drama set in Western Sydney, Here Out West, will kick off the 2021 Sydney Film Festival, earning top billing by highlighting themes of family and community reframed in the immigrant experience.

The film, made by UTS alumni Bina Bhattacharya and Vonne Patiag (writers), Fadia Abboud (director), Sheila Jayadev (producer) and screenwriter Blake Ayshford, exhibits the cultural intersection of Western Sydney and provides an authentic representation of contemporary Australia.

“I’m really excited to share Here Out West with local audiences – I think it succeeds in re-defining what an ‘Australian’ film is. For a film that was shot in my backyard to be the Opening Night film of the Sydney Film Festival is such an honour and a proud statement that we’re finally shifting the progress with representation in our national cinema.

“The film is not just about migrant stories, but is infused with hope, humour and nuance, shining a light on the brilliance of the everyday lives of people living in Western Sydney,” said filmmaker and UTS graduate Vonne Patiag.

For a film that was shot in my backyard to be the Opening Night film of the Sydney Film Festival is such an honour and a proud statement that we’re finally shifting the progress with representation in our national cinema.

Vonne Patiag
Writer, Here Out West

Award-winning filmmakers from the UTS community are featured across a range of genres.

Director and UTS Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt will premier her documentary, Araatika: Rise Up!, which follows a group of NRL stars working on a pre-game performance to meet the famous haka.

In animation, Spirit tells the story of a baby wombat who encounters a fire spirit in a dangerous bushfire; Jarli explores the dream of flight, indigenous astronomy, and the future of our planet and its people; Jasper tells the tale of a young girl fascinated by becoming an air force pilot; and Off the Rails follows best friends Bonbon and Cookie swept up in a chaotic odyssey on a train from a Russian city.

Media Arts Production Lecturer Dr Greg Ferris will host a panel discussion on the future of storytelling in an AI, Interactive and Immersive Media landscape. Dr Ferris’s post-production work is showcased in Shaun Gladwell’s observational short film, Homo Suburbiensis (mixtape).

UTS will host a Retrospective special screening of selected student short films from the UTS Media Arts Production program, Animation program, and Animal Logic Academy, from the past decade.

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