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South Australia Shines at Sundance, Berlin, SXSW International Film Festivals

24 January 2023
SA made and SAFC supported films L-R: Monolith, The Survival of Kindness, Run Rabbit Run, Marungka Tjalatjunu/Dipped in Black, Limbo, Talk To Me, images supplied.

South Australia’s screen industry is being recognised at the highest levels with six locally made films all supported by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) premiering at prestigious international film festivals in coming weeks.

South Australian made and SAFC supported feature films Talk to Me, Run Rabbit Run, The Survival of Kindness, Monolith and Limbo and short film Marungka Tjalatjunu/Dipped in Black have variously been selected for the official programs for three of the world’s biggest and most iconic film festivals: the Sundance Film Festival (19-29 January, Utah, US); the Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival (16-26 February, Berlin, Germany); and South by Southwest – SXSW (10-19 March, Austin, US).

Announced this morning, The Survival of Kindness and Limbo will both compete for the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlinale – the first time an Australian film has been featured in Competition since 2006.

The prestigious festival recognition follows the 2022 world premieres of SA made and SAFC supported horror Carnifex at the Sitges International Film Festival in Spain, and The Stranger at Cannes Film Festival.

Minister for the Arts Andrea Michaels said: “Congratulations to the teams behind all of these films, which are showcasing South Australian talent, stories and landscapes to audiences around the globe, and cementing our screen sector’s world class reputation among the highest levels of international industry. I commend the South Australian Film Corporation on continuing to drive such high levels of quality production in the state, with these films collectively creating nearly 500 South Australian jobs across extras, cast and crew and contributing more than $13.8 million to the state’s economy.”

SAFC CEO Kate Croser said: “This extraordinary level of international recognition for these South Australian films is a coup not just for the state’s screen industry but for the state as a whole. The South Australian Film Corporation is so proud to have supported the production of these incredible films. I congratulate all the creative teams behind these productions, and all the talented and highly skilled South Australian crew who worked on them, and look forward to their continued international success at these festivals and beyond.”

The SAFC supported films selected for international film festival programs are:

Announced this morning, Rolf de Heer’s The Survival of Kindness, shot in the Flinders Ranges, starring SA’s Mwajemi Hussein and produced by de Heer and SA’s Julie Byrne of Triptych Pictures will screen in Competition at the Berlinale next month – one of the “big three” annual international film festivals alongside Venice and Cannes. The film was also supported by the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund.

Also in Competition at the Berlinale will be Ivan Sen’s mystery thriller Limbo, which was shot in Coober Pedy and stars Simon Baker (The Mentalist), Rob Collins (Firebite), SA’s Natasha Wanganeen (Rabbit Proof Fence) and Nicholas Hope (Bad Boy Bubby), with SA’s Elaine Crombie as Associate Producer.

The Survival of Kindness and Limbo will compete among 18 films from around the world for the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlinale, with the International Jury led by President Kristen Stewart. The only Australian titles in Competition, they are the first Australian films invited to Main Competition at the Berlinale for 17 years.

SA made and SAFC-supported short Marungka Tjalatjunu/Dipped in Black will have its international premiere as part of the 2023 Berlinale Shorts program. The film from SA writers and directors Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne, and SA producers Patrick Graham and Duncan Graham, is nominated for the Golden Bear for Best Short Film and the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film). The film was funded under the SAFC, Adelaide Film Festival and Panavision Short Film Production Initiative.

Also selected for Berlin is the European Premiere of high-concept horror Talk to Me, the feature directorial debut of SA filmmaking brothers Danny and Michael Philippou, co-written by SA’s Bill Hinzman. Talk to Me’s international premiere in the Midnight selection of Sundance Film Festival over the weekend saw the film lauded as an “intense, nightmarish horror movie that’ll leave you breathless” (Bloody Disgusting) with “crowd pleasing scares and … some genuinely disturbing sequences” (Screen Daily). Following Berlin, the film will screen in the Midnighters program at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas in March. The film was supported by the SAFC and the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund.

Also making waves at Sundance over the weekend was Run Rabbit Run, which opened the prestigious Midnight Section, with industry bible Deadline calling the film “atmospheric” with “impressive” performances and “a poetic resonance that … makes for a nightmarish essay on … the isolation and travails that come with single parenthood”. The film, written by award-winning SA author Hannah Kent, and starring SA’s Sarah Snook and Damon Herriman was shot in Waikerie and the Riverland region of South Australia and will screen worldwide on Netflix in 2023 after the streaming giant announced it had acquired the rights to the film.

Joining Talk to Me at SXSW will be SA sci-fi thriller Monolith, the inaugural film from the SAFC and Adelaide Film Festival’s Film Lab: New Voices feature film development initiative. From the South Australian first-time filmmaking team of director Matt Vesely, writer Lucy Campbell and producer Bettina Hamilton, Monolith will have its international premiere as part of SXSW’s Midnighters program.

Expectations are high for more festival success after industry trade Screen International last week named two forthcoming SA-made films among the “Four Australian films to tempt festival directors in 2023” – Warwick Thornton’s The New Boy starring Cate Blanchett, and Kitty Green’s The Royal Hotel starring Julia Garner, which both shot in regional South Australia in 2022.


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