Six Australian projects selected for Toronto International Film Festival

Unjoo Moon’s Helen Reddy biopic I Am Woman will have its World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) alongside True History of the Kelly Gang, Dirt Music and ABC drama Black B*tch (working title). Hearts and Bones and The Australian Dream will have their International Premiere.

TIFF, as well as being one of the world’s premiere film festivals, is an important event for Australian titles and talent with its significant industry and media presence, making it a crucial launching pad for the North American market.

Screen Australia’s CEO, Graeme Mason said, “This year’s TIFF contingent showcases some truly iconic Australian people and stories, including legendary musician Helen Reddy, sporting hero Adam Goodes, the notorious Ned Kelly and Tim Winton’s classic novel Dirt Music brought to the screen. Having a television series at TIFF is also a first for Australia, and speaks to the increasing international appeal of premium dramas like Black B*tch.”

“We’re particularly thrilled to see Unjoo Moon’s I Am Woman screening as the Special Presentations opening night film, which is a high honour for any production, and doubly impressive for a debut feature. Congratulations also to Ben Lawrence whose debut scripted feature Hearts and Bones has been selected to screen in the Discovery program.”

I Am Woman director Unjoo Moon said, “It was always my dream to premiere I Am Woman at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival. I am so thrilled that TIFF have not only selected our film but have also given it the honour of opening an incredible selection of films and filmmakers in their Special Presentations section this year. I can’t wait for people to embrace Helen and fall in love with her and her music all over again.”

Justin Kurzel, director of True History of the Kelly Gang said, “We are extremely excited to get everyone together again and watch the film at such a regarded festival as Toronto. There were so many extraordinary crew and cast who gave more than I could have ever wished for. That passion and love for what they did is something I am so proud of and thrilled the great festival audiences of Toronto will see their work.”

Black B*tch (working title) director Rachel Perkins said, “You can be so immersed in the creative process of filmmaking that you become unsure of what you have at the end of it. News of our acceptance into Toronto, particularly given our television series is one of the few chosen from the world, was therefore a high point and a huge relief. Screening at Toronto is also special on a very personal level. It marks the 20th year of my collaboration with actress Deborah Mailman. My career has been built around her prodigious talent and I look forward to following our leading lady onto the red carpet.”

In addition to the films selected, Australian writer/director Charles Williams (All These Creatures) and director Jennifer Peedom (Mountain) are among 24 international practitioners to be invited to the TIFF Industry Filmmaker Lab.

Artistic Director and Co-Head of the festival, Cameron Bailey was in Australia earlier this year to connect with local creatives after long-time selector Jane Schoettle stepped down from the programming team.

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs from 5 – 15 September 2019.


  • For a history of Australia’s presence at TIFF click here

Australian projects at Toronto 2019

Black B*tch (working title)

6 x 50 mins

Blackfella Films Pty Ltd

Director: Rachel Perkins

Writers: Stuart Page, Pip Karmel, Angela Betzien, Kim Wilson, Rachel Perkins

Producers: Darren Dale, Miranda Dear

Executive Producers: Rachel Griffiths, Sally Riley, Kelrick Martin

Cast: Deborah Mailman, Rachel Griffiths, Harry Richardson

Australian Broadcaster: ABC

International Sales: Keshet International, Endeavor Content (US)

Synopsis: An unlikely national hero, Alex is catapulted into government in a cynical power play. Used, abandoned and underestimated, now she’s on a path that will send the political establishment into meltdown.

Production Credit: Black B*tch (working title) is a Blackfella Films production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Create NSW with Screen Queensland and Screen Canberra.

TIFF: World Premiere, Primetime

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.