Australian Open serves up inaugural Sports Film Festival

  • Tennis Australia

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The Australian Open will launch yet another Grand Slam first for 2019 with the inaugural AO Sports Film Festival.

Throughout the entire two weeks of the tournament, tennis fans can mix up their tennis action with a daily dose of blockbusters, documentaries and all-time sports films from around the world.

More than 50 films, covering a whopping 23 sports, will screen across three locations:

  • AO Ballpark - Emirates Family Sanctuary
  • AO Tennis Club at Birrarung Marr
  • The Glasshouse

The Emirates Family Sanctuary at the AO Ballpark will feature a host of kid-friendly favourites including:

  • Cool Runnings
  • Bend It Like Beckham
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Space Jam, with special appearances from Looney Tunes characters to coincide with the AO Game, the NBL basketball match at Melbourne Arena on 23 January.

The AO Tennis Club, part of the free AO Festival at Birrarung Marr, offers film-lovers a unique ‘silent cinema’ experience on the specially constructed blue AO court and features a line-up of inspirational films including:

  • The Will To Fly, the story of Australia’s Olympic aerial skiing champion Lydia Lassila
  • Wayne, the exhilarating true story of 1987 World Motorcycle Grand Prix Champion, Wayne Gardiner
  • Unmatched,  the story of the intense rivalry between tennis superstars Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova
  • I, Tonya the biographical film following the life of figure skater Tonya Harding and her connection to the 1994 attack on long term rival Nancy Kerrigan
  • Invictus, and many more.

The Glasshouse will feature a curated selection of new releases, all-time classics and special screenings including:

  • the Australian premiere of “Bethany Hamilton’sUnstoppable”. This is Bethany’s complete and untold story that follows her journey from childhood into motherhood – the ups, downs and her powerful resilience against all odds to become one of the leading professional surfers of all time.
  • Pre-release screening of tennis documentary John McEnroe – In the Realm of Perfection
  • Dangal, the true story of former wrestler, Mahavir Singh Phogat, winner of Best Film at the 2017 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, and highest-grossing Indian film ever
  • Shaolin Soccer will screen as part of a day celebrating Chinese culture, and include a 1573 tasting session presented by Luzhou Laojiao 
  • The Australian Premiere of ESPN Films, 42 to 1, focusing on Buster Douglas’ epic upset of Mike Tyson when all odds were stacked against him.

“We are delighted to launch the inaugural AO Sports Film Festival, another Grand Slam first, in January 2019.” Chief Revenue Officer Richard Heaselgrave said.

“The Australian Open is the biggest sports and entertainment event in the world in January and we are always seeking to push the boundaries of what’s expected at a sporting event. We know our fans love the food and entertainment at the AO, and introducing film into the mix promises to add yet another exciting element to our event.”

The AO Sports Film Festival is accessible via an Australian Open ground pass. Ground Passes - $49 per adult, and $5 per child.