/News 24.02.21


Director Leah Purcell’s hotly anticipated feature film The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson, will have its world premiere in the Spotlight Narrative section, and Director Gracie Otto’s feature documentary Under the Volcano, will have its world premiere in the 24 Beats Per Second section at the SXSW Festival.


Based on the Henry Lawson short story and re-imagined for a modern audience by Leah Purcell, The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson tells the story of a woman and her stubborn determination to protect her family from the harshness of life in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales in 1893.

Filmed on location in the Snowy Monaro Region of NSW and in Western Sydney, the film is an adaptation of Leah Purcell’s multi award-winning stage play of the same name. Leah, who wrote, directed and starred in the film, is joined by cast members Rob Collins, Sam Reid, Jessica de Gouw, Malachi Dower-Roberts, Tony Cogin and Harry Greenwood.

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson is produced by Bain Stewart for Oombarra Productions and David Jowsey, Angela Littlejohn and Greer Simpkin for Bunya Productions. Roadshow Films will distribute the film in Australia and New Zealand. Memento Films International is handling international sales. Major production investment was received from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW.

Leah Purcell in The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson. Courtesy of Oombarra Productions & Bunya Productions


Gracie Otto’s music documentary Under the Volcano, charts the rise and fall of AIR Studios Montserrat, custom-built by Beatles’ producer Sir George Martin in the shadow of an active volcano on a Caribbean paradise in 1979. 

AIR Studios was the birthplace of mega-hits that defined the sound of the 80s and formed the backdrop to monumental events in music history, including the break-up of The Police, the reunion of The Rolling Stones, and the reinvigoration of Paul McCartney after the tragic murder of John Lennon. 

Under the Volcano was written by Ian Shadwell, Cody Greenwood, and Gracie Otto, with Greenwood’s Rush Films producing the documentary.

Under the Volcano is a Rush Films production. Principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest and Screen NSW. 

The Festival will be held online this year, streaming out of the USA from 16 – 20 March 2021. 

Trackdown provided ADR Recording and Foley Recording with in-house engineer Liam Moses and Foley Artist Les Fiddess together with pre-mix facilities for The Drover’s Wife.

View the SXSW program.