News 25.05.17

CANNES WINNING AUSTRALIAN DIRECTOR TO OPEN THE 64th SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL



We Don’t Need A Map, the latest film from Cannes Caméra d’Or winning director, screenwriter and cinematographer Warwick Thornton has been chosen to open the 64th Sydney Film Festival on 7th June 2017.

We Don’t Need A Map is a lively comic documentary exploring the historic symbolism of the Southern Cross star formation found on the Australian flag, and follows Thornton’s success as the director of Samson and Delilah, which was awarded the prize for the best first feature at Cannes in 2009.

When Thornton was subsequently chosen as a nominee for Australian of the Year (Australia’s highest national honour), he controversially responded that if he won, his biggest concern would be “that the Southern Cross is becoming the new Swastika”.

Many things to many people, the symbolism of the Southern Cross varies across the country as a spiritual touchstone, navigational guide, symbol of freedom and more recently – a nationalistic call to arms.

Honest and provocative with the perfect balance of mischief, We Don’t Need A Map is his fascinating and personal exploration of the symbolism of Australian identity, calling upon the perspective of a wide mix of Australian commentators, from tattooists to rappers, astronomers to Aboriginal ancestors.

The film was funded through production finance from Create NSW (the newly amalgamated agency incorporating Arts NSW and Screen NSW from 1 April 2017) in partnership with NITV (National Indigenous TV) and Screen Australia and is produced by Brendan Fletcher (Mad Bastards) from Barefoot Communications.

Brendan’s first feature drama Mad Bastards premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and won the Independent Spirit Award at the IF Awards 2011 amongst many other awards in his filmmaking career. Together Brendan and Warwick have proved they are at the forefront of Indigenous storytelling across Australia.

Create NSW CEO Michael Brealey comments, “Warwick and Brendan have an incredible eye for realism and I think this production will strike a personal chord across all Australian viewers and really open up a dialogue across the country. Their unique honesty and candour makes this film an unforgettable account and a fascinating journey for the audience.

“It is hugely important that we support Aboriginal communities’ ongoing connection with culture and language and we are proud to have been able to support this film through our Production Finance Program. I’m excited about working with the team for many more productions to come.”

Warwick adds, “The financial support from Screen NSW was critical to getting the film made and I’m proud that the film’s premiere will be in Sydney, as the Opening Night film at the Sydney Film Festival in June.”