Aussies invade Berlinale 2010

25 January, 2010 by IF

Press release from Screen Australia/The Lantern Group

Australia will be well represented at the 2010 Berlinale with four Australian films selected for the film festival, one Australian project selected for the Co-Production Market and four new Australian filmmakers selected for the Talent Campus.


The action thriller Red Hill – the feature debut from writer/producer/director Patrick Hughes – will have its World Premiere in the Berlin International Film Festival’s Panorama Special within Official Selection. Described as a modern day western, Red Hill was produced by Al Clark and stars Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley, Tom E Lewis and Claire van der Boom. Panorama features a diverse line-up of international films from well-known directors as well as debut films and new discoveries.

Following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and recent screenings at the Sundance Film Festival, Bran Nue Dae will screen in the Berlin International Film Festival’s Generation 14Plus section – a showcase of films for young people aged 14 years and over. The musical Bran Nue Dae, directed by Rachel Perkins, is currently in wide local release on over 200 screens.

Franswa Sharl, directed by Hannah Hilliard, has been selected for the Berlin International Film Festival’s Generation KPlus section – a program targeting the youngest cinemagoers aged four years and over. The short film set in Fiji in 1980 is based on a true story.

All three films received investment funding from Screen Australia.

Australian filmmaker Rima Tamou and producer Pauline Clague have made a short eight-minute film, First Contact, which is part of the omnibus film Embargo Project – selected for Berlin International Film Festival’s Forum Expanded program. The Embargo Project was commissioned by Canada’s imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and consists of seven short films made by Indigenous filmmakers from Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia. In the case of First Contact, writer/director Rima Tamou was challenged to scale down his usual approach and work with non-actors. First Contact was shot in far north Queensland, is in Girrimae language and will have its European Premiere at Berlin.
From 354 submissions, the Australian project Cut Snake has been selected for the Berlinale Co-Production Market. The film, currently in development, is being written by Blake Ayshford, will be produced by Michael McMahon with Tony Ayres attached as director. Cut Snake tells the story of Pommie who is released from jail to find that his former lover has started a new life. The Co-Production Market presents 22 new projects from around the world to potential co-production and financial partners.

Four up-and-coming film practitioners – Adrian Francis, Polly Staniford, Violeta Ayala and Zen Rosenthal – will represent Australia at the Berlinale Talent Campus. The Talent Campus is a six-day creative summit where 350 talented young people from around the world involved in all areas of filmmaking are invited to reflect on their cinematic ideas in workshops, lectures and panel discussions, and to work on their projects in specialised hands-on studios.

Also being screened as part of Talent Campus is the Berlin Today Award 2010 finalist Jonah and the Vicarious Nature of Homesickness. The live-action and stop-motion short was made by the Berlin-based Australian filmmaker Bryn Chainey and was produced in co-operation with the Berlin production company, Anna Wendt Filmproduktion.

“The Berlinale is considered one of the major events on the international film industry calendar,” said Kathleen Drumm, Head of Marketing at Screen Australia. “As well as Berlinale’s prestige, its importance is further underscored because of its focus on the development of future projects and future talent. It’s great to see that in 2010 – the 60th anniversary of the Berlin International Film Festival – Australia is strongly represented across the board.”

Berlinale will run 11–21 February 2010.

Berlin International Film Festival

Red Hill
Production Company: Red Hill Films Pty Ltd
Writer/Producer/Director: Patrick Hughes
Producer: Al Clark
Australian Distribution: Transmission
International Sales: Arclight Films
Cast: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley, Tom E Lewis, Claire van der Boom

Synopsis: A young police officer must survive his first day’s duty in a small country town.

Bran Nue Dae
Production Companies: Robyn Kershaw Productions Pty Ltd, Mayfan Pty Ltd
Director: Rachel Perkins
Screenplay: Reg Cribb, Rachel Perkins, Jimmy Chi
Based on the stage musical Bran Nue Dae by Jimmy Chi and Kuckles
Producers: Robyn Kershaw, Graeme Isaac
Australian Distributor: Roadshow
International Sales: Bankside Films
Cast: Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins and Geoffrey Rush

Synopsis: Set in the summer of 1969, Bran Nue Dae is a road movie, coming-of-age, comedy musical, which celebrates the adventure of finding home.

Franswa Sharl
Production Company: Room Four Film Pty Ltd
Writers: Greg Logan and Hannah Hilliard
Director: Hannah Hilliard
Producer: Linda Micsko
Cast: Callan McAuliffe, John Batchelor, Diana Glenn, Steve Lemarquand, Pippa Grandison, Ivy Latimer

Synopsis: Keeping the position of number one son calls for a certain amount of ingenuity.

First Contact (screening as part of the omnibus film Embargo Project)
Production Company: Core Films Pty Ltd
Writer/Director: Rima Tamou
Producer: Pauline Clague
Cast: Sean Choolburra, Sam Muriata

Synopsis: The lives of two brothers are drastically changed after they discover strange tracks while hunting.

Berlinale Co-Production Market

Cut Snake
Production Company: Big and Little Films Pty Ltd and Matchbox Pictures Pty Ltd
Director: Tony Ayres
Writer: Blake Ayshford
Producer: Michael McMahon

Synopsis: When Pommie gets out of jail, he tracks down his only love: Sparra. But his former prison lover has begun a new life as a straight man. Pommie can only do one thing to win him back – destroy everything.

Berlinale Talent Campus

Jonah and the Vicarious Nature of Homesickness
Production Company: Anna Wendt Filmproduktion (Germany)
Writer/Director: Bryn Chainey
Producer: Anna Wendt
Cast: Jens Winter

Synopsis: One day Jonah left his family. He gave no explanation and no goodbye, only a telephone number that redirected to an answering machine, before blasting into outer space with his homemade spaceship.

Adrian Francis
Adrian is a director and editor whose recent short documentary Lessons from the Night has screened at over 15 international film festivals including the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival and Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. He is currently in Tokyo developing his next documentary. Credits include: Lessons from the Night (2008), Soft Words (2006), Coober: A Desert Speedway Story (2007), Aly M (2006).

Polly Staniford
Polly is a Victorian-based, award-winning writer, director and producer. Her short films have screened in high profile festivals all over the world including Venice, Berlin and Sundance.
Credits include: Netherland Dwarf (2008), Little Wings (2008), Crossbow (2007).

Violeta Ayala
Violeta is a New South Wales-based writer, director and producer who has dedicated her career to social change. Her first feature film Stolen screened at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival and International Documentary Festival Amsterdam. Credits include: Stolen (2009), A Vegan in the Meat Aisle (2007), Between the Oil and the Deep Blue Sea (2006), Proyecto Vila-Vila (2005), La Protection (2005).

Zen Rosenthal
Zen is an award-winning creative film editor who has worked on a diverse range of projects including feature films, documentaries, television commercials, promos, music videos and short films. He recently received an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award for Best Editing on the acclaimed BBC/ABC documentary How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer. Credits include: The Lab (2009), Scary Therapy (2009), INXS (2009), Whiteline (2009), How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer (Connected) (2008), Feud (2008), Four (2008), Bleeders (2008).