Four Australian projects have been selected to screen at the 76thVenice International Film Festival in August and September. Babyteeth, the debut feature from director Shannon Murphy, will have its World Premiere in competition.
The selection of Babyteeth means Australia has had a feature in competition at Venice three years in a row – the first time this has happened since the festival began in 1932.
Babyteeth is a bittersweet comedy produced by Alex White, written by Rita Kalnejais, and starring Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom) and Essie Davis (The Babadook). Also having its World Premiere in the Orizzonti Shorts competition is short film The Diver from directors Michael Leonard and Jamie Helmer.
These films are joined by two virtual reality (VR) shorts, Film Camp’s Passenger (International Premiere) about a migrant arriving in a new country and navigating unfamiliar terrain; along with Callum Cooper’s Porton Down (World Premiere), which explores the experiences of a military test subject who unwittingly finds himself in a bizarre, mind-altering trial.
Screen Australia’s Head of Content, Sally Caplan said: “It’s incredibly impressive that Australia not only has four films in the Venice Film Festival, but this year’s program marks three consecutive years of having a feature in competition. This is a remarkable achievement and evidence of the demand for Australian content internationally, whether it’s distinctive features, compelling short films or immersive VR storytelling.”
“We are also very proud to see an Australian female-directed feature in competition for the second year in a row with Babyteeth, as well as the all-female creative team behind Passenger. This is sign of welcome progress both in our local sector and in the broader industry.”
Of the selection, Babyteeth director Shannon Murphy said, “I am absolutely beside myself with excitement to be premiering my debut feature film in competition at Venice. It is a dream come true to have such a prestigious festival launch this new Australian film into the world.”
Australian films have had an impressive run at Venice, having taken out the Special Jury Prize two years in a row, with Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale in 2018 and Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country in 2017.
The Venice International Film Festival runs from 28 August – 7 September 2019.
AUSTRALIAN FILMS AT VENICE FILM FESTIVAL 2019
Whitefalk Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Shannon Murphy
Writer: Rita Kalnejais
Producer: Alex White
Executive Producer: Jan Chapman
Australian Distributor: Universal Pictures International Australasia
International Sales: Celluloid Dreams
Synopsis: 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 and how far we will go for love.
Production credit: Babyteeth is a Whitefalk Films production. Major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Create NSW. Financed with support from WeirAnderson.com, Whitefalk Films, Jan Chapman Films and Spectrum Films. Developed by Whitefalk Films in association with Katherine Slattery and Jan Chapman with the assistance of Screen Australia, Create NSW and Waking Dream Productions.
Venice Film Festival: World Premiere