Aussie films strong Cannes presence


Aussie films strong Cannes presence, by Jonathon Moran - 7th May 2004
(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald / AAP)


For a country of roughly 20 million people, Australian talent consumes a large chunk of the international film industry.

From actors Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts and Heath Ledger to film director Peter Weir and animator Adam Elliott, Australians are certainly putting themselves out there.

And this year's Cannes International Film Festival, now in its 57th year, will feature its share of Australians.

Two Australian films have been selected for the event which begins on May 12 and runs through until May 23.

Cate Shortland's Somersault will feature as part of the esteemed Un Certain Regard category while Victorian College of the Arts student Pia Borg's animated film Footnote will be seen in the prestigious Cinefondation section.

"The Cannes Film Festival is the premiere international event on the calendar," Australian Film Commission chief executive Kim Dalton said.

"It is an event which showcases some of the best of international cinema via a number of official strands of the festival.

"It is incredibly important in terms of providing recognition to creative talent, profile to a film which is about to be released into the market place and providing an opportunity for an initial crystal response to new work."

Australia's history at Cannes dates back to Charles Chauvel's entry with Jedda in 1955 - nine years after the first film festival was held in the southern French city.

More recently, Cannes has been the showground for films such as Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge starring Kidman and Ewan McGregor and Toni Collette's Japanese Story.

"We went for a couple of years without anything in any of the official selections and the last couple of years we have had several," Mr Dalton said.

"Given the size of our industry Australia has always done very well in terms of some level of representation."

Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) director Malcolm Long agreed, adding Cannes was an important place for budding film makers.

"Like the Oscars and a number of other world festivals, Cannes is a crucial place where our graduates get to be noticed," Mr Long said.

"I think we fight above our weight for a small country."

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