Writer-director Sue Brooks' Looking for Grace will be the first film by a female Australian director to screen in competition at the Venice Film Festival since Clara Law's The Goddess Of 1967 in 2000.
Australia will have an unprecedented profile at the festival with Michael Rowe’s Early Winter and Simon Stone’s The Daughter selected for the Venice Days sidebar and Bentley Dean and Martin Butler’s Tanna screening in Venice Critics’ Week.
This is the first time Australian films will be represented in all three Venice categories. That adds to the prestige of The Daughter having its North American premiere in the Special Presentations section of the 40th Toronto International Film Festival, where Jocelyn Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker will have its world premiere in the Gala Presentations section.
Wayne Blair's US thriler Septembers Of Shiraz, which stars Salma Hayek, Adrien Brody and Shohreh Aghdashloo, will also screen in Gala Presentations.
Palace Films has set an Australia Day release for Looking for Grace, which stars Richard Roxburgh, Radha Mitchell, Odessa Young and Terry Norris.
Young, who also stars in The Daughter, plays 16-year-old Grace, who has run away from home. Her exasperated parents head to the West Australian wheat belt with a retired detective to try and get her back. Life unravels faster than they can put it back together.
The producers are Lizzette Atkins, Sue Taylor and Alison Tilson. Palace Films’ general manager Nicolas Whatson said: “Sue’s Japanese Story is one of Palace’s most beloved and successful Australian releases, so when Sue and Alison brought us the script of their new project we were honoured and thrilled. It was an immediate ‘yes’ from the team.
“Looking for Grace might be a story of an ‘ordinary’ family, but it bears Sue’s characteristic humour and pathos, and once again she takes her characters – and the audience – down unexpected pathways.”
The investors include Gecko Films, Taylor Media, Unicorn Films, ScreenWest and Lotterywest, Screen Australia, Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund, Soundfirm and Film Victoria.
ScreenWest CEO Ian Booth said, “Looking for Grace is the first Western Australian film to be selected for Venice. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the film and also the Western Australian screen industry.
“It is proudly Western Australian, it’s a Perth and wheat belt story. From a settings perspective, the landscape is very relevant to the story. The wheat belt is a character.
“It’s a vibrant time for the WA screen industry with Looking for Grace heading to Venice, Blue Dog recently finished filming, and Breath, Jasper Jones and OtherLife, amongst others, about to be filmed.”
The 72nd Venice International Film Festival takes place September 2-12, with 20 features in contention for the Golden Lion. TIFF runs from September 10-20.
Emin Alper Abluka (Frenzy)
Laurie Anderson Heart of a Dog
Marco Bellocchio Sangue del mio sangue
Sue Brooks Looking for Grace
Drake Doremus Equals
Atom Egoyan Remember
Cary Fukunaga Beasts of No Nation
Giuseppe M. Gaudino Per amor vostro
Xavier Giannoli Marguerite
Amos Gitai Rabin, the Last Day
Luca Guadagnino A Bigger Splash
Oliver Hermanus The Endless River
Tom Hooper The Danish Girl
Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson Anomalisa
Piero Messina L’attesa
Jerzy Skolimowski 11 minut (11 Minutes)
Aleksandr Sokurov Francofonia
Pablo Trapero El Clan
Christian Vincent L’hermine
Zhao Liang Behemoth