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14 01 2009 - Media release

Mary and Max to screen at Berlin Film Festival

Mary and Max will screen alongside five Australian shorts at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival in February.

Mary and Max, the animated feature by the Oscar® winning team of writer/director Adam Elliot and producer Melanie Coombs will screen as part of the 14plus Competition program of Generation. The film features the voices of internationally acclaimed actors Toni Collette as Mary and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Max. Mary and Max is to open the 2009 Sundance Film Festival on 15 January 2009.

Two short films are also featuring as part of the Generation 14plus program, Tomorrow (d: Simon Portus) and Summer Breaks (d: Sean Kruck). Tomorrow explores the story of Kristen and Laura as they discover a connection that runs deeper than their differences. Summer Breaks won the Rouben Mamoulian Award at the 20th annual Dendy Awards for Australian short films in 2008. It was recently selected for the 2009 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

The Generation Kplus section, a competition for feature and short films aimed at children from the age of four years and over, will screen Ali & the Ball (d: Alex Holmes), Netherland Dwarf  (d: David Michôd) and Jerrycan (d: Julius Avery).

Ali & the Ball is the story about life behind razor wire, told through the eyes of a child. The film has had much success domestically winning the 2008 Dendy Award for Best Short Fiction and was also selected for the 2008 Melbourne International Film Festival.

Netherland Dwarf will screen in Berlin following its outing in the shorts competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Jerrycan screens in Berlin following the film’s official selection at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Jury Prize – Short Film.

Films selected for the Generation section will compete for the Crystal Bear Awards, which are awarded to the best feature and short film in the Kplus and 14plus sections.  

The Berlin International Film Festival runs 5 – 15 February 2009. The complete program will be finalised by 27 January 2009.


Mary and Max
(92 mins)
Melodrama Pictures Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Mark Gooder, Paul Hardart, Tom Hardart, Bryce Menzies and Jonathan Page
Writer/Director Adam Elliot
Producer Melanie Coombs
Co-Executive Producers Iain Canning, Andrew Mackie, Richard Payten,
Associate Producer Pauline Piechota
Distributor Icon Films
International Sales Icon Entertainment International
Australian Broadcaster SBS Independent
Finance Screen Australia, Adirondack Pictures, Film Victoria, SBS
Cast Voices of Toni Collette (Mary), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Max), Eric Bana (Damien) and Barry Humphries (The Narrator)
Synopsis Mary and Max is a claymated feature film from the creators of the Academy Award® winning short animation Harvie Krumpet. It is a simple tale of pen-friendship between two very different people: Mary Dinkle, a chubby, lonely eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max Horovitz, a 44–year-old, severely obese, Jewish man with Asperger’s Syndrome living in the chaos of New York.
Spanning 20 years and two continents, Mary and Max’s friendship survives much more than the average diet of life’s ups and downs. Like Harvie Krumpet, Mary and Max is innocent but not naïve, as it takes us on a journey that explores friendship, autism, taxidermy, psychiatry, alcoholism, where babies come from, obesity, kleptomania, sexual difference, trust, copulating dogs, religious difference, agoraphobia and much, much more.


Ali & the Ball
(15 mins)
Panckhurst Productions Pty Ltd
Writer/Director Alex Holmes
Producer Helen Panckhurst
Cast Camilla Ah Kin, Ali Soummaka, Luci Hughes, Rayan El-Saghir
Synopsis Eight-year-old Ali lives in a refugee detention centre with his mother and little sister Fatima. When his mother’s precious knitting needles are confiscated, Ali is forced to take action. Desperate to save his family, he hatches a plan using a ball and the help of a girl on the other side of the razor-wire fence.

(13.5 mins)
Avery & Parkyn
Writer/Director Julius Avery
Producer Stuart Parkyn
Co-producer Matt Downey
Cast Tristan Burke, Walter Currie, Kyle Taylor, Nick Tomas and Dylan Thomas
Synopsis Five bored kids with nothing to do decide to blow something up. Paper, scissors, rock seals the fate of Nathan, who risks everything after he is bullied into making a life and death decision.

Netherland Dwarf
(15 mins)
Presented by Aquarius Films and Qoob
Writer/Director David Michôd
Producers Angie Fielder, Polly Staniford
Cast Jack Egan, Ewen Leslie, Mirrah Foulkes, Justin Rosniak
Synopsis Harry really wants a rabbit. Harry’s dad really wants his wife back. And somehow in the middle of all this wanting, they’ve forgotten that they already have each other.

Summer Breaks
(12 mins)
Production Company Colour In Pictures
Writer/Director Sean Kruck
Producer Caroline Barry
Cast Mia Wasikowska, Emily Wheaton, Jake Allen, Cash Weijers, Richard Wilson
Synopsis A day in the life of two teenage boys hanging out in the suburbs on a summer day.

(15 mins)
Swing Wing Pty Ltd
Writer/Director Simon Portus
Producer David Curzon
Cast Laura Davies, Leah Purcell
Synopsis Kirsten is a young teenager from a small country town. Laura is a businesswoman on her way to Brisbane. When their journeys coincide, Kirsten and Laura make a connection that runs deeper than their differences.

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