Australasian Cinema > 2019 features in date order of general release (if date known)
Storm Boy (Shawn Seet, 2019) wr. Justin Monjo, prod. Michael Boughen, Matthew Street; Geoffrey Rush, Jai Courtney; SA
Box office would have been negatively affected due to the inability to use Geoffrey Rush in publicity because of the 'scandal' in which he was involved at the time, but the film garnered nearly AU$5mill.
Themes of loss, grief and separation are pitched at just the right level to resonate with children and adults alike. Seet brings everything to a moving and meaningful conclusion with a lovely piece of magic realism. Richard Kuipers, Variety.
Safran’s film looked up to the skies, evoking the wonderful flying creature as a symbol of eternal beauty, its wings flapping in hearts and minds as much as in the universe. But in the new film, by literally creating a bust of the bird – as if a clump of stone or plaster could compare with the natural majesty of wings and feathers – the meaning has been accidentally inverted: a story about how something can never die becomes about how it will never live again. Luke Buckmaster.
5 February in USA; shown at Monster Fest, Australia, 24 November 2018
Pimped (David Barker, 2018) Ella Scott Lynch, Benedict Samuel, Heather Mitchell, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Robin Goldsworthy; thriller; festival release Aug18
Two twisted housemates lure an unbalanced woman into a sexual trap, with murderous results.
Combination: Redemption, The (David Field, 2019) wr. George Basha; Rahel Romahn, George Basha, Simon Elrahi, Neveen Hanna, George Papura, Troy Honeysett, Johnny Nasser, Brendan Donoghue, Tony Ryan; Lebanese culture in Sydney
Six years on and John is still haunted by the death of his younger brother. The choices he faces will push him to the edge like never before.
Hotel Mumbai (Anthony Maras, 2018) Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Tilda Cobham-Hervey; dramatisation of 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks on Taj Mahal hotel
The true story of the Taj Hotel terrorist attack in Mumbai. Hotel staff risk their lives to keep everyone safe as people make unthinkable sacrifices to protect themselves and their families.
The shootings in Christchurch, Friday 15 March 2019, would have had a negative effect on the box office, which was, nevertheless, AU$3.3mill.
Back of the Net (Louise Alston, 2109) wr. Alison Spuck McNeeley, Casie Tabanou; Sofia Wylie, Christopher Kirby, Melissa Bonne; family
A new student at a soccer academy is determined to beat her rival's team in the national tournament.
25 April; screened 3 August 2018 at MIFF
Celeste (Ben Hackworth, 2018) Radha Mitchell, Thomas Cocquerel, Nadine Garner, Odessa Young, Emm Wiseman; music drama
Celeste is a love story set in the tropical splendor of far north Queensland. It is a story of a family falling apart coming together again and their last chance to keep a decaying world alive. Celeste is a renowned opera diva who retired early for the man she loved to live on a crumbling and beautiful estate in the heart of a rainforest in Far North Queensland. Ten years after the tragic death of her husband Celeste is set to return to the stage for her final performance. Her stepson Jack, still haunted by the past, arrives amidst the preparations for the performance and finds Celeste is as he remembered. Celeste wants Jack to stay at the estate, but needs him to perform one last request. Celeste is set in a bohemian world of opera and showcases a stunning and unseen part of the world.
Top End Wedding (Wayne Blair, 2019) wr. Miranda Tapsell, Joshua Tyler; Gwilym Lee, Miranda Tapsell, Kerry Fox, Huw Higginson, Shari Sebbens, Ursula Yovich; comedy; released 2 May
Lauren and Ned are engaged, and they have just ten days to reunite her parents for their dream wedding - which actually takes place in Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island - so it's really Wurrumiyanga Wedding.
Me and My Left Brain (Alexandros Lykos, 2018) wr. Alexandros Lykos, prod. Alexandros Lykos; Alexandros Lykos, Rachael Beck, Mal Kennard, Chantelle Barry, Janette Patricia Lakiss Condylis, Natalia Ladyko; comedy
What happens when you are in love with someone, you don't know how they feel about you, you have a job interview in the morning...and you cannot sleep?
Acute Misfortune (Thomas M. Wright, 2018) wr. Erik Jensen, Thomas M. Wright; Daniel Henshall, Toby Wallace, Gillian Jones, Geneviève Lemon
The film adaptation of Erik Jensen's award-winning biography of Adam Cullen is the story of the biographer and his subject, as it descends into a dependent and abusive relationship.
2040 (Damon Gameau, 2019) wr. Damon Gameau; Damon Gameau, Zoë Gameau, Eva Lazzaro
Practical solutions to environmental concerns are addressed with the hope that the filmmaker's daughter, 21 years old in the year 2040, will face a hopeful future.
2040 is an innovative feature documentary that looks to the future, but is vitally important now. Award-winning director Damon Gameau embarks on journey to explore what the future would look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary footage with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board for his daughter and the planet.
Bilched (Jeremy Cumpston, 2019) wr. Hal Cumpston; Hal Cumpston, Frederick Du Rietz, Mitzi Ruhlmann; filmed Tamarama; released 23 May
It is sleepy anti-hero Hal's final days of year 12, and the normally studious and responsible elder sibling of a one-parent family has been granted the chance to finally let his hair down.
(no general release? only screened at Sydney FF and Busan FF?)
Pulse (Stevie Cruz-Martin, 2017) wr. Daniel Monks; Caroline Brazier, Daniel Monks, Scott Lee; fantasy
How much do our bodies shape who we are? Where is the line between compromising for love and changing yourself for love? Why do we fall in love with the people we fall in love with? A gay disabled teenage boy changes into the body of a beautiful woman, so that he can make his straight best friend fall in love with him.
I Am Mother (Grant Sputore, 2018) wr. Michael Lloyd Green, prod. Kelvin Munro, Timothy White; Rose Byrne, Hilary Swank, Clara Rugaard; scifi
A teenage girl (Rugaard) is raised underground by a kindly robot 'Mother' (Byrne's voice) - designed to repopulate the earth following the extinction of humankind. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger (Swank) arrives with alarming news.
Danger Close: the Battle of Long Tan (Kriv Stenders, 2019) wr. Paul Sullivan, Karel Segers, Jack Brislee, James Nicholas; Travis Fimmel, Richard Roxburgh, Nicholas Hamilton; Vietnam War
Late afternoon August 18, 1966 South Vietnam - for three and a half hours, in the pouring rain, amid the mud and shattered trees of a rubber plantation called Long Tan, Major Harry Smith and his dispersed company of 108 young and mostly inexperienced Australian and New Zealand soldiers are fighting for their lives, holding off an overwhelming enemy force of 2,500 battle hardened Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers. With their ammunition running out, their casualties mounting and the enemy massing for a final assault each man begins to search for his own answer - and the strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honour, decency and courage.
Palm Beach (Rachel Ward, 2019) prod. Bryan Brown, Deb Balderstone, wr. Joanna Murray-Smith, Rachel Ward; Richard E. Grant, Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Greta Scacchi, Jacqueline McKenzie, Claire van der Boom, Aaron Jeffrey, Heather Mitchell, Matilda Brown, Frances Berry, Charlie Vickers; dramedy; released 8 August
Lifelong friends reunite for a party at Sydney's Palm Beach.
Nightingale, The (Jennifer Kent, 2018) wr. Jennifer Kent, prod. Kristina Ceyton, Bruna Papandrea, Steve Hutensky; Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr, Damon Herriman, Harry Greenwood; drama set Tasmania 1829; screened VeniceFF 6Sept18, AdelaideFF 13Oct18, and SydneyFF 9 Jun19; released 29Aug19
Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.
Naked Wanderer, The (Alan Lindsay, 2019) wr. Callan Durlik; Angus McLaren, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, John Cleese; WA; released 5Sept
Dumped by his girlfriend and sponsored by media scoundrel Brian King, desolate Jake walks all-but-naked up Western Australia's coast for charity, in the hope his gesture will win back Jasmine, until he meets mesmerizing backpacker Valerie.
Angel of Mine (Kim Farrant, 2019) wr. Luke Davies, David Regal, prod. Su Armstrong, Brian Etting, Josh Etting, dp Andrew Commis; Yvonne Strahovski, Luke Evans, Noomi Rapace; psych thriller; released 5Sept
A woman grieving over the death of her daughter loses grip of reality when she begins to think her girl may still be alive.
Emu Runner (Imogen Thomas, 2018) wr. Imogen Thomas; Rhae-Kye Waites, Stella Carter, Mary Waites; TorontoIFF 7Sep18, AdelaideFF 14Oct18; released 7Sept2019
Emu Runner is a lyrical story about the impact a mother's death has on an Aboriginal family living in an isolated community, which is perched on an ancient river and surrounded by sprawling plains. The story is seen through the eyes of Gem, a spirited eight-year-old girl, who deals with the grief of her mother's death by forging a bond with a wild emu, a mythical bird of her ancestors. This spiritual dreaming is a bond she will do anything to keep, but one that puts her at odds with the new social worker.
Animals (Sophie Hyde, 2019) wr. Emma Jane Unsworth, from her novel; prod. Rebecca Summerton, Sophie Hyde, Sarah Brocklehurst; Holliday Grainger, Alia Shawkat, Fra Fee, Dermot Murphy, Amy Molloy; dramedy; Adelaide FF 5Apr, Sydney FF 8Jun; released 12Sept
After a decade of partying, Laura and Tyler's friendship is strained when Laura falls in love. But what is really stopping her from fulfilling her dreams?
Ride Like a Girl (Rachel Griffiths, 2019) wr. Andrew Knight, Elise McCredie, dp Martin McGrath; Teresa Palmer, Sam Neill, Sullivan Stapleton; Michelle Payne biopic
Michelle Payne rode Prince of Penzance to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015.
Buoyancy (Rodd Rathjen, 2019) wr. Rodd Rathjen, prod. Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton; Sarm Heng, Thanawut Karso, Mony Ros; slavery drama; premiere Berlin 8Feb; released 26Sept
14-year-old Chakra is sold as a slave labourer to the captain of a Thai fishing vessel. The captain's rule on board is cruel and arbitrary.
Book Week (Heath Davis, 2019) wr. Heath Davis; Jolene Anderson, Toby Schmitz, Susan Prior
A jaded high school English teacher is forced to re-evaluate his life when his novel is passed over for one of his students.
The Furies (Tony D'Aquino, 2019) wr. Tony D'Aquino; Airlie Dodds, Linda Ngo, Taylor Ferguson
A kidnapped woman finds herself an unwilling participant in a deadly game where woman are hunted by masked men; released 7Nov
Judy and Punch (Mirrah Foulkes, 2019) wr. Mirrah Foulkes; Damon Herriman, Mia Wasikowska, Benedict Hardie, Terry Norris; drama; released tba, but will be 2019
Seaside (nowhere near the sea) puppeteers Judy and Punch are trying to resurrect their marionette show in an an anarchic town on the brink of mob rule.
Locusts (Heath Davis, 2018) wr. Angus Watts, prod. Angus Watts, dp Chris Bland; Jessica McNamee, Ben Geurens, Peter Phelps; crime
Two estranged brothers who are reluctantly reunited in their remote hometown at their father's funeral, become the target of an extortion scam at the hands of a gang of violent local thugs.
Nektronic (Kiah Roache-Turner, 2018) wr. Kiah Roache-Turner, Tristan Roache-Turner; Monica Bellucci, Tess Haubrich, Goran D. Kleut, Ben O'Toole; horror
A man discovers that he is part of a secret sect of magical beings who hunt down and destroy demons in the internet.
The Faceless Man (James Di Martino, 2019) wr. James Di Martino, prod. Lucinda Burce, James Di Martino, Rhys Sherring, dp Rhys Sherring; Sophie Thurling, Lucas Pittaway, Andy McPhee; horror
Emily is a recovering cancer survivor of three years. Faced with her fear of getting sick again, her best friend Nina plans a weekend away. Six friends venture out to a country holiday house to party over a weekend. Cut off from the rest of the world they soon learn the inhabitants are unsettling red neck individuals who terrorize and humiliate travelers. At the same time a para-normal monster seen as the faceless man haunts the house pushing the friends to their limits.
High Ground (Stephen Johnson, 2019) Simon Baker, Callan Mulvey, Jack Thompson, Caren Pistorius, Ryan Corr; drama; Indigenous themes; set NT, 1930
Set in the 1930s in Northern Australia and inspired by true events. In a remote corner of a wild country a bloody war rages. Travis is a bounty hunter with one last hope of redemption. Djumbatj is a young Indigenous man trying to save the last of his family. Together they embark on a manhunt, which unravels a secret that ultimately pits them against each other.
Rock Sugar (Angela How, 2019) wr. Angela How, prod. Angela How, dp Ben Milward-Bason; Akira Matsumoto, Alec Golinger, Olivia Sprague; thriller
2067 (Seth Larney, tba) wr. Seth Larney, Dave Paterson; Kodi Smith-MacPhee, Ryan Kwanten, Leeanna Walsman; scifi
One man's journey to the future to save a dying world.
Babyteeth (Shannon Murphy, 2020) wr. Rita Kalnejas from her play; Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis; drama; Venice
When seriously ill teenager Milla falls madly in love with smalltime drug dealer Moses, it's her parents' worst nightmare. But as Milla's first brush with love brings her a new lust for life, things get messy and traditional morals go out the window. Milla soon shows everyone in her orbit - her parents, Moses, a sensitive music teacher, a budding child violinist, and a disarmingly honest pregnant neighbour - how to live like you have nothing to lose. What might have been a disaster for the Finlay family instead leads to letting go and finding grace in the glorious chaos of life. Babyteeth joyously explores how good it is not to be dead yet and how far we will go for love.
Dirt Music (Gregor Jordan, 2020) film rights of Tim Winton's novel were bought by Phillip Noyce in 2002, but it is now to be produced by Finola Dwyer, Amanda Poser, and Angie Fielder; film to be shot in WA set in fictional seaside town of White Point; Layla Tucak, "Noyce to put Music on film", The Australian, 11 May 2002: 3; UK/Aust copro; shot mid-west WA, Kimberley, Dongara, Port Denison; WA Regional Film Fund
Go! (Owen Trevor, 2020) Richard Roxburgh, Frances O'Connor, Dan Wyllie, Damian de Montemas
H is for Happiness (John Sheedy, 2020) wr. Lisa Hoppe; Miriam Margolyes, Richard Roxburgh, Emma Booth, Daisy Axon; family
A twelve year old girl with boundless optimism and a unique view of the world, is inspired by the strange new boy at school and sets out to mend her broken family - whatever it takes.
I Am Woman (Unjoo Moon, 2020) Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Danielle Macdonald, Matty Cardarople, Evan Peters; biopic of Helen Reddy; Venice
Measure for Measure (Paul Ireland, 2020) wr. Damian Hill, Paul Ireland, William Shakespeare; Hugo Weaving, Harrison Gilbertson, Daniel Henshall
Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (Tony Tilse, 2020) prod. Fiona Eagger, wr. Deb Cox; Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Miriam Margolyes, Ashleigh Cummings
After freeing a young Bedouin girl from her unjust imprisonment in Jerusalem, Phryne Fisher begins to unravel a decade-old mystery concerning priceless emeralds, ancient curses and the truth behind the suspicious disappearance of Shirin's forgotten tribe.
True History of the Kelly Gang (Justin Kurzel, 2020) wr. Shaun Grant from Peter Carey novel, prod. Liz Watts, Porchlight, Daybreak Pictures; Venixw
Based on Peter Carey's novel. The story of Australian bush-ranger Ned Kelly and his gang as they flee from authorities during the 1870s.
Don Groves, 'Australian films May BO scorecard: Modest tally but very bright outlook', IF, 3 June 2019
Don Groves, 'Australian films July scorecard: Unhealthy reliance on top titles', IF, 2 August 2019
Email me: Garry Gillard | New: 8 June, 2019 | Now: 19 September, 2019