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20 04 2023 - Media release

Warwick Thornton Returns to Cannes Film Festival with The New Boy


Cate Blanchett as Sister Eileen and Aswan Reid as New Boy in The New Boy (Image by Ben King)

Award-winning First Nations filmmaker, Warwick Thornton’s spiritual drama The New Boy has been selected for this years’ Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard program.

This is the second film from Thornton to appear at the festival, after winning the Caméra d'Or Award for Samson & Delilah in 2009.

The New Boy stars Cate Blanchett, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair, and newcomer Aswan Reid in the titular role. An ensemble of new faces, including Shane Brady, Tyrique Brady, Laiken Woolmington, Kailem Miller, Kyle Miller, Tyzailin Roderick and Tyler Spencer, round out the cast.

Set in 1940s Australia, The New Boy is the story of a nine-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy (Reid) who arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery, run by a renegade nun (Blanchett), where his presence disturbs the delicately balanced world in this story of spiritual struggle and the cost of survival.

The New Boy was filmed in South Australia, with major production funding from Screen Australia’s First Nations Department. The film is produced by Kath Shelper for Scarlett Pictures, Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and co-producer Georgie Pym for Dirty Films, and Lorenzo De Maio (of De Maio Entertainment), with Coco Francini serving as executive producer for Dirty Films alongside Gretel Packer for Longbridge Nominees.

Joel Pearlman, CEO of Roadshow Films said “Warwick Thornton is one of Australia’s most celebrated filmmakers and his return to Cannes for Un Certain Regard with his extraordinary film is incredibly exciting. This unique Australian film will captivate audiences globally and Roadshow Films is very proud to be releasing the film to Australian audiences.”

Screen Australia’s Head of First Nations, Angela Bates said, “I am thrilled Warwick Thornton’s Film The New Boy has been selected for Cannes Un Certain Regard. It’s one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world and it’s fantastic to see Warwick return. He is a creative genius whose auteurial voice creates conversation, and this film is no different. Warwick is also known for discovering new talent such as Aswan Reid, who shines as New Boy alongside Deborah Mailman, Cate Blanchett, and Wayne Blair in this exquisite and thought-provoking film.”

The First Nations Department first backed the project in development over several years.

Thornton is one of Australia’s most celebrated filmmakers, most notably for his critically acclaimed Sweet Country, for which he won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival and the Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017; and Samson & Delilah, for which he won the Caméra d’Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Both films won the AACTA Award for Best Film. His authentic lens highlights him as one of cinema’s most treasured voices.

Production credit: Major production investment from Screen Australia’s First Nations Department in association with Screen NSW and the South Australian Film Corporation. Roadshow Films is handling distribution in Australia and New Zealand. CAA Media Finance and UTA are handling sales for North America and The Veterans are on board to manage sales for the remainder of the globe.


Stefan Sgarioto, Publicist – Roadshow Films – Australia / New Zealand | +61 435 765 288

Johnathon Mercuri, PR & Partnerships Executive – Roadshow Films – Australia / New Zealand | +61 3 9829 0660

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