Simon Baker’s debut feature, Breath, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
The adaptation of the Tim Winton novel has been added to the line-up in the Contemporary World Cinema section of the major festival.
Matthew Newton’s quiet career rehabilitation also continues with his latest film, Who We Are Now, also having its world premiere in Toronto. Newton, who left Australia for psychiatric treatment after several high-profile domestic violence incidents, directed the US drama From Nowhere in the US last year. His first feature in Australia, Three Blind Mice, starred Ewen Leslie and Toby Schmitz in 2008.
Who We Are Now is a legal drama stars Emma Roberts, Star Trek’s Zachary Quinto, Jimmy Smits and American Pie’s Jason Biggs.
American-Australian John Curran was also added to the festival with his latest, Chappaquiddick, having its world premiere in the Gala section. The director of Australian films Praise, The Painted Veil and Tracks, has recreated the 1969 car accident that killed a young woman and upset Ted Kennedy’s political career, with stars Kate Mara, Bruce Dern and Australian Jason Clarke as Kennedy.
Breath joins two previously announced Australia films in this year’s line-up: the North American premiere of Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country, which will close the Platform competition, and the world premiere of Violeta Ayala’s Cocaine Prison competing in TIFF Docs. Expat Craig Gillespie’s biographical drama about ice skater, I, Tonya, starring Margot Robbie, was also previously announced.
Last year, Garth Davis’s Lion began its award-winning run at Toronto.
Baker’s film, starring Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), Richard Roxburgh (Rake), Rachael Blake (Lantana), and newcomers Samson Coulter and Ben Spence is scheduled for a May 2018 release by Roadshow Films after being bumped from December.
The positive news has emerged in the same week the Sydney Morning Herald published that Arclight Films had threatened to sue the production for compensation of $4 million. Producer Jamie Hilton rejected Arclight’s claim.
Baker also stars in the film, adapted from Winton’s Miles Franklin Award-winning novel by Top of the Lake: China Girl screenwriter Gerard Lee, Baker and Winton. Oscar and Emmy Award–winning American producer Mark Johnson’s (Breaking Bad) Gran Via Productions and Hilton’s for See Pictures produced the film.
“From an early age I was both seduced and terrified by the ocean. The Australian coastline raised me; it’s enmeshed in my identity. Tim Winton’s book Breath authentically captured the rawness of growing up on that coastline,” said Baker.
“I’m eternally grateful to everyone who committed to this incredible journey. Their support and encouragement is all there, where it should be, on the screen. I’m immensely proud that Breath will represent Australian cinema at the Toronto International Film Festival, and for the opportunity to share with the world the power, beauty and wisdom of the Australian landscape.”