Archibald prize winning artist Del Kathryn Barton’s directorial debut screens at this year’s Sydney Film Festival.

Words: Pranika Nayyar

Del Kathryn Barton is an acclaimed Australian painter and two-time winner of the Archibald prize. Her first win was in 2008 for a self-portrait with her children titled You are what is most beautiful about me, a self-portrait with Kell and Arella, winning again in 2013 for her portrait of the actor Hugo Weaving.

Best known for her intricate mixed media artworks created using sequins, watercolour and glitter, her work is hung in galleries across Australia including the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, and the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Having premiered internationally at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Barton’s directorial debut Blaze will soon be screening in the Official Competition at the Sydney Film Festival (SFF) and is in the running for 2022’s renowned Sydney Film Prize.

Starring Simon Baker, Yale Stone and newcomer Julia Savage, the film combines live-action with VFX and stop motion techniques to explore trauma, girlhood and parenthood, themes reminiscent of Barton’s impressive paintings.

Blaze’s worldwide sales rights have been acquired by cinema company MK2 films. Its managing director, Fionnuala Jamison comments, “Del Kathryn Barton is such a visionary artist, whose unique style gives life to a radical and immersive modern fable. More relevant than ever, ‘Blaze’ is an ode to women solidarity and courage.”

While this is Barton’s first venture into directing a feature length film, she previously directed the short film Red starring Cate Blanchette, which played at the SFF 2017, and her whimsical paintings inspired the animation in the Oscar Wilde adaptation The Nightingale and the Rose in 2015.

Blaze will screen at the State Theatre on 16 and 18 June, and the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace on 19 of June.

This article was posted 14 June 2022.

Image: (Still) Blaze, Directed by Del Kathryn Barton, 2022. Courtesy: the artist and Sydney Film Festival. 


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