Three Australasian films picked for Sundance
Ariel Kleiman’s Partisan, Kim Farrant’s Strangerland and John Maclean’s New Zealand-shot Western Slow West will compete in the world cinema dramatic section of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Kleiman’s debut feature, co-written with Sarah Cyngler, stars Vincent Cassel, Jeremy Chabriel and Florence Mezzara. The plot follows Alexander, a playful, curious and naïve kid who has been raised as a trained assassin to see the world through the eyes of his father Gregori.
His short Deeper than Yesterday won the jury prize for best international short at Sundance in 2011. Warp Films Australia’s Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw produced Partisan. Madman Entertainment is the Oz distrib.
Kleiman said, “Sundance is where everything started with my shorts, so to be able to go back there with my first feature is very exciting. So many of my filmmaking heroes have come through the festival and to be included amongst that history is such an honour. Also, I really like snow.”
Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes play a couple whose lives unravel after their two teenage children go missing in the Australian desert in Strangerland. Hugo Weaving plays the cop who leads the investigation and Maddison Brown and Nicholas Hamilton play the missing kids.
Fiona Seres and Michael Kinirons wrote the screenplay. The producers are Dragonfly Pictures’ Naomi Wenck and Fastnet Films’ Macdara Kelleher; Transmission will distribute.
Maclean's feature writing and directing debut, Slow West stars Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Rory McCann, Ben Mendelsohn, Brooke Williams and Caren Pistorius. Set at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot follows 16-year-old Jay Cavendish as he journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves. He is joined by Silas, a mysterious traveller, and hotly pursued by an outlaw.
The producers are See-Saw Films’ Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, Fassbender and Conor McCaughan of London-based DMC Film, and Rachel Gardner. Transmission is aboard.
The film was developed by Film4 and co-financed by Film4, the British Film Institute, the New Zealand Film Commission and Fulcrum Media Finance. It was the second collaboration between Film4, the BFI and Scotsman Maclean following his short Pitch Black Heist, which starred Fassbender.
The Australian contingent will also be represented by Margot Robbie in Z for Zachariah, Guy Pearce in Results, Toni Collette in Grassland and Callan McAuliffe in The Stanford Prison Experiment.
Sundance runs from January 22 until February 1.