More Australian films selected for Berlin and Rotterdam

17 January, 2014 by Press Release

Warwick Thornton’s feature documentary The Darkside and Australian short films Emo (The Musical) and Snowblind have been added to the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival line up, joining previously announced Australian features Galore, 52 Tuesdays and The Turning.

Three Australian films, Ruin, Canopy and experimental short animation Dot Matrix, have also been selected to screen at the 2014 International Film Festival Rotterdam.


Screen Australia’s Chief Executive, Graeme Mason, said, “Australian filmmakers are using their unique voices to make ambitious, bold and visionary projects that are not only resonating with local audiences but are being acclaimed around the world. These announcements further reflect Australian filmmakers’ ability to grasp the global nature of the film industry and demonstrate the diversity and health of our industry, which performs strongly in a highly saturated and competitive global space.”

The Darkside has been selected to have its international premiere at the Berlinale’s 44th International Forum of New Cinema (the Forum), which is screening the most daring and experimental works at the festival.

The Darkside was conceived and directed by filmmaker Warwick Thornton and produced by long time collaborator Kath Shelper. Supported through Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, The Darkside features some of Australia’s finest acting talent.

Two Australian short films will have their international premieres in the Generation 14plus program of the festival. Emo (The Musical) is written and directed by Neil Triffett and produced by Lee Matthews, and was supported through Screen Australia’s Short Film Completion Fund. From writer/director Sean Kruck and produced by Caroline Barry, Snowblind was funded by Screen Australia through its Springboard Short Film Initiative.
The European Film Market (EFM), which runs alongside Berlinale, is the first major film market of the year and attracts leading producers, distributors, buyers and sales agents from around the world.

Within it is the industry-revered Berlinale Co-Production Market for international producers, sales agents, distributors and broadcasting and funding representatives. The Australian screenplay Lonely Girl, written by Lynne Vincent McCarthy, has been selected to participate, and is one of only 20 projects chosen from a field of 550 proposals. The erotic psychological thriller has Natasha Pincus attached to direct, and has received development support from Screen Australia and Jan Chapman’s Waking Dream. Producer Samantha Jennings will attend, supported by Screen Australia.

The Co-Pro Market’s selection also includes 10 projects in the Talent Project Market, including feature film script The Insect King, from Australian producer Bridget Callow-Wright and director Priscilla Cameron, which was developed with assistance from Screen Australia.
Renowned for showcasing diverse and outstanding independent films from around the world, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will screen writers/directors/producers Amiel Courtin-Wilson and Michael Cody’s Ruin, a surreal and meditative love story filmed in Cambodia. Ruin had its international premiere in the 2013 Venice Film Festival, and won a Special Jury Prize. The feature film was developed and supported for production by Screen Australia and will be screened in the Bright Future section of the festival.

Aaron Wilson’s debut feature, Canopy, will screen in Rotterdam’s Signals: How to Survive section. The film premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in September and also screened at Busan International Film Festival, Stockholm International Film Festival and Abu Dhabi International Film Festival.

Written and directed by Wilson, produced by Katrina Fleming of Melbourne-based production company Finer Films, and co-produced by Mabelyn Ow of Chuan Pictures, Singapore, Canopy is a cinematic exploration of the collision of war and nature, and its impact on humanity, told through one man’s journey. Filmed on location in Singapore and Australia, it follows the story of an Australian fighter pilot shot down in combat in wartime Singapore, 1942.

Director Richard Tuohy’s experimental short animation Dot Matrix will have its world premiere at IFFR, screening as part of IFFR’s Spectrum Shorts section. Produced by Dianna Barrie, Dot Matrix is an animated symphony of dots that collide and move against each other in a trance-like flow of images. Tuohy’s short film Etienne’s Hand also screened at IFFR in 2012.

The 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam will take place 22 January – 2 February 2014.

The Berlin International Film Festival will take place 6–16 February 2014.

Production Company Finer Films
Producer Katrina Fleming
Co-producers Mabelyn Ow, Aaron Wilson
Writer/Director Aaron Wilson
International Sales Odin’s Eye Entertainment
Cast Khan Chittenden, Mo Tzu-Yi
Synopsis Wartime, 1942. Singapore. An Australian fighter pilot shot down in combat awakens suspended in the treetops. As night devours day, he must navigate through dangerous jungle in search of sanctuary. Transcending language and culture, Canopy is a cinematic tour de force exploring the collision of war and nature and its impact on humanity. Aaron Wilson's film marks the debut of an exciting new voice in Australian cinema.
Production Company Scarlett Pictures Pty Ltd
Producer Kath Shelper
Director Warwick Thornton
International Sales Artscope (Memento Films)
Cast Deborah Mailman, Bryan Brown, Aaron Pedersen, Shari Sebbens, Claudia Karvan, Sacha Horler
Synopsis Caméra d'Or-winning director Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah) assembles a collection of poignant, sad, funny and absurd true ghost tales from across Australia and brings them to life with some of Australia's most iconic actors as the storytellers. Honest, matter-of-fact firsthand accounts illuminate a black perspective on the other side.
Production Company nano lab
Producer Dianna Barrie
Director Richard Tuohy
Synopsis Dot Matrix is an abstract animation of dots whose joy lies in the rich and varied interference patterns the dots create as they collide and move against each other in a trance-like flow of images. The dot images are taken from sheets of tone-screen paper which are used as shadings and tones in manga cartoons. The dots themselves make the soundtrack, producing a series of pitches dependent on their size and flow as they pass the optical sound head of the projector. In more than one sense, Dot Matrix is a symphony of dots!
Producer Lee Matthews
Writer/Director Neil Triffett
Cast Harry Borland, Charlotte Nicdao, Zak Marrinan, Robert Tripolino
Synopsis When Ethan, an Emo kid who hates almost everything, falls in love with Trinity, a good Christian girl with a passion for life and her Lord Jesus Christ, will it all end in tears or will they be able to live happily ever after?
Producer Bridget Callow-Wright
Writer/Director Priscilla Cameron
Synopsis Fin, a motherless 13-year-old boy, falls in love with an exotic 40-year-old woman, only to discover that he is in competition with his father for her affections. A battle between father and son destroys their fragile world but through forgiveness Fin is able to relinquish his goddess and in return gains a family. A seductive, heart warming tale, The Insect King explores the magic of selfless love.
Producer Samantha Jennings
Director Natasha Pincus
Writer Lynne Vincent McCarthy
Synopsis A lonely young woman consumed by grief accidentally kills a man and hides his body in her basement. When she discovers he is still alive, she decides to keep him. But this is no ordinary man; Ana believes her captive is a killer.
Production Company Flood Projects, Hanuman Films
Producers/Writers/Directors Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Michael Cody
International Sales XYZ
Australian Distributor Madman Entertainment
Cast Rous Mony, Sang Malen
Synopsis Ruin is the story of Phirun and Sovanna – two lovers inextricably drawn together, who escape a brutal and exploitative world of crime and prostitution in modern day Cambodia. Fleeing Phnom Penh after a murder, they find themselves travelling deeper and deeper into the jungle. As their vulnerable love ebbs and flows along their journey, they awake from the traumatised stupor of their former lives, unleashing a violent rage upon the world. This torrent of chaos coupled with the potent, transformative love ultimately consumes them – swallowed whole by their own hearts and the malevolent world from which they have sprung.

Producer Caroline Barry
Writer/Director Sean Kruck
Cast Lucas Pittaway, Ashleigh Cummings, Jan Oxenbould, Michael Stewart, Martin Vaughan, Oscar Redding, Susan Prior
Synopsis Over the course of a weekend Jack negotiates love, his family and the slippery slope of adolescence.