Sweet Country (2017) - News Poster

(2017)

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Sam Neill to receive Aacta’s Longford Lyell Award

Sam Neill. (Photo: Ross Coffey)

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (Aacta) will next month bestow actor Sam Neill with its highest honour, the Longford Lyell Award.

First presented in 1968, the award honours Australian film pioneer Raymond Longford and his partner in filmmaking and life, Lottie Lyell. It recognises a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture.

Neill joins previous recipients such as Peter Weir, Fred Schepisi, Jan Chapman, David Stratton, Don McAlpine, Al Clark, Jacki Weaver, Andrew Knight, Cate Blanchett, Phillip Noyce and most recently, Bryan Brown.

“I am very thrilled by this honour indeed,” said Neill. “And very surprised! Let me check just in case they’ve made a mistake…”

Neill made his feature debut in Roger Donaldson’s Sleeping Dogs in 1979, which led to a breakthrough role in Gillian Armstrong’s My Brilliant Career opposite Judy Davis.
See full article at IF.com.au »

Amanda Duthie to depart Safc

Amanda Duthie.

Amanda Duthie has resigned from her role as the South Australian Film Corporation’s (Safc) head of production, development, attraction and studios to return to Sydney to pursue new opportunities and to be closer to family.

Duthie moved to Sa in 2012 to take up the role of CEO and artistic director of the Adelaide Film Festival and its investment Fund, and joined the Safc last October.

During her time with the state agency, Duthie worked to launch Centralised, a north-south creative collaboration in conjunction with Screen Nt and established the first screen agency partnership with Audible Australia. She also oversaw investment in Unjoo Moon’s I Am Woman starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey; Matchbox/Dirty Films ABC series Stateless; Porchlight Films/Peter Duncan’s ABC series Fallout and Sbs’s The Hunting, from Closer Productions.

After the departure of former Safc CEO Courtney Gibson, Duthie acted in the role until the appointment of Kate Croser.
See full article at IF.com.au »

Kyas Sherriff to join Nitv as senior commissioning editor

Kyas Sherriff.

The head of Indigenous at the Australian Film Television and Radio School Kyas Sherriff has been appointed senior commissioning editor at Nitv.

She starts in late November, succeeding Mary-Ellen Mullane who joined the ABC as executive producer of children’s content.

“Kyas is widely recognised and respected for her commitment and passion for representation in the screen sector,” said Nitv channel manager Tanya Orman.

“She brings an innovative approach, authentic voice and genuine commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples storytelling which connects to the heart of who we are at Nitv, and all that we’re trying to achieve as Australia’s dedicated Indigenous broadcaster.”

At Aftrs she launched the institution’s first Indigenous Unit, which led to its largest ever intake and graduation of Indigenous practitioners. Her work there also brought more Indigenous knowledge and talent to the wider screen sector with the establishment of Black Talks.
See full article at IF.com.au »

Sam Neill to be honoured with Equity Nz Lifetime Achievement Award

Sam Neill in ‘Ride Like A Girl’.

Actor, writer, producer and director Sam Neill has been named the recipient of the 2019 Equity New Zealand Lifetime Achievement Award, after being nominated by the Equity board and other Kiwi performers.

“Sam’s career as an actor is remarkable, but what makes this award so special is that it recognises much more than career success,” says Equity Nz president Jennifer Ward-Lealand.

“It acknowledges those members of our industry who give back at every opportunity, who strive to use their influence for important causes and who continually inspire their peers with their good will and humility. Sam leads by example. This award pays tribute to who he is as a person, as much it does his extraordinary talent.”

Neill joined Equity in 1979, and has more than 75 films and over 45 television programs to his credit. His film debut was in Roger Donaldson’s Sleeping Dogs
See full article at IF.com.au »

Australian films Bo September scorecard: ‘Ride Like a Girl’ leads the field

Ride Like a Girl’.

Rachel GriffithsRide Like a Girl will take the crown of highest grossing Australian film on home soil this year.

Meanwhile the low visibility and modest returns from limited releases including Kim Farrant’s Angel of Mine, Sophie Hyde’s Animals and Rodd Rathjen’s Buoyancy have prompted renewed calls from exhibitors to address the challenges facing most Aussie films in the crowded theatrical market.

Griffiths’ biopic starring Teresa Palmer as ground-breaking jockey Michelle Payne pocketed nearly $4 million in its first eight days, including $317,000 on Thursday.

So the Transmission Films release co-starring Sam Neill as Payne’s father Paddy and her brother Stevie Payne as himself will overtake Palm Beach’s $4.4 million this weekend and will zoom past Top End Wedding’s $5.2 million and Storm Boy’s $5 million.

Exhibitors are confident the film is heading for upwards of $10 million and could reach Ladies in Black’s $12 million.
See full article at IF.com.au »

Safc and Screen Territory partner to boost opportunities for Indigenous filmmakers

Behind the scenes of ‘Deadly Family Portraits: Sainsbury Sisters’ with director Pearl Berry.

The South Australian Film Corporation (Safc) and Screen Territory have partnered to launch ‘Centralised’, an initiative to support Indigenous filmmakers across South Australian and the Northern Territory through new funding, support and development opportunities.

The initiative, which also has the support of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, Documentary Australia Foundation (Daf), Aftrs Indigenous, ABC and Nitv, will involve mentoring, workshops, attachments and internships. Existing Aboriginal-led media organisations in Sa and the Nt will also be involved in the program.

Centralised aims to “remove the state-territory border for the screen industry, linking creative communities and fostering collaborations to develop and uncover the stories, locations and new and existing talent through the very heart of Australia”.

Emerging producers, writers and directors will be supported to develop and produce screen content for possible broadcast on the ABC or Nitv.

The
See full article at IF.com.au »

Dylan River makes merry for ‘Robbie Hood’

‘Robbie Hood’ writer-director Dylan River (front) and (L-r) actors Jordan Johnson, Pedrea Jackson and Levi Thomas.

Sbs’s Robbie Hood puts a new spin on the Robin Hood folk tale, setting it in modern day Alice Springs. It follows 13-year-old Robbie and his two friends Blue and Little Johnny, who together set about rectifying injustices they see in their community – though things don’t always go to plan.

The short-form series – 6 x 10 minutes – is the result of a partnership between Ludo Studio and 1788 Productions, and was supported by Screen Australia, Screen Territory and Screen Queensland.

Writer-director Dylan River says the show is based on both his own and his family’s experiences growing up in Alice.

“It’s a gift to the youth of Alice Springs, and I guess the whole town, making light of some more problematic issues and things that we see day-to-day here.”

River penned the scripts with Kodie Bedford,
See full article at IF.com.au »

Australian films Bo mid-year scorecard: ‘Top End Wedding’ takes the lead

Wayne Blair and Miranda Tapsell on the set of ‘Top End Wedding’.

Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding has edged past Shawn Seet’s Storm Boy to rank as the highest grossing Australian film this year.

At the half way mark of the year, the Australian films and feature docs released in cinemas, plus holdovers, have racked up a modest $15.6 million, according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia.

That’s a long way below the $40 million generated in the same period last year, led by Peter Rabbit’s $26.6 million, Breath’s $4.4 million (finishing with $4.6 million) and Sweet Country’s $2 million.

So can the industry surpass or match the 2018 calendar year total of $57.4 million? That was the third biggest year ever behind 2001’s $63.1 million and the all-time record of 2015’s $88.1 million, the year of Mad Max: Fury Road, The Dressmaker and Oddball.

Exhibitors are optimistic about the outlook for the rest of the year,
See full article at IF.com.au »

Screen Australia unveils $5.7 million in production funding for seven projects

Josh Lawson, Evie Macdonald and Grace Feng Fang Juan.

Screen Australia has announced more than $5.7 million in production funding for three features, two children’s TV series and two online projects.

The slate includes a psychological thriller from director Daina Reid and writer Hannah Kent, Run Rabbit Run, and the anticipated film adaptation of Leah Purcell play The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson. Epic Films has also been supported to turn First Day, which won the top prize at Mipcom’s Diversify TV Excellence Awards in Cannes last year, into a full series.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said: “It’s great to see several established creatives taking on new challenges. Daina Reid has had incredible success in television here and overseas, and we’re excited to see her returning to Australia to direct ghost thriller Run Rabbit Run, the debut screenplay from award-winning author Hannah Kent.
See full article at IF.com.au »

Sydney Film Review: ‘Palm Beach

  • Variety
Sydney Film Review: ‘Palm Beach
In “Palm Beach,” a Murderer’s Row of vintage yet durably sparkling Australian acting talent, combined with recent Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant, makes for a bright and eventful weekend in the sun at the eponymous northern Sydney enclave. The second feature-length directorial credit from actress-turned-director Rachel Ward following the resonant and well-received 2009 drama “Beautiful Kate,” this breezy yet sturdy dramatic comedy is aimed squarely at a mature demographic that will join the party both Down Under — where the film kicked off the Sydney Film Festival ahead of its Aug. 8 domestic rollout — and abroad, where older audiences are also sure to stargaze.

On the occasion of his 73rd birthday, long-marrieds Frank (Bryan Brown) and Charlotte (Greta Scacchi) are entertaining family and friends at their spectacularly airy, low-slung home perched above the stunning natural beauty of the ritzy Sydney peninsula Palm Beach. Joining them are longtime couples Leo (Sam Neill) and
See full article at Variety »

Australian films May Bo scorecard: Modest tally but very bright outlook

‘2040’.

Five months into the year, 18 Australian films and feature docs released in cinemas since the start of the year, plus holdovers, have racked up a modest $14.3 million.

That compares with $37.6 million generated in the same period last year, led by Peter Rabbit’s $26.4 million, Breath’s $3.6 million in four weeks (finishing with $4.6 million) and Sweet Country’s $2 million.

Shawn Seet’s Storm Boy is the top title with nearly $5 million, a creditable result. But almost certainly that would have been rather higher if Sony Pictures had been able to use Geoffrey Rush in the publicity campaign.

Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding has grossed $4.7 million through Sunday, its sixth weekend, and could finish with $5.5 million.

Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai collected $3.3 million, knee-capped by the dreadful co-incidence of opening on the same weekend as the Christchurch massacre.

Damon Gameau’s 2040 has earned $568,000 after its second weekend and, buoyed by word-of-mouth, distributor
See full article at IF.com.au »

‘Acute Misfortune’ director Thomas M. Wright is a man of many parts

Thomas M. Wright.

Thomas M. Wright cheerfully acknowledges he is far better known in the Us and the UK than in his native Australia.

That’s because the character actor, who made his feature writing and directing debut on Acute Misfortune, has worked predominantly in international TV series and movies in the past six years.

Wright flies to Quebec next month for his next acting gig, a recurring role in Barskins, a National Geographic drama series based on the Annie Proulx novel about a group of outcasts living in New France — the part of North America controlled by the French — in the 16th century.

That will be his third Us series following Wgn America’s Outsiders and FX network’s The Bridge, and his first acting gig since he played racist station owner Mick Kennedy in Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country.

Wright is not complaining about his relatively low profile
See full article at IF.com.au »

Thornton, Perkins, Walker win at Adg Awards

Warwick Thornton and Sam Neill on the set of ‘Sweet Country’.

Warwick Thornton took home the top gong at last night’s Australian Directors’ Guild (Adg) Awards for outback Western Sweet Country.

It joins a slew of other prizes for the film, which follows an Aboriginal stockman who a kills white station owner in self-defence, including the Venice Film Festival Special Jury Prize, the Toronto International Film Festival Platform Prize, and six Aacta Awards, including Best Film and Best Direction.

Competing against Thornton for Best Direction in a Feature Film (budget $1 million or over) were Joel Edgerton for Boy Erased, Anthony Maras for Hotel Mumbai, and Garth Davis for Mary Magdelene.

The Adg Awards were held at Sydney’s City Recital Hall, with presenters including Rachel Griffiths, Claudia Karvan, Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward.

This year also saw the guild divide the feature film category for the first time, introducing
See full article at IF.com.au »

Australian films’ April Bo scorecard: Quiet start but bright prospects

‘Top End Wedding’.

It’s been a quiet start for the year for Australian films at the national box office, particularly compared to last year when Peter Rabbit and Sweet Country were drawing crowds.

However exhibitors are very optimistic about the outlook for the rest of the year, including Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding which opened yesterday, Rachel Ward’s Palm Beach and Kriv StendersDanger Close: The Battle of Long Tan (both August 8) and Rachel GriffithsRide Like a Girl (September 26).

Ten new releases plus holdovers collectively racked up $9.06 million through April 30, according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia.

That’s way below the first four months of 2018, which generated $32 million, with Will Gluck’s Peter Rabbit making $25.4 million en route to a final total of $26.7 million and Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country $2 million.

Shawn Seet’s Storm Boy pocketed nearly $5 million, not a bad result,
See full article at IF.com.au »

Presenters named for Australian Directors’ Guild Awards

Rachel Griffiths, Claudia Karvan, Rachel Ward, Bryan Brown, Leah Purcell and Tracy Mann will be the presenters at the Australian Directors’ Guild Awards in Sydney on Monday May 6.

Writers-directors-performers Eliza Reilly and Hannah Reilly will host the awards at the City Recital Hall.

Warwick Thornton (Sweet Country), Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased), Garth Davis (Mary Magdalene) and Anthony Maras (Hotel Mumbai) will compete for best direction in a feature film budgeted at $1 million and above.

In the new category of best direction in a feature budgeted below $1 million, the nominees are Christopher Kay (Just Between Us), Donna McRae (Lost Gully Road), Dustin Feneley (Stray) and Jason Perini (Chasing Comets).

The awards cover the breadth of screen directing with categories across feature film, documentary, television, subscription VOD, commercial, short film, animation, online, music video and interactive media.

For the full list of nominees go here.

The post Presenters named for Australian Directors
See full article at IF.com.au »

‘2040’, ‘Escape and Evasion’ to headline Gold Coast Film Festival

‘Escape and Evasion’.

The Gold Coast Film Festival will open in early April with the Australian premiere of Damon Gameau’s 2040, and close with the world premiere of Storm Ashwood’s war film Escape and Evasion.

Good Thing Productions’ 2040 comes to the festival from its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it screened as part of the Kplus section of the Generation program. Gameau will walk the red carpet, and the screening will be followed by a Q&A.

Escape and Evasion, produced by Blake Northfield for Bronte Pictures, was filmed on the Gold Coast in the Currumbin Valley. It explores the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on a lone surviving soldier.

The Gold Coast Film Festival will this year screen some 107 films over 12 days, with three world premieres and 10 Australian premieres.

Among the other world premieres are Caitlin Farrugia and Michael Jones’ comedy drama Maybe Tomorrow,
See full article at IF.com.au »

Dylan River looks to capture culture and history in ‘Tales by Light’

Dylan River in ‘Tales by Light’.

When Tales By Light director/producer Abraham Joffe first got in contact with Indigenous director and cinematographer Dylan River to ask if he would be involved with the show, River initially thought he wanted him to shoot it.

However, the Tales By Light team wanted River in front of the camera; he is the subject of one of the episodes of season three, which launched on Netflix Australia this week after a run on Network 10 last year.

Tales By Light, backed by Canon Australia, profiles photographers. In addition to River, season three includes Simon Lister, who goes to Dhaka, Bangladesh with Unicef Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom to capture the lives of children residing in slums, and conservationist Shawn Heinrichs who travels to Mexico and Indonesia to share footage of human impact on marine life in our oceans.

While being in front of the camera was weird initially,
See full article at IF.com.au »

Bunya plans a sequel to ‘Sweet Country’

Warwick Thornton and Sam Neill on the set of ‘Sweet Country.’

While movie sequels are relatively rare in Australia, the producers of Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country are convinced they have a new, compelling story which is worth telling.

Currently being scripted, the follow-up will look at events from the perspective of the mother of scrappy child labourer Philomac, played in the original by twins Tremayne and Trevon Doolan.

Philomac and old Aboriginal hand Archie (Gibson John) are sent by farmer Mick Kennedy (Thomas M. Wright) to work for Harry March (Ewen Leslie), who chains the boy to a rock on suspicion of stealing his watch. Philomac frees himself and March heads in pursuit, leading to a violent confrontation.

Sweet Country was really the story of Sam (Hamilton Morris) and Philomac,” Bunya ProductionsDavid Jowsey, who produced with Greer Simpkin, tells If. “Philomac has a sister and a mother, which
See full article at IF.com.au »

Rotten Tomatoes Names ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Roma’ the Best Reviewed Films of 2018 — Golden Tomato Awards

Rotten Tomatoes has announced its winners for the 2018 Golden Tomato Awards, spotlighting the movies that earned the most critical acclaim throughout last year. Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” which is on track to become the first superhero blockbuster to earn a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars, topped the Wide Release category by earning an incredible 97% from 447 reviews. Best Picture rival “Roma,” from writer-director Alfonso Cuarón, placed first in the Limited Release category with a 96% from 312 reviews.

The winners for the Golden Tomato Awards are based not just on the score of each film but also on the amount of reviews counted. Many people will note that Debra Granik’s beloved Sundance drama “Leave No Trace” ended 2018 with a rare 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. The reason “Leave No Trace” did not top the Limited Release category is because its score was based on 207 reviews (still a remarkable achievement), compared to “Roma
See full article at Indiewire »

Sandra Bullock’s Holiday Surprise for the ‘Bird Box’ Cast and Crew

  • Variety
Just call her Santa Claus!

Sandra Bullock surprised the cast and crew of “Bird Box” with a holiday celebration while they were filming the hit thriller at the end of 2017.

“I’m in shock by how organized Sandy is,” co-star Danielle Macdonald tells Variety. “Because we were filming it towards Christmas a year ago, she had like this little set up in the house of all the different traditions for different religions, and everyone could put their own tradition in. She had gifts for all of us. I was like ‘How are you this prepared?'”

“And then she had her kids, and they were all taken care of,” she continued. “I was like, ‘You woke up this morning and took your kids to school and now you’re at work all day, and you’re the lead of this movie, you’re in every frame!’ I don’t know how she did it,
See full article at Variety »
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