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South Australian made film The New Boy dazzles critics at Cannes

24 May 2023
Deborah Mailman, Aswan Reid, Cate Blanchett, Warwick Thornton and Wayne Blair at Cannes 2023 for The New Boy, photo via Cannes Film Festival Facebook
Deborah Mailman, Aswan Reid, Cate Blanchett, Warwick Thornton and Wayne Blair at Cannes Film Festival 2023 for The New Boy, photo via Cannes Film Festival.

Warwick Thornton‘s new South Australian made and SAFC supported feature film The New Boy has dazzled the critics at Cannes with its world premiere in the festival’s Un Certain Regard program.

Filmed in Burra, in regional South Australia, last year, The New Boy stars Cate Blanchett and newcomer Aswan Reid alongside Deborah Mailman and Wayne Blair with an ensemble of new faces including Shane Brady, Tyrique Brady, Laiken Woolmington, Kailem Miller, Kyle Miller, Tyzailin Roderick and Tyler Spencer.

Set in 1940s Australia, it tells 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 a story of spiritual struggle and the cost of survival.

“An ambitious, visually lustrous fable.”


“Warwick Thornton’s command of visual storytelling has possibly never been as striking as it is in the rural setting of The New Boy. The visual power of Thornton’s gorgeous compositions — in the monastery’s chiaroscuro interiors as well as the sprawling landscapes in the northern part of South Australia, near the former mining town, Burra — remains transfixing.”

The Hollywood Reporter

“Warwick Thornton is a master maker of images,”


“A sweeping and poetic portrait of stifled faith and the threat of monopoly on religion… A breakout turn from Aswan Reid, almost completely silent but beguiling,”


“Evocative and beautifully atmospheric… complex, spiritual and surpassingly unsettling,”

The Wrap

Written and directed by Warwick Thornton, The New Boy is produced by Kath Shelper for Scarlett PicturesCate BlanchettAndrew 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.

The prestigious festival honour for The New Boy continues an impressive year for South Australian made and SAFC supported films at international festivals with The Survival of Kindness and Limbo premiering in Competition at the Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival in February as the first Australian films in Competition since 2006, alongside Talk to Me, and short film Marungka Tjalatjunu/Dipped in Black which won the Teddy Award. Talk to Me and Run Rabbit Run were selected for the Sundance Film Festival (19-29 January, Utah, US); and Monolith and Talk to Me were selected for South by Southwest – SXSW (10-19 March, Austin, US).

The New Boy is the second South Australian made film to be selected for Cannes in as many years, after See-Saw Films’ The Stranger starring Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris received standing ovations in the festival’s Un Certain Regard program in 2022.

The New Boy has major production investment from Screen Australia’s First Nations Department in association with Screen NSW and the SAFC. Roadshow Films is handling distribution in Australia and New Zealand.

It will open the Sydney Film Festival on 7 June ahead of an Australian theatrical release on 6 July.

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