Australia, 1998 (MIFF 1998, Australian Showcase)

Director: Ana Kokkinos

Nineteen year-old Ari (Alex Dimitriades) is obsessed with sex, drugs, his little sister's Lebanese boyfriend and his best friend's transvestite tendencies. Spread over an intense and eventful day, Head On packs a king hit of ethnic, sexual and drug-related tensions.

Those familiar with Christos Tsiolkas's contemporary post-grunge novel, Loaded, will recognise the same tightness of the book in Kokkinos' adaption for film. Ari's world, with pressures ranging from the singular to the political, is seamlessly conveyed in a compelling and deeply sensitive performance by Dimitriades. Kokkinos is as uncompromising in framing the issues surrounding Ari's sexuality, as she is spot-on in depicting the tensions of Greek inter-generational life in Australia.

"Tsiolkas's book is very much, an interior monologue... We wanted to capture that roller-coaster ride of the 24 hours and put the audience into a position of having to experience it with Ari." - Ana Kokkinos

"Dimitriades' (previous roles) don't begin to compare with his fine, brave work here... He utterly convinces as a reckless, hedonistic seeker after instant gratification... The sexual scenes are vividly yet tactfully handled... What gives Head On its remarkable strength is that its protagonist's wild journey is set firmly against his ethnically specific family background, one that Kokkinos knows well." - David Stratton, Variety

Ana Kokkinos, Alex Dimitriades and Jane Scott are guests of the Festival.

In 1991 Ana Kokkinos completed a Post Graduate Diploma at the VCA School of Film and Television. Her first film, Only the Brave (1993-4), which she co-wrote with Mira Robertson, won numerous awards including the Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Film at MIFF 94, Best Film (Fiction) at the 1994 Sydney Film Festival and the 1994 AFI Awards for Best Short Fiction and Best Screenplay.

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