Director Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright honoured at MOMA

New York, USA The restored 1971 Australian classic Wake in Fright was screened last night at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in The Lewis B. & Dorothy Cullman Education & Research Building (The Celeste Bartos Theater) as part of a surprise private screening celebration in honor of Ted Kotcheff’s 80th Birthday.

The event was co-hosted by Chris Meloni (Law & Order SVU) and Antonio Saillant (Angel Light Pictures). Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU), Brian Dennehy and Michael Talbott (First Blood) and many other close friends of the honoree attended this historical event and a special reception dinner followed immediately after the screening at the restaurant Bice NY.

Wake In Fright, released in 1971, is a sharply observed drama about a schoolteacher stranded in a hostile country town. Based on a novel by Kenneth Cook, it stars Gary Bond alongside Chips Rafferty, Donald Pleasence, Jack Thompson and Sylvia Kay. Directed by Canadian Ted Kotcheff, produced by George Willoughby and written by Evan Jones.

At the time of production, Kotcheff had directed two films, the Tiara Tahiti (1962) and Two Men Sharing (1969). After Wake In Fright, Kotcheff would continue to have a successful career as a director. His later films included The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1973), as well as the football comedy “North Dallas Forty” (1979), which he also co-wrote, Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), First Blood (1982), and Weekend at Bernie’s (1988). In the 1990s, he returned to directing for TV and the executive producer of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

38 years after its 1971 debut, ‘in competition,’ at the Cannes Film Festival, this film was declared a Cannes Classic in 2009 and was screened again as part of the 2009 Cannes Classics retrospective program, Kotcheff holds the honor of having one of only 2 films to have ever been screened twice at Cannes.

A landmark film in the renaissance of Australian cinema in the 70s, Wake in Fright was lost for many years and has been restored by Australia s National Film and Sound Archive and re-issued and is now considered one of the greatest Australian films of all time. The film is distributed via Madman Entertainment.

Wake in Fright Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkER6haC8bI

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