Sundance selects six local films

08 December, 2009 by IF

Press release from The Lantern Group

Six new Australian films have been selected for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, which overnight completed the announcement of its line-up for 2010.


Widely regarded as the highest profile film festival in the US, Sundance is a Mecca for the independent film industry. The festival, founded by Robert Redford, has a history of discoveries including Shine and Wolf Creek. It is renowned for showcasing some of the best independent cinema from around the world.

Writer/director David Michôd’s much-anticipated Animal Kingdom will premiere in the World Cinema Narrative Competition. The film marks Michôd’s feature debut and is one of only 14 films selected for this section from over 1,000 submissions. Starring Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver and Joel Edgerton, Animal Kingdom is a psychological drama set in Melbourne’s criminal landscape. The film was produced by Liz Watts and is due for local release in May 2010.

Cane Toads: The Conquest from writer/director Mark Lewis will have its world premiere in the Premieres section. Described as the first Australian digital 3D feature film, The Conquest is a follow-up to Lewis’s 1988 cult classic Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, which remains one of the highest grossing Australian documentaries ever at the local box office.
The musical road-movie Bran Nue Dae from director Rachel Perkins will have its US premiere in the inaugural Spotlight section – dedicated to much loved films from the international festival circuit. Written by Perkins, Reg Cribb and Jimmy Chi, the film was produced by Robyn Kershaw and Graeme Isaac. It has an all-star cast including Jessica Mauboy, Geoffrey Rush and Ernie Dingo, and will be released in Australian cinemas from 14 January 2010.

All three features were made with financial assistance from Screen Australia.

“Sundance is the first major international festival for 2010 and this is a wonderful result for Australia,” said Kathleen Drumm, Screen Australia’s Head of Marketing. “2009 has been a strong year for our country with over 30 features screening at some of the world’s most significant festivals. The Sundance selection reinforces Australia’s strength and popularity in the international market, and reinforces our reputation for talent and originality.”

From a record 6,092 submissions, three Australian short films have been selected for Sundance’s shorts program. Young Love from writer/director Ariel Kleiman will screen in the International Dramatic Shorts Competition as well as the animation My Rabit Hoppy by Oscar-nominated writer/director Anthony Lucas. Completing the Australian line-up is the four-minute Glottal Opera directed by John Fink selected for the International Documentary Shorts Competition.

The Sundance Film Festival will run 21–31 January 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

See below for film details.

Animal Kingdom
Writer/Director: David Michôd
Producer: Liz Watts
Production Company: Porchlight Films
Australian Distributor: Madman Entertainment
International Sales: E1 Entertainment
Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Luke Ford, Jacki Weaver, Sullivan Stapleton, James Frecheville
Synopsis: After the death of his mother, a seventeen year-old boy is thrust precariously between an explosive criminal family and a detective who thinks he can save him.

Bran Nue Dae
Director: Rachel Perkins
Writers: Reg Cribb, Rachel Perkins, Jimmy Chi
Based on the stage musical Bran Nue Dae by Jimmy Chi and Kuckles
Producers: Robyn Kershaw, Graeme Isaac
Production Companies: Robyn Kershaw Productions Pty Ltd, Mayfan Pty Ltd
Australian Distributor: Roadshow Films
International Sales: Bankside Films
Cast: Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins, Geoffrey Rush
Synopsis: Bran Nue Dae is a road movie, coming-of-age, comedy musical, which celebrates the adventure of finding home.

Cane Toads: The Conquest
Writer/Director: Mark Lewis
Production Company: Radio Pictures
International Sales: Radio Pictures
Cast: Millions of cane toads Australia wide.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Mark Lewis follows the unstoppable march of the cane toad across the Australian continent. Presented in 3D.


Glottal Opera
Director: John Fink
Writers: John Fink, Sally Stevens
Producer: Deborah Szapiro
Production Company: Reel Regular Films
Cast: Juleiaah Boehm, Emma Deans, Alexi Kaye, Sally Stevens
Synopsis: Australian all-girl vocal troupe Kaya reveal more than their souls as they sing about the joys of kissing in springtime. Disturbing, confronting, mesmerising and ultimately compelling.

My Rabit Hoppy
Writer/Director: Anthony Lucas
Producers: Anthony Lucas, Julia Lucas
Production Company: 3D Films Pty Ltd
Cast: Henry Lucas, Peggy Lucas, Julia Lucas
Synopsis: A ‘Show and Tell’ school project about a pet rabbit goes horribly wrong.

Young Love
Writer/Director: Ariel Kleiman
Supervising Producer: Siobhan Jackson
Production Company: VCA Film & Television School, University of Melbourne and Stool Pigeon
Cast: Alexander J Ford, Anna Vera-Dudas
Synopsis: Erno struggles to run, clutching his stomach and wincing in pain with each step as he traverses a deserted farmland. Even in tortuous pain, it seems clear it is not safe for Erno to stop, but what’s he running from?