AT THE FORMAL (7', Australia, 2011)

 

AT THE FORMAL compares in a poetical manner the modern ritual of a high school graduation party with the rituals of ancient civilizations, casting an unsettling view upon the human nature. The director ANDREW KAVANAGH asks himself: “beneath the veil of civil ideals, have we really changed that much?” During just one extended long take, filmed in slow motion, guided by the bizarre cadence of the soundtrack, we slowly step into the sinister ambiance of this graduating formal party. At first, the youngsters look splendid and seem to fully enjoy the moment, but as time passes, more and more socially “inadequate” things begin to happen, as the participants' repressed instincts are starting to break loose. The author, who came with the idea of the film from a personal experience, declares: “To me, these teenagers, dressed so elegantly and behaving so bestially, symbolize a conflict, present within us all…”

Director: ANDREW KAVANAGH

 

Cast: DAVID MACRAE, PAULINE STREATFEILD, ANTHONY LITTLECHILD, JEREMY KEWELLY

Screenplay: ANDREW KAVANAGH

Cinematography: KAI SMYTHE

Editing: ANDREW KAVANAGH

Music: ANDREW KAVANAGH, DOMINIC KAVANAGH, LEO KAVANAGH

Sound: JULIET HILL

Production: RAMONA TELECICAN



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Director's contact: andy[dot]kavna[at]gmail[dot]com

 


ANDREW KAVANAGH (28 years old) is a Melbourne based writer director and a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts. Andrew experiments with unusual formal devices to offer his audience fresh perspectives on circumstances they may already be familiar with. In his latest films he frees his stories from the constraints of historical context to create an experience where the old collides seamlessly with the contemporary. His latest film MEN OF THE EARTH is the second in a trilogy of films SHORT COLLISIONS (along with AT THE FORMAL and the upcoming; INVASIONS)  – telling the story of ancient rituals in modern contexts. ANDREW has been described by the Australian director Stuart McDonald (STRANDED, RUSH), as a “unique singular voice in cinema” and is a rising talent to watch out for in the independent film industry.

 

Leopards of Tomorrow, Locarno 2011 / Clermont-Ferrand 2011/ Grand Prix - Best Short Film, Gijon Film Festival 2011 / Best Emerging Australian Filmmaker - Melbourne International Film Festival 2011 / Best Cinematography - VCA Panavision 2011 / Sidney Film Festival 2011 etc.

 

AT THE FORMAL compares the modern ritual of a high school formal with the ancient rituals of historic civilizations, asking the question: beneath the veil of civil ideals, have we really changed that much? I find the connection between short films and poems useful in my filmmaking and this particular film was developed from a poem I wrote one night after witnessing the aftermath of a high school formal. At first it was kind of magical. The girls and boys were resplendent in their eveningwear. They held hands and seemed to be almost dancing down the footpath, but as the procession went on, things became more sinister. The faces became sweaty and grotesque, people were urinating in the gutter, fights broke out, I almost stepped on a young man vomiting in a hedge and and the air was sickly sweet with the smell of premixed drinks. To me these teenagers, dressed so elegantly and behaving so bestially, symbolized a conflict, present within us all… and so I made a film about it. (…) the film is something to be experienced rather than immediately understood and the soundtrack speaks more of the jungle than a Formal event – which is where I thought I had found myself on the night I was privileged enough to stumble through this ritual, as a sober intruder.(ANDREW KAVANAGH)

 

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