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Podcast Episode 78: Dark Gem ‘Downriver’ Screens At FilmOut

Australian director Grant Scicluna talks about the challenges of going someplace dark

Director Grant Scicluna on the set of

Credit: Breaking Glass Pictures

Above: Director Grant Scicluna on the set of "Downriver."

Episode 78: FilmOut And 'Downriver'

Australian director Grant Scicluna talks about embracing the darkness with "Downriver."

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FilmOut, San Diego’s LGBT film festival, kicks off its 18th year Friday and will showcase some 40 films in three days. Cinema Junkie highlights one dark gem, “Downriver.”

In screening films for this year’s FilmOut, one film that stood out was “Downriver.” It reminded me of a film that screened at last year’s FilmOut called “Drown.” Both films are from Australia and both films serve up gritty tales intensified by an undercurrent of homophobia.

Michael McQuiggan programmed both films.

“I don’t know what’s going on, Australia in the last few years has exploded in LGBT cinema. All of the films that we receive from Australia are outstanding,” McQuiggan said. “The performances by Reef Ireland and Kerry Fox are outstanding. The cinematography is beautiful, and it’s a mystery.”

The fact that it is more of a genre film than a gay-themed film means that it has the potential to crossover to a more mainstream audience.

The film opens with James, played with haunted nuance by Reef Ireland, being released from juvenile detention for his role in the murder of a young boy. Director Grant Scicluna said he wanted to start the film at "the worst possible place to begin a character," a place that challenged audiences and did not present an immediately sympathetic character. But then he wanted viewers to go on a journey with this character and to have their perception of him change.

I spoke with Scicluna by phone earlier this week. He was in Australia. His film screens at 11 a.m. Sunday, at the Observatory North Park and then will hopefully find wider distribution theatrically or through video on demand.


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Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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