The Sapphires gets gala midnight screening at Cannes

01 May, 2012 by Sandy George

The Sapphires, director Wayne Blair’s feel-good feature debut, is one of seven new films added to the Cannes Film Festival line-up overnight.

The musical comedy set in the 1960s will have its world premiere screening at a midnight out-of-competition gala screen on May 19.


Inspired by a true story, The Sapphires is about a group of young women from a remote Aboriginal mission given the opportunity to go to Vietnam and sing for the troops.

Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell play the all-girl group billed as an Australian version of The Supremes and Irish actor Chris O’Dowd from Bridesmaids plays the unlikely talent scout who discovers them.

The Sapphires is the kind of film that comes along once in a lifetime,” said Goalpost Pictures Australia producers Rosemary Blight and Kylie du Fresne in a statement released overnight by the local distributor Hopscotch Films/Entertainment One. “From the moment we first heard of these amazing young Aboriginal women, we knew the story of how they discovered soul music and dared to live their dream had all the ingredients to captivate and enchant cinema audiences.”

Blair, who won a Crystal Bear for The Djarn Djarns in 2005, worked from a script written by Tony Briggs and Keith Thompson.

The film’s financial backers include Screen Australia, Screen NSW, Efilm Australia, IFS Capital and EFIC.

The late addition means Australia now has a feature in official selection, although short film Yardbird is in competition. According to Screen Australia, there will be 12 local films screening in the market. The festival runs from May 16 to 27.