American Essentials

American Essentials Film Festival 2017

Twenty new films from the US, all from maverick and independent voices will feature at the American Essentials Film Festival at Palace Cinemas from May 9-24. They include fresh features and documentaries, and they’ll be topped up with a truly weird and wonderful collection of cult films and restored classics from the 70s and 80s.

The Oscar-nominated 20th Century Women  starring Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig is the opener, director Mike Mills’ first feature since 2010’s Beginners. The centrepiece film is Josh Greenbaum’s Becoming Bond, a “laugh-out-loud docu-drama” about Australia’s one-time-only Bond, George Lazenby, while the Master and Masterpieces’ selection is spectacularly strong this year, and includes the doco David Lynch: The Art Life, his first astonishing provocation Eraserhead, and a newly restored copy of Mulholland Drive .

Elsewhere you’ll be able to dive head first into the roots of West Coast hip hop with G-Funk; check out Ewan McGregor’s directing debut – an ambitious adaption of Phillip Roth’s American Pastoral ; get a double dose of the Fanning sisters (Dakota and Elle): see new movies starring Holly Hunter, Bel Powley and Julie Delpy, and get a taste of the new “magic realism” style that adventurous filmmakers in the States are just beginning to explore.

It’s a remarkable range of work – representing the very best examples of America’s exuberant and always restless creative energy. Check out the full program at the festival’s website.

We have 10 double in-season passes for festival films to give away. It’s easy to enter, just email us at and let us know you’re reading online


American Essentials double passes are valid for any session except the opening/closing night, special events, and on public holidays. Tickets subject to availability. They are valid for sessions with “no free tickets” listed.

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