Sydney Film Festival announces Casey Affleck and Whitney Houston films

Still from the film A Ghost Story, starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara
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A haunting drama that has Casey Affleck as a ghost under a white sheet, a documentary that looks at Whitney Houston’s tragic death and a drive-in screening of An American Werewolf in London will feature at Sydney Film Festival in June.

Director Nashen Moodley has announced the first films in the program – 15 features and 13 documentaries – and revealed the 64th festival will include an extra cinema.

While still based in its traditional venues in the city – the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street and Dendy Opera Quays – the festival has the Randwick Ritz joining Dendy Newtown, Cremorne Orpheum, the Art Gallery of NSW and Casula Powerhouse for an event that attracted more than 170,000 patrons last year.

Moodley expects one of the highlights to be David Lowery’s A Ghost Story, a drama that has Affleck as a musician who dies in a car crash then returns to the home he shared with his grieving wife, played by Rooney Mara.

“It’s very a minimal film and, as you can tell from the sheet, very lo-fi,” Moodley says. “But it’s a really moving love story.”

English documentary maker Nick Broomfield will be a guest at the festival – and present a masterclass – for the screening of Whitney: Can I Be Me, which charts Houston’s rise to become one of the world’s biggest female singers then her downfall and death in 2012.

“Just like in Amy [the Oscar-winning documentary about Amy Winehouse],we see things going wrong,” Moodley says. “It’s a tragic story but also one that features the absolute beauty of her voice.”

An American Werewolf in London, the comic horror film from 1981, will screen under a full moon at the Skyline Drive-in at Blacktown.

The first n film to be announced is the comedy That’s Not Me from a husband-and-wife filmmaking team, writer-director Gregory Erdstein and writer-star Alice Foulcher. She plays twin sisters who are both actors in a film that was made for just $60,000.

“It’s an independent film that’s very clever and very funny,” Moodley says. “They say it’s inspired by Bridesmaids and Girls and that’s certainly the case but it has a certain Curb Your Enthusiasm type awkward humour as well.”

At a festival that is traditionally strong on documentaries, another highlight looks to be Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, which was up for best feature documentary at the Oscars this year. Based on an unfinished manuscript by American writer James Baldwin, it is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

Also screening are Jennifer Peedom’s follow-up to the acclaimed Sherpa, the documentary Mountain; the acclaimed Swiss-French animation My Life As A Zucchini, which was up for best animated feature at the Oscars; the documentary Winnie, about Winnie Madikizela-Mandela; Waiting For Giraffes, which is described as an inspiring documentary about a zoo caught in the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and the Mexican film The Untamed, which Moodley describes cryptically as “sci-fi erotica meets social realism.”

While yet to decide on an opening night film, he is “about halfway” through finalising the competition for “courageous, audacious and cutting edge” cinema.

The rest of the program will be announced on May 10, with the festival running from June 7 to 18.

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The three biggest renovation mistakes, according to an expert

Choosing your home’s colours and finishesWhat is your renovation style?How to tackle your home renovation
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There’s no doubt about it, renovating is big business in . With shows like The Block, House Rules, Selling Houses and many more, inspiration is everywhere.

These shows not only highlight the highs of renovating but also some of the pitfalls to be aware of – and I’m so glad they do. I think people are a lot more aware of what can go wrong with renovating these days, which is a very good thing.

But what I’ve noticed is that home renovators continue to make the same general mistakes during the process. It pains me to hear these stories when the remedies are so simple.

The three biggest mistakes people make when renovating? In no particular order, here they are.

Renovating one room at a time

Renovating one room at a time is a great idea, but choosing your colours and materials one room at a time isn’t. Designing your rooms piecemeal makes for an inconsistent and patchy overall look of your home.

I always recommend planning out your entire renovation at the beginning of the process – before you press the button on anything. This way, regardless of whether you do your renovation all at once or chip away at it over a period of time, it’ll look like it was all done at once and give you a complete and cohesive aesthetic in the long run.

If you want to renovate one room at a time, maybe sure you plan carefully at the beginning. Photo: Gillian van Niekerk

Copying the internet or magazine photos

Once again, getting ideas from the internet and magazines is a good idea. The trick is not to copy these photos exactly. Instead, consider what design elements you can use from the various images you like. Can you combine the wall colour from one image with the benchtop from another image, and a layout idea from yet another image?

These selections will need to work in a cohesive way so that all the colours and textures look good together. You should also consider whether the design you’ve chosen will work in with the architectural style of your home. For instance, if your home was built in the 1960s, then your renovation may include a subtle “nod” towards that era, rather than a completely modern design that doesn’t suit it at all.

Getting inspiration is great but don’t forget to consider what works best for your space. Photo: Stocksy

Make colour and materials selections from tiny samples

What might look like the perfect colour on a 10-centimetre to 20-centimetre square sample, may be completely wrong in a larger space. Have you ever painted a wall in a colour and then compared the finished wall to your tiny sample, thinking the painter got it wrong?

Luckily, repainting a wall is an easy fix. Sometimes you’ll find the exact combination of colours and finishes you’re going for in a showroom. But if not, it really can be a bit of a guessing game if design or colour selection isn’t your strong suit.

Imagine if you got your tiles wrong, or your kitchen cabinetry and stone benchtop? Now those are bigger, scarier mistakes to make!

When spending so much money on renovating your home (often upwards of $50,000-$60,000), it makes sense to seek professional design advice to set you in the right direction and help combat these three big no-no’s.

Be aware that samples don’t always look like the finished product. Photo: Stocksy

Jane Eyles-Bennett is an award-winning interior designer with over 25 years’ experience. She offers a new concept in interior design with her “We Design it. You Make it Happen” approach, specialising in exteriors, kitchens and bathrooms.

Contact Jane at [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘 or via her website.

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Potential buyer attempts $10 bid in marathon auction for $1.24m house

Property buyers pay millions for vacant landKnock-down house smashes reserve by $1.7mDemolition properties selling for millions
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It took 45 minutes and left the auctioneer with no voice, but a Preston house in completely original condition sold for almost $1.24 million.

Two determined developers traded about 80 bids of $500 after the three-bedroom home at 15 Osborne Grove was announced as on the market at $1.2 million.

The underbidder tried offering as little as $10 to stay in contention, but it was knocked back by the auctioneer. The property sold for $1,239,500 after 108 bids.

Barry Plant Preston auctioneer Jim Dimitropoulos said it was the longest auction he ever conducted.

“For every single bid I received I had to call it down three times, so it got pretty frustrating at one point,” he said.

“I had no voice at the end of that and my throat was sore.”

Though the bidding increased in $10,000 rises until $1.2 million, Mr Dimitropoulos said the speed slowed right down.

“One of the buyers asked if I would take a $10 bid and I said no,” he said, adding the auction would have continued “until Christmas”.

“I felt this was never going to end, so lucky we had time.”

At the end of the day, Mr Dimitropoulos said, he aimed to achieve the best price for the vendor by extracting every single bid.

For buyers, slowing down the auction could be a strategy to make their competitor think they were done bidding or running out of money, he added.

There were three bidders for the development opportunity, but it came down to a two-horse race.

The buyer planned to build three townhouses on the 722-square-metre block, a deceased estate offered for the first time in more than 50 years.

Across town, First National Lindellas’ Dennis Dellas has held three hour-long auctions in the past year.

His longest went for one hour and 16 minutes at 61-63 Whitehorse Road in Blackburn last April, with a developer paying $3.64 million for the 1470-square-metre block. Another development site at 89 Thames Street in Box Hill sold for $2.77 million ??? $670,000 over reserve in just over 50 minutes in November.

In neighbouring Box Hill North, it took one hour and three minutes to determine the buyer for a development site at 70 Severn Street last December. There were four bidders and it sold for $225,000 over reserve.

Mr Dellas said some developers took their time, and it could take anywhere between three and five minutes for one bid.

“You’ve just got to fill it in … with verbal fillers during the auction, and we usually talk about the area, the suburb, what you can do with the property and having no buyer’s remorse,” he said. “But you’ve just got to make sure that they’re completely out.

“And the reality is that they’re thinking about it; they’re either on a phone call to someone else or they’re working out the currency figures.”

Mr Dellas added that auctions should not be rushed and his office scheduled its 90 minutes to two hours apart.

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Banks drag ASX to narrow loss

The local sharemarket trended slightly lower on Tuesday after losses on Wall Street, with banks leading the way lower, while the n dollar fell following the Reserve Bank’s rates decision.
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The benchmark S&P/ASX200 fell 0.3 per cent to 5856.6 while the broader All Ordinaries Index gave up 0.2 per cent to 5895.8.

The big four banks led the market lower, losing between 0.4 to 1.0 per cent, with Westpac the single biggest drag on the index. The sector was key to the market rally last week that drove the ASX to two-year highs.

Some pullback wasn’t unexpected, as n shares were relatively expensive, said JPMorgan Asset Management global equities strategist Kerry Craig. Tuesday’s session was emblematic of the small falls the market has experienced of late – a state of unusually low volatility Mr Craig believes cannot last.

“The expectations around financials and resources are high…They’ve been providing a lot of underlying support. It just becomes more fickle to find those returns when you’re paying this much more [to buy into stocks] than you have in the past.

“The market’s been moving higher at a pretty steady place,” he said. The ASX has moved by more than 1 per cent only four days in the first three months of this year, compared to a long run average of 56 over the year.

“You’ve only had two other years in ASX200 history where the drawdown has been as small as it’s been this year. So we’re going to see some drop at some point.”

The materials sector provided an overall boost to the index, rising 0.2 per cent.

The surge in coking coal prices after Cyclone Debbie disrupted production continued to benefit Whitehaven Coal and South32, where coking coal operations were unaffected. Whitehaven added 5.5 per cent and South32 added 2.5 per cent to yesterday’s gains.

Rio Tinto shed 0.2 per cent while BHP Billiton fell 0.3 per cent. Fortescue Metals tumbled 1.6 per cent on the falling iron ore price.

Investors fled to gold, with the All Ordinaries Gold Index up 3.6 per cent. Gold miners such as St Barbara and Newcrest Mining added 5.4 and 3.8 per cent, respectively.

News on Tuesday that Telstra was considering taking some of its store network inhouse caused a tumble for retail partner Vita Group, which operates around 100 Telstra stores around the country. Its shares shed 21.1 per cent but Telstra didn’t fare well either, falling 0.6 per cent.

The n dollar fell to a three-week low after the Reserve Bank kept interest rates on hold but took a more cautious view on the economy, shedding nearly half a cent to US75.65??.

Stock watch: GetSwift

Shares in software company GetSwift surged 49.0 per cent to 73 cents after it joined forces with CBA to “improve delivery logistics”. GetSwift says it has an exclusive partnership with CBA to offer the bank’s retail merchants its real-time delivery platform. The deal will enable retailers who process contactless payments through CBA’s so-called “Albert” tablet to use the Android device to queue, route and dispatch deliveries. CBA will also work with GetSwift to develop new technology to improve sales and deliveries, including a payments terminal with a GPS tracker. The deal comes ahead of Amazon’s expected launch in – an event that’s widely tipped to disrupt the retail landscape in . Market Movers

Aussie drops

The n dollar fell to a three-week low after the Reserve Bank kept rates on hold at its monthly policy meeting, as expected, but took a more cautious view on the health of the job market. The Aussie fell nearly half a cent to US75.64c in late trade, pulling further away from a recent peak of US77.50c touched last month. Traders blamed dovish comments on the labour market, which they say surprised some Aussie dollar bulls. Most economists expect the RBA to remain on hold this year, but some noted that with inflation still elusive risks remain biased towards a lower cash rate.

Coking coal

Coking coal prices have soared 15 per cent to an 11-week high after former Cyclone Debbie tore through the Queensland coalfields. Spot markets for the bulk commodity rose from $US152.30 per tonne to $US175.70 per tonne overnight, as steelmakers scrambled to buy cargoes ahead of an expected shortage. Queensland produces more than 50 per cent of the world’s seaborne coking coal and the railway that carries more than 50 per cent of Queensland’s coal exports, the Goonyella line, will be out of action for about five weeks.

Trade surplus

‘s trade surplus once again rocketed higher, hitting $3.5 billion in February, its second-highest figure, from a surplus of $1.5 billion in January. Economists had expected a surplus of $1.7 billion in the month. February’s massive surplus was main due to falling imports, which slumped 5 per cent in the month, while exports rose 1.0 per cent. Economists however warned it wouldn’t last due to the looming export hit from Cyclone Debbie. The import reduction is being read as another sign of soft domestic demand.

Tech emerges

Technology stocks overthrew financials as the main driver of emerging market shares last quarter. Firms from South Korean phone makers to China’s biggest internet company helped drive a 17 per cent surge in technology shares in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in the first quarter, the best showing in five years. That pushed up their weight to 24 per cent, surpassing financial shares in the index for the first time since 2004. The growing prominence of Chinese consumers is expected to continue to drive returns, said Societe Generale.

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Adani’s giant coal mine granted unlimited water licence for 60 years

The proposed Adani coal mine, which will be ‘s biggest, has been granted unlimited access to groundwater by the Queensland government in a move farmers fear will drain huge amounts of water from the Great Artesian Basin.
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According to a copy of Adani’s water licence signed last Wednesday and obtained by Fairfax Media, the $16 billion Carmichael mine merely needs to monitor and report the amount of water it extracts under a permit that runs until 2077.

The mine – one of nine proposed for the Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton – can conduct its own review of its groundwater model without independent or government oversight.

There are also no impact levels specified that will trigger a halt to mining, and the company is able to offset any significant water loss elsewhere, the licence shows.

“It’s bloody-minded and barbaric,” said Bruce Currie, a grazier who lives in the region and has joined legal action against Galilee mines. “This is going to definitely impact on the integrity of [the Great Artesian Basin].”

According to a supplementary environmental impact statement, the mine will draw 26 million litres of water a day from its pits by 2029 as it ramps out annual production to as much as 60 million tonnes.

“In granting this licence, the Department of Natural Resources and Mines has carefully considered a broad range of information,” a spokesperson said, adding modelling shows that as much as 4.55 gigalitres of groundwater could be taken per year.

“Adani will also need to establish make-good agreements with groundwater users who could potentially be affected by changes to water availability or quality,” the spokesperson said. Some 100 conditions are in place to ensure water resources are protected.

The licence, though, would not be subject to the new Water Act Referral Panel set up to ensure “the sustainable management of water in Queensland”.

The opening of mining in the Galilee Basin is shaping up to be one of country’s big environment battles. Proponents say it will generate exports and bring jobs to a depressed part of the state, and even reduce carbon emissions if it displaces the use of dirty coal in India or elsewhere.

Opponents, though, argue the coal is largely poor quality and the basin will require huge subsidies to become viable. Burning the fuel will also release a “carbon bomb” that will contribute to harming the Great Barrier Reef, which is already being hammered by unprecedented coral bleaching blamed on global warming.

Fairfax also sought comment from Adani Mining, the local subsidiary of the Indian company. Limited scrutiny

Unlike other controversial mines, such as the New Acland coal mine planned for the Darling Downs, Adani’s water usage is not subject to public submissions and appeals, said Jo Bragg, chief executive of Queensland’s Environmental Defenders Office.

Groundwater evidence is often the most controversial feature and public scrutiny is often the most significant aspect of any review, Ms Bragg said. “It’s a matter of grave concern that there’s not that opportunity.”

It was “absolutely anomalous” that the Carmichael mine – which will dwarf New Acland’s output of about 7.5 million tonnes a year – should go through with a less vigorous process for its water licence, she said.

Carmel Flint, a campaigner for anti-mining group Lock the Gate, said the open-ended water licence for Adani amounted to a “free kick” to take water from important aquifers such as the Dunda Beds and Clematis Sandstone formations.

Water from the Great Artesian Basin “is just essential for farming communities”, Ms Flint said. “Without the water, their businesses are basically finished.”

Mr Currie, who runs about 1700 head of cattle “in a good season” over his 25,000-hectare property, said Adani was “the linchpin” to the basin’s mines.

If it proceeded, “a lot of the others will go ahead”, worsening the groundwater disruption, he said.

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