American Essentials Film Festival Opens May 9th

by Thea Basiliou May 02, 2017

20th Century Women

Keep them coming Palace Cinemas. I can't get enough of these international film festivals.

Hot on the heels of The Spanish Film Festival (I loved Summer 1993 and looking forward to seeing The Trip to Spain this weekend) comes the American Essentials.

Artistic Director Richard Sowada has selected some incredible new cinema including the highly anticipated 20th Century Women which is the festival's opening film.

Written and directed by Mike Mills (Beginners, Thumbsucker) and starring the wonderful actor Annette Bening and girls of the moment Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig, the film was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards and Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes. In all, 20th Century women has had 65 award nominations and 10 wins.

The trailer had me straight off - to be frank, it looks totally cool plus the soundtrack...Talking Heads, The Raincoats, Germs, David Bowie, Suicide, The Buzzcocks and Siouxsie and the Banshees.     I'm there :)


George Lazenby

Becoming Bond is the story of Australian actor George Lazenby, who starred as James Bond once and only once in the 1967 Casino Royale.

Directed by Josh Greenbaum, the documentary made it's world debut at SXSW and is a centre piece film at this festival.

This documentary promises to uncover the mystery why Lazenby never came back as 007?!


Ewan McGregor

Starring Ewan McGregor, Dakota Fanning and Jennifery Connelly,

American Pastoral is Ewan McGregor's directorial debut.

The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of 1998 by Philip Roth, a brave first for McGregor to take on.

American Pastoral made Official Selection at Toronto, Stockholm and Edinburgh Film Festivals and from the preview looks heavy but beautifully filmed and absorbing.



California Dreams

Directed by Mike Ott, California Dreams presents fiction in almost documentary style following the lives and dreams of characters as they follow their hearts to make it in Hollywood.


From Nowhere


Matthew Newton's film From Nowhere is an emotional tale of students from the Bronx with different backgrounds trying to conceal their illegal immigrant status.

This topical story won the Narrative Spotlight Award at SXSW and looks incredibly well acted with a pressing story.



Strange Weather

The trailer for Strange Weather does not give anything away but The Guardian says "It's the type of rich, nuanced, regional American indie that flourished in the 1990's", PLUS it's stars Holly Hunter which is enough for me.

The film is written and directed by Katherine Diekmann and made official selection at Toronto Film Festival.


postcards from the edge

Sowada also has a fantastic line-up of classics to go in to the mix like Andy Warhol's Bad, Annie Hall, Eraserhead, The Graduate, Mulholland Drive and a timely screening of Postcards from the Edge.


The American Essentials Film Festival screens at Palace Cinemas around the country from the 9th of May until the 28th.

See the website for full programme details here.


Thea X

Thea Basiliou
Thea Basiliou