Opening Night - The Furnace
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Opening Night - The Furnace

Wed Apr 14 6:30 PM
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Jetty Memorial Theatre
Assisted Listening
100 Percent
General Admission
116 Mins
Wed Apr 14

Venice Film Festival nominee · Best Film · Venice Horizons Award 

An unlikely hero’s tale, navigating greed and the search for identity in a new land.

SWIFF is proud to present Roderick MacKay’s powerful feature debut, The Furnace, as the 2021 Opening Night film – together with cast and crew members in attendance.

It’s 1897. Caravaneers, brought to Australia by the British from Persia, Afghanistan, and India, drive camels across the Western Australian desert to trade between colony outposts near Mount Magnet and Kalgoorlie. Having developed close relations with the Indigenous population, whose knowledge of the unforgiving terrain is crucial for their trade routes, young Afghan trader Hanif (Ahmed Malek) forms a close bond with local Indigenous man Woorak (Baykali Ganambarr – The Nightingale, SWIFF ’20), even learning his local language, Badimaya.  

Hanif stumbles upon a mysterious bushman, Mal Riley (David Wenham), carrying 400oz gold bars marked with the Crown’s insignia – incredibly valuable, but completely untradeable…unless they are melted and reforged in a furnace. With the promise of an awaiting fortune in exchange for Mal’s safe passage, Hanif is forced to make the ultimate decision that will forever decide his fate.  

Described as Western Australia’s answer to the Australian Western, The Furnace captures a culturally significant, untold story in Australia’s colonial history, and provides a powerful means to reflect on long held notions of national identity.

Australia is a country that, to my mind, has only recently begun to willingly peer back into its past, warts and all, to better understand how it has arrived at the present. This is essential to walk with clarity and confidence, as one people, towards a better future” – director, Roderick MacKay.

Canapes and drinks prior to Opening Night event. 6.30pm for 7pm start, with Q&A to follow the film.

Festival guests include, director Roderick MacKay, producer Tim White (The Luminaries, I Am Mother), and actor Baykali Ganambarr (The Nightingale).
Wed Apr 14

Jetty Memorial Theatre

337 Harbour Drive Coffs Harbour, NSW, 2450