Six Australian projects selected for Sundance Film Festival

Six Australian projects selected for Sundance

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Six Australian projects have been invited to screen at the renowned Sundance Film Festival in 2015. South Australian Closer Productions’ Sam Klemke’s Time Machine will have its world premiere in the New Frontier Film section and Oscar Raby’s Assent will screen in the New Frontier Installations section. Two short films, Kitty Green’s The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul and Tim Marshall’s Followers, will premiere to the world in the Sundance Shorts Competition.

Previously announced feature films, Kim Farrant’s Strangerland (Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving) and Ariel Kleiman’s Partisan (Vincent Cassel) will screen in competition in the World Cinema Dramatic program.

CEO of Screen Australia, Graeme Mason, said, “It is a great honour to have six of our skilful filmmakers recognised by the leading indie film festival in the world. Having their work premiere at such a highly competitive festival is a fantastic opportunity for these filmmakers to showcase their talent. It is particularly special to have such an eclectic range of Australian projects invited to the festival, from shorts to feature films, to feature and immersive documentaries – this demonstrates the breadth of remarkable projects Australia produces.”

Sam Klemke’s Time Machine is about an obsessive filmmaker, Sam Klemke, who in 1977, aged 17, set out to record himself every year until his death. Sam filmed and narrated 50 years of his life, creating a strange and intimate portrait of what it means to be human. The film was written and directed by Matthew Bate, previous Sundance Film Festival winner for his short film Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure, and produced by Rebecca Summerton.

Award-winning Assent is an immersive documentary using virtual reality technology to put the user in the footsteps of director Oscar Raby’s father, who in 1973, was a 22-year-old army officer stationed in the north of Chile, on the day when the Caravan of Death came to his regiment. The film screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and won the Audience Cross-Platform Award at Sheffield International Documentary Festival this year. The project was written, directed and produced by Oscar Raby.

The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul comes from the filmmakers of award-winning documentary Ukraine is Not a Brothel. The short film was written and directed by Kitty Green and produced by Kitty Green, Philippa Campey and Michael Latham. The film, set in divided and war-torn Ukraine, tells the story of little girls adorned in pink sequins auditioning to play the role of gold medal–winning figure skater Oksana Baiul – whose tears of joy once united their troubled country.

The Australian/UK dark-comedy drama, Followers, is about an elderly woman who sees a vision of Jesus by way of a young African man at her swimming class, and befriends him, believing God has sent him to free her from the loneliness. The short film was written and directed by Tim Marshall and produced by Christina Radburn and Grant Vidgen. Marshall partly funded the film with the money he received from the Iris Prize Festival in the UK for his winning short, Gorilla.

Screen Australia supported Partisan, Strangerland, Sam Klemke’s Time Machine and The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul through development and or production funding.

The Australian contingent will also be represented by Margot Robbie in Z for Zachariah, Guy Pearce in Results, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn in Slow West with producer Emile Sherman, and Toni Collette in Glassland.

The annual Sundance Film Festival is part of the Sundance Institute founded by Robert Redford in 1981. The festival is internationally recognised for its discovery and support of independent films from around the world. It has showcased many Australian films including Young Love, Deeper Than Yesterday, The Babadook, 52 Tuesdays, Top of the Lake, Wish You Were Here, The Square, Mad Bastards, Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure, Bran Nue Dae and Animal Kingdom.

The Sundance Film Festival will take place 22 January – 1 February 2015.


World premiere
Dragonfly Pictures and Fastnet Films
Co-finance/Executive Producers Worldview Entertainment
Producers Naomi Wenck, Macdara Kelleher
Executive Producers Molly Conners, Maria Cestone, Sarah E Johnson, Adriana L Randall, Bryce Menzies, Andrew Mackie, Richard Payten
Story by Fiona Seres
Screenplay Fiona Seres, Michael Kinirons
Director Kim Farrant
Cast Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving, Lisa Flanagan, Meyne Wyatt, Maddison Brown, Nicholas Hamilton
International Sales Wild Bunch
US Sales CAA/Worldview
Australian Distributor Transmission
Synopsis When Catherine and Matthew Parker’s two teenage children disappear into the remote Australian desert, their relationship is pushed to the brink as they confront the mystery of their children’s fate.

World premiere
Warp Films Australia Pty Ltd
Producers Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw
Director Ariel Kleiman
Writers Ariel Kleiman, Sarah Cyngler
Australian Distributor Madman Entertainment
International Sales Protagonist Pictures
US Sales Protagonist Pictures and UTA
Synopsis A confronting tale about Alexander who, raised to see the world through Gregori’s eyes, is starting to think for himself.


World premiere
Closer Productions
Producer Rebecca Summerton
Writer/Director Matthew Bate
International Sales Visit Films
US Sales Visit Films
Australian Distributor Closer Screens
Synopsis In 1977, teenager Sam Klemke began a project to obsessively film and narrate every year of his life in an attempt to understand himself. Also in 1977, NASA sent into space the Golden Record: an audiovisual self-portrait of humanity that would allow extraterrestrials to understand who we are. Although travelling parallel through time, these two self-portraits tell very different sides of the human story. Sam Klemke’s Time Machine moves us from the infinity of space to the raw intimacy of the life of an extraordinary nobody to look at what it means to be human.

Centre for Animation and Interactive Media, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
Writer/Director/Producer Oscar Raby
International Sales Katy Morrison
Synopsis In Chile, 1973, my father witnessed the execution of a group of prisoners captured by the military regime – an army that he was himself a part of. Using virtual reality, Assent puts the user in my father’s boots as we walk to the place where that happened. An immersive documentary experience that plays out in the virtual past.


World premiere
Film Camp Pty Ltd
Producers Kitty Green, Philippa Campey, Michael Latham
Writer/Director Kitty Green
International Sales Film Camp Pty Ltd
Synopsis Adorned in pink sequins, little girls from across a divided, war-torn Ukraine audition to play the role of gold medal–winning figure skater Oksana Baiul, whose tears of joy once united their troubled country.

World premiere
aSymmetry Film/Christina Radburn/The Festivals Company
Producers Christina Radburn, Grant Vidgen
Executive Producer Berwyn Rowlands
Writer/Director Tim Marshall
International & US Sales Christina Radburn, Grant Vidgen
Synopsis When an elderly woman sees a vision of Jesus on the shorts of a young African man at her swimming class, she befriends him, believing God has sent him to free her from her loneliness. Followers is a dark-comedy drama about faith and loneliness, and how the two intertwine.

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