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24 01 2023 - Media release

Eight Australian projects bound for Berlinale 2023 with two films in Main Competition

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Simon Baker in Limbo © Bunya Productions

Seven new Australian works have been selected for the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival including Ivan Sen’s Limbo and Rolf de Heer’s The Survival of Kindness which will both premiere in Competition. Also selected are drama series Bad Behaviour directed by Corrie Chen; features Hello Dankness from Soda Jerk, Jub Clerc’s Sweet As and Talk to Me from directors Danny and Michael Philippou; and short film Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black).

Australian classic Muriel’s Wedding will screen in the Retrospective program at the festival, which runs from 16 – 26 February 2023.

Screen Australia’s CEO Graeme Mason said, “It’s a real coup for Australia to have such strong representation across a range of categories at this prestigious festival, including new features, episodic drama, short film, and a retrospective. This is evidence of the wide scope of Australian filmmaking talent and the demand for our diverse stories in the international market. It’s the first time an Australian film has been featured in Competition since 2006 and it’s fantastic to have two selected this year.”

“We’re proud to see two feature directorial debuts already gaining fantastic international traction - YouTube sensation RackaRacka with Talk To Me and Sweet As from Jub Clerc – alongside drama series Bad Behaviour which continues a track record of high quality Australian television dramas launching at Berlin. A huge congratulations to all of the teams,” Mason continued.

Ivan Sen’s desert noir Limbo, produced by Bunya Productions and starring Simon Baker, will make its world premiere in Competition. Sen’s first feature film Beneath Clouds screened in Competition in 2002 where it won the Premiere First Movie Award.

Also returning to Berlin is director Rolf de Heer with feature film The Survival of Kindness making its international premiere in Competition. This is de Heer’s second invitation to the Main Competition after Alexandra’s Project in 2003, and his Cannes-winning Ten Canoes (2006) was celebrated at Berlin in 2013.

Four-part drama series Bad Behaviour, set to debut next month on Stan in Australia, will make its international premiere in Berlinale Series. Based on the book by Rebecca Starford, the series is written by Pip Karmel and Magda Wozniak, produced by Amanda Higgs and directed by Corrie Chen.

Creative duo Soda Jerk’s feature Hello Dankness will make its international premiere in the Panorama section after debuting at Adelaide Film Festival last year.

Talk To Me is the debut feature from internet sensation RackaRacka, Danny and Michael Philippou, and produced by Causeway Films’ Samantha Jennings and Kristina Ceyton. The film will make its European premiere in Berlinale Special after its international premiere at Sundance Film Festival this month. It has also been selected for South by Southwest Film Festival 2023.

Nyul Nyul/Yawuru director Jub Clerc’s debut feature, Sweet As, will make its European premiere in the Generation KPlus section after screening at Toronto International Film Festival last year where it won the NETPAC Award for Best Feature Film from the Asia-Pacific Region. Sweet As, produced by Liz Kearney for Arenamedia, also took home the Innovation Award at Melbourne International Film Festival 2022.

Short film Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) from writer/directors Matthew Thorne and Derik Lynch will screen as part of Berlinale Shorts.

Cate Blanchett will attend the festival for her new film TAR premiering in Berlinale Special, and she will also speak as part of the Berlinale Talents program. Participating in Berlinale Talents this year are Australian actor Eliza Scanlen (Babyteeth) in the Directing discipline, and Australian Nisa East in the Cinematography discipline.

A history of Australian titles at Berlin Film Festival is available here.

Australian projects at Berlinale 2023:

LIMBO

World Premiere, Main Competition
Bunya Productions
Writer/Director/DOP:
Ivan Sen
Producers: David Jowsey, Rachel Higgins, Greer Simpkin, Ivan Sen
Executive Producers: Simon Baker, Cecilia Ritchie, David Chiem
Australian Distributor: Dark Matter Distribution
International Sales: Dark Matter
Synopsis: Detective Travis Hurley arrives in a small Australian outback town to investigate a 20-year-old unsolved murder of a local Aboriginal girl. Forming bonds with the victim’s fractured family, Travis unravels a series of hard truths, highlighting the complexities of loss and injustice experienced by First Nations Australians.
Production credit: Limbo is presented by the ABC and Screen Queensland in association with Windalong Films and the South Australian Film Corporation.
Media contact: Tracey Mair Publicity

THE SURVIVAL OF KINDNESS

International Premiere, Main Competition
Vertigo Productions and Triptych Pictures
Writer/Director: Rolf de Heer
Producers: Rolf de Heer, Julie Byrne
Co-Producer: Ari Harrison
Executive Producers: Sue Murray, Bryce Menzies, Molly Reynolds, Domenico Procacci
Australian Distributor: Umbrella Entertainment
International Sales: Fandango SPA
Synopsis: The Survival of Kindness is a film inimitably of its time – an allegorical tale of race and inequality, it is an exquisite, thought-provoking and immersive journey from the distinctive lens of Rolf de Heer.
Production credit: Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the South Australian Film Corporation and Adelaide Film Festival. Financed with support from Screen Tasmania.
Media contact: ABCG Film - Cathy Gallagher, 0416 227 282

BAD BEHAVIOUR

International Premiere, Berlinale Series
Matchbox Pictures
Director: Corrie Chen
Writers: Pip Karmel, Magda Wozniak
Producer: Amanda Higgs
Executive Producers: Debbie Lee, Alastair McKinnon, Amanda Duthie, Cailah Scobie
Australian Distributor: Stan
International Sales: NBC Universal International Television Distribution
Synopsis: Bad Behaviour is a four-part visceral ride into the epicentre of our teenage experience where the question is, to bully or be bullied, in the unrelenting struggle for acceptance and social power.
Production credit: Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Stan. Developed and produced with support from VicScreen.
Australian media contact: Asha Holmes 
International media contact: Isabel Moore

HELLO DANKNESS

International Premiere, Panorama
Soda Jerk
Directors:
Soda Jerk
Synopsis: Comprised entirely of hundreds of pirated film samples, Hello Dankness is a bent suburban musical that bears witness to the psychotropic cultural spectacle of the period 2016 to 2021. Set in the American suburbs, the film follows a neighbourhood through these years as consensus reality disintegrates into conspiracies and other political contagions. Part political satire, zombie stoner film, and Greek tragedy, the work is also informed by the encrypted memetics of contemporary internet culture.
Production credit: Produced with assistance from Adelaide Film Festival, Australia Council for the Arts and Samstag Museum of Art.
Media contact: [email protected]

TALK TO ME

European Premiere, Berlinale Special
Causeway Films
Directors: 
Danny Philippou & Michael Philippou
Writers: Danny Philippou, Bill Hinzman
Producers: Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton
Australian Distributor: Maslow Umbrella 387 Entertainment
International Sales: Bankside Films
Synopsis: When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and opens the door to the spirit world forcing them to choose who to trust: the dead or the living.
Production credit: Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the South Australian Film Corporation, and financed with support from the Adelaide Film Festival, KOJO Studios, Head Gear Films and Hold Standard.
Media contact: Samantha Jennings

SWEET AS

European Premiere, KPlus
Arenamedia
Director:
Jub Clerc
Writers: Jub Clerc, Steve Rodgers 
Producer: Liz Kearney
Executive Producers: Robert Connolly, Robert Patterson
Australian Distributor: Roadshow Films
International Sales: Sphere Films
Synopsis: The debut feature from writer/director Jub Clerc, inspired by her own experience, Sweet As is a coming of age road movie seen through the eyes of Murra, a 16-year old Indigenous girl from Port Hedland in Western Australia.
Media contact: Asha Holmes 

MARUNGKA TJALATJUNU (DIPPED IN BLACK)

International Premiere, Berlinale Shorts
Writers/Directors: Matthew Thorne, Derik Lynch
Producers: Matthew Thorne, Patrick Graham
Synopsis: Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) follows Yankunytjatjara man Derik Lynch's road trip back to Country for spiritual healing, as memories from his childhood return. A journey from the oppression of white city life in Adelaide, back home to his remote Anangu community (Aputula) to perform on sacred Inma ground. Inma is a traditional form of storytelling using the visual, verbal, and physical. It is how Anangu Tjukurpa (myths) have been passed down for over 60,000+ years from generation to generation.
Production credit: Financed with assistance from Other Pictures, Switch Productions, the South Australian Film Corporation, Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund and Pool Collective.
Media contact: Matthew Thorne


Bad Behaviour (Photo: Sarah Enticknap)

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