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16 08 2019 - Media release

Six Australian projects selected for Toronto International Film Festival


Rachel Griffiths and Deborah Mailman in Black B*tch (working title). Photo credit John Platt.

Unjoo Moon’s Helen Reddy biopic I Am Woman will have its World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) alongside True History of the Kelly GangDirt Music and ABC drama Black B*tch (working title). Hearts and Bones and The Australian Dream will have their International Premiere.

TIFF, as well as being one of the world’s premiere film festivals, is an important event for Australian titles and talent with its significant industry and media presence, making it a crucial launching pad for the North American market.

Screen Australia’s CEO, Graeme Mason said, “This year’s TIFF contingent showcases some truly iconic Australian people and stories, including legendary musician Helen Reddy, sporting hero Adam Goodes, the notorious Ned Kelly and Tim Winton’s classic novel Dirt Music brought to the screen. Having a television series at TIFF is also a first for Australia, and speaks to the increasing international appeal of premium dramas like Black B*tch.”

“We’re particularly thrilled to see Unjoo Moon’s I Am Woman screening as the Special Presentations opening night film, which is a high honour for any production, and doubly impressive for a debut feature. Congratulations also to Ben Lawrence whose debut scripted feature Hearts and Bones has been selected to screen in the Discovery program.”

I Am Woman director Unjoo Moon said, “It was always my dream to premiere I Am Woman at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival. I am so thrilled that TIFF have not only selected our film but have also given it the honour of opening an incredible selection of films and filmmakers in their Special Presentations section this year. I can’t wait for people to embrace Helen and fall in love with her and her music all over again.”

Justin Kurzel, director of True History of the Kelly Gang said, “We are extremely excited to get everyone together again and watch the film at such a regarded festival as Toronto. There were so many extraordinary crew and cast who gave more than I could have ever wished for. That passion and love for what they did is something I am so proud of and thrilled the great festival audiences of Toronto will see their work."

Black B*tch (working title) director Rachel Perkins said, “You can be so immersed in the creative process of filmmaking that you become unsure of what you have at the end of it. News of our acceptance into Toronto, particularly given our television series is one of the few chosen from the world, was therefore a high point and a huge relief. Screening at Toronto is also special on a very personal level. It marks the 20th year of my collaboration with actress Deborah Mailman. My career has been built around her prodigious talent and I look forward to following our leading lady onto the red carpet.”

In addition to the films selected, Australian writer/director Charles Williams (All These Creatures) and director Jennifer Peedom (Mountain) are among 24 international practitioners to be invited to the TIFF Industry Filmmaker Lab.

Artistic Director and Co-Head of the festival, Cameron Bailey was in Australia earlier this year to connect with local creatives after long-time selector Jane Schoettle stepped down from the programming team.

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs from 5 – 15 September 2019.


  • For a history of Australia’s presence at TIFF click here

Australian projects at Toronto 2019

Black B*tch (working title)
6 x 50 mins
Blackfella Films Pty Ltd

Director: Rachel Perkins
Writers: Stuart Page, Pip Karmel, Angela Betzien, Kim Wilson, Rachel Perkins
Producers: Darren Dale, Miranda Dear
Executive Producers: Rachel Griffiths, Sally Riley, Kelrick Martin
Cast: Deborah Mailman, Rachel Griffiths, Harry Richardson
Australian Broadcaster: ABC
International Sales: Keshet International, Endeavor Content (US)
Synopsis: An unlikely national hero, Alex is catapulted into government in a cynical power play. Used, abandoned and underestimated, now she's on a path that will send the political establishment into meltdown.
Production Credit: Black B*tch (working title) is a Blackfella Films production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Create NSW with Screen Queensland and Screen Canberra.
TIFF: World Premiere, Primetime
Australian Media Contact: Yasmin Kentera, ABC TV Publicity [email protected]  
International Media Contact: Natalie Lee, Keshet International [email protected] 

Dirt Music
Aquarius Films Pty Ltd, Wildgaze Films
Gregor Jordan
Writer: Jack Thorne
Producers: Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey, Angie Fielder, Polly Staniford
Cast: Kelly MacDonald, Garrett Hedlund, David Wenham
Australian Distributor: Universal
International Sales: Cornerstone Films, US: 30WEST and Cornerstone Films
Synopsis: Dirt Music is a gritty, sexy drama with a haunting love story at its heart set against the powerful backdrop of Western Australia’s evocative landscape. Based on the Booker Prize shortlisted novel by Tim Winton.
Production Credit: Dirt Music is a Wildgaze Films and Aquarius Films production. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Film4. Financed with support from the West Australian Regional Film Fund (WARFF) and Screenwest with Ingenious Media.
TIFF: World Premiere, Special Presentations
Australian Media Contact: Fiona Nix [email protected]
International Media Contact: Scott Feinstein, 42 West [email protected]

Hearts and Bones
Night Kitchen Productions Pty Ltd
Ben Lawrence
Writers: Beatrix Christian, Ben Lawrence
Producer: Matt Reeder
Cast: Hugo Weaving, Andrew Luri
Australian Distributor: Madman
International Sales: Visit Films
Synopsis: A war photographer has just returned home to prepare for his latest exhibition when a South Sudanese refugee appears at his door with a request - that he not exhibit any photographs of the massacre in his village, taken 15 years earlier. What emerges is an unlikely friendship between the two men. While sifting through the photographer’s archive, they make a startling discovery – the refugee’s daughter, thought dead, may still be alive.  As more revelations arise, both men begin to question their past and in their search, they discover salvation.
Production Credit: Hearts and Bones is a Night Kitchen Production. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Create NSW and Spectrum Films. Financed with support from Lemac.
TIFF: International Premiere, Discovery
Australian Media Contact: Fiona Nix [email protected]
International Media Contact: Guillermo Restrepo [email protected]

I Am Woman
Goalpost Pictures Australia Pty Ltd
Unjoo Moon
Writer: Emma Jensen
Producers: Rosemary Blight, Unjoo Moon
Executive Producers: Kylie du Fresne, Ben Grant, Cass O’Connor, Tracey Mair
Cast: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Danielle Macdonald, Evan Peters, Chris Parnell
Australian & New Zealand Distributor: Transmission
International Sales: WestEnd Films
Synopsis: I Am Woman is the story behind the woman who wrote a song which galvanised a generation of women to fight for change.
Production Credit: I Am Woman is a Goalpost Pictures production in association with Deep Blue Pacific. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with WestEnd Films and Create NSW. Financed with support from the Goodship Women’s Fund.
TIFF: World Premiere, Special Presentations
Australian Media Contact: Tracey Mair Publicity [email protected]
International Media Contact: Erin Durkin [email protected], Asenath Nakayama Do [email protected]

The Australian Dream
Good Thing Productions Company Pty Ltd, Passion Pictures
Director: Daniel Gordon
Writer: Stan Grant
Producers: Nick Batzias, John Battsek, Sarah Thomson, Virginia Whitwell
Executive Producers: Paul Wiegard, Andrew Ruhemann
Australian Distributor: Madman Entertainment
International Sales: Lorton Entertainment
Synopsis: The Australian Dream is a theatrical feature documentary that uses the remarkable and inspirational story of AFL legend Adam Goodes as the prism through which to tell a deeper and more powerful story about race, identity and belonging.
Production Credit: The Australian Dream is an Australian-UK co-production between GoodThing Productions and Passion Pictures. Production investment from Screen Australia, Lorton Entertainment, ABC and Film Victoria.
TIFF: International Premiere, TIFF Docs
Australian Media Contact: Fiona Nix [email protected]
International Media Contact: Ryan Werner [email protected]

True History of the Kelly Gang
Porchlight Films Pty Ltd, Daybreak Pictures
Justin Kurzel
Writer: Shaun Grant
Producers: Hal Vogel, Liz Watts, Justin Kurzel, Paul Ranford
Cast: George MacKay, Essie Davis, Nicholas Hoult, Orlando Schwerdt, Thomasin McKenzie, Sean Keenan, Earl Cave, Marlon Williams, Louis Hewson, Charlie Hunman, Russell Crowe
Australian Distributor: Transmission Films
International Sales: Memento Films International
Synopsis: Inspired by Peter Carey’s Man Booker prize-winning novel, Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang shatters the mythology of the notorious icon to reveal the essence behind the life of Ned Kelly and force a country to stare back into the ashes of its brutal past. Spanning the younger years of Ned’s life to the time leading up to his death, the film explores the blurred boundaries between what is bad and what is good, and the motivations for the demise of its hero. Youth and tragedy collide in the Kelly Gang, and at the beating heart of this tale is the fractured and powerful love story between a mother and a son.
Production Credit: True History of the Kelly Gang is a Porchlight Films and Daybreak Pictures production. Major production investment from Screen Australia, La Cinefacture and Film4 in association with Film Victoria, Asia Film Investment Group and Memento Films International.
TIFF: World Premiere, Gala
Australian Media Contact: Rowen Smith [email protected], Amy Burgess [email protected]
International Media Contact: Ryan Werner [email protected]

Essie Davis and Orlando Schwerdt in True History Of The Kelly GangEssie Davis and Orlando Schwerdt in True History Of The Kelly Gang. Photo credit Ben King.

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