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ALIEN BIG CATS

Australia, 1998 (MIFF 1998, Australian Showcase)

Director: Christopher Gogos, Alkinos Tsilimidos

It's part fact, part hysteria - totally enthralling. Alien Big Cats takes to the Australian bush with spot-light in one hand, conspiracy theory in the other - all in search of a wild (and decidely non-native) species of big cat. Local filmmakers Christopher Gogos and Alkinos Tsilimidos track down the people supporting the genuine cat stories, including the legend that American servicemen stationed in Australia during WWII released mascot pumas and panthers into the wild. Before long it becomes obvious that no one and everyone's an expert. One thing's for certain: it's out there, it's very big, prefers sheep to 'Whiskas', and is very dangerous. The stakes can't get any higher... until rumours of conspiracies, suppressed evidence and deeper secrets threaten lo let the cat out of the bag.

Alien Big Cats started in 1996 when filmmakers Gogos and Tsilimidos teamed up and started asking the big questions about what really lies in wait in the Australian bush. After months of research, reading reports and getting the official word, they decided to turn an inquiry into a quest. Hitching up with a dedicated hunter - a man convinced he's had the beast in his sights more than once - they set out into Australia's forests and national parks. As rough and tumble as the hunt was, delicacy and patience has been applied to the film's structure and editing. The result is a landmark piece of Australian investigative journalism which goes way past any and all expectations. Whether you're a believer or a skeptic, Alien Big Cats will change your perceptions of the outback for good.

Christopher Gogos was born in Melbourne and attended film school at the University of Westminster (Harrow) in London. There he made a number of short films including Waiting (1994) and Ancient Allure (1994). Alkinos Tsilimidos, Melbourne born, graduated in Film and Television at the Victorian College of the Arts. Following his first feature film, Everynight... Everynight (MIFF 1994), he teamed up with Gogos on Alien Big Cats.

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