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click for contents THE way back | Australian’s at sundance | RESIGNATION | Exec DIR, sophie SCARF Pics | G’Day Usa Palm Springs

THEBOOMERANG AUSTRALIANS IN FILM

JANUARY/february 2011


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AiF EVENTS | january 27 Sanctum at Chinese Mann

february 10 I am Number Four at WGA february 24 Summer Coda at Harmony Gold

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The Boomerang Editors Susie Dobson Sophie Scarf editor@australiansinfilm.org Designer Sam Kramer sam@kramerproductiondesign.com Board of Directors Paula Paizes Susie Dobson Rob Marsala Andrew Warne Tracey Vieira Michelle Day Ian Sutherland Executive Director Sophie Scarf Cover | The Way Back Photographs from National Geographic Films News Submissions Please email the Editor with any Australian or member film-related news or announcements. Australians in Film | 2800 28th St, Suite 320, Santa Monica CA 90405 Tel: 310 452-5939 | Fax: 323 446-8724 www.australiansinfilm.org | administrator@australiansinfilm.org

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THEMONTH

CONTENTS From the President

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News

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AiF Executive Director

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The Way Back

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Australians at Sundance

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Pics | G’Day USA Palm Springs

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THEPRESIDENT Dear Members and Friends, Happy 2011 to you all! I hope you all had a joyful and restful holiday.

AiF Volunteers | We would like thank the following people:

Sam Kramer, designer of the Boomerang and invitations Alin Pilkington for IT support Michael Kelleher for website design and IT support Screening Support | Courtney Prince Melissa Bickerton John & Vanessa Freemen Shorty Brown Suzanne & Gary Iselt Jenifer Sorenson Greg Cook Jacqueline Alliss

Australians in Film is 10 years old!! We started as a tiny organization in May 2001, named LAAFTA (The Los Angeles Australian Film and TV Association), with 50 members and hosting 7 screenings. Ten years later we are 1000 member strong, and hold over 25 screenings and events a year. We will be celebrating this milestone with some exciting events throughout the year. So watch out for details. We have had an overwhelming response for the 2011 Heath Ledger Scholarship, making it truly the most competitive year so far. Judging is underway and finalists and winners will be announced in March. We have two screenings in February, I am Number Four, starring Teresa Palmer and Callun McAuliffe and Summer Coda, starring Golden Globe Nominee Jackie Weaver and Alex Dimitriades. Sadly our wonderful Executive Director, Sophie Scarf is leaving us this month

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to continue with her acting career. Sophie joined us in June 2009 and has been the smiling face of AIF during that time, hosting screenings and events, liasing with members and sponsors and helping AIF continue to grow in both profile and numbers. Sophie will be sadly missed as she is adored by the AIF Board and our members. We wish her well in all her pursuits and am sure that we will continue to see her regularly as she is very much part of the AIF family. We are currently looking for a new Executive Director and are advertising this position inside this edition. If you think you have what it takes to be AIF’s next Executive Director, please apply. This is an exciting opportunity and we welcome suitable applicants. We look forward to a big year in 2011 and another fabulous 10 years!

Best wishes, Paula Paizes President Australians in Film

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news Oscar winner Cate Blanchett will join Ben Stiller and James Franco in Noah Baumbach’s, While We’re Young, produced by Scott Rudin.

Alex Dimitriades

Damon Herriman joins Leonardo DiCaprio in Clint Eastwood’s film J. Edgar. Herriman has been cast as Bruno Hauptmann, the man convicted of kidnapping and killing the Lindbergh baby.

Damon Herriman

Filming commences on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 in Melbourne.

Cate Blanchette

The Slap cast announced. AFI Nominees Alex Dimitriades, Sophie Lowe and two-time AFI Award-winning actor Anthony Hayes will complete the stellar cast of The Slap which includes Golden Globe Award nominee Melissa George, Academy Award® Nominee Sophie Okonedo, Tony Award nominee Essie Davis, Jonathan LaPaglia and Australians in Film Heath Ledger Scholarship winner Oliver Ackland. PRESS ESC TO EXIT

The Slap traces the shattering repercussions of a single event on a group of family and friends. At an Australian backyard barbeque, a man slaps a child who is not his son. The boy’s parents are so affronted by the assault that they call the police and legal action results. Friends and family are forced to take sides. The Slap brings to life questions of parenting, the rights of children, race, class, sexuality, and the different perspectives of men and women.

The New York Film Critics Circle awarded the Best First Feature prize to Animal Kingdom. The annual awards presentation will take place on January 10th.

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news BELLA HEATHCOTE UPDATE 2010 Australians in Film Heath Ledger Scholarship winner Bella Heathcote has just been cast as the female lead of Grace in Twylight Zones. Written by David Chase (The Sopranos), who is also directing and producing, this Paramount project is also being produced by Mark Johnson. Principal photography will commence in January 2011. Heathcote will star alongside John Magaro, Will Brill, and Jack Huston.

wanted to travel to all different areas of the the US and have adventures and we sure did. We were 25 when we came here, 25 years on and I am the one who decided to stay. Who do you admire? I admire people who care for the mentally challenged. I have an autistic son and know first hand what it means to look after someone with special needs. Ellie Carr Qantas Raffle Winner

Heathcote is currently shooting Now. She plays the role of Michele alongside Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Alex Pettyfer, and Olivia Wilde.

Bella Heathcote

Heathcote is also attached to the upcoming film Cogan’s Trade in a supporting role. Based on the novel by George V. Higgins, this project is being adapted for the screen by Andrew Dominik, who will also direct. Brad Pitt is attached to star, and the film will begin production sometime in 2011. Australian actor Liam McIntyre has been named the new star of the Starz drama series Spartacus, replacing star Andy Whitfield who left due to health issues.

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What is your current career? I work part time in insurance administration and I am also mum/ secretary/taxi cab to three boys! Winner of the Qantas tickets to Australia, have you ever been to Australia, what are your plans whilst there? I have never been to Australia and was on my way there 25 years ago when I met my husband and got married and had 3 boys, that will stop you for awhile!

Where were you born and raised? My name is Ellen Carr and I was born and raised in Nottingham, England. What brought you to the USA? My bestfriend and girlfriend, Maureen and I traveled to the USA from Jersey, Channel Islands (where we were working at the time) to New York. We

Who will you take with you? My husband James and I intend on spending a week in Sydney and a week in Cairns/Port Douglas, just want to take it easy and enjoy the view. Really experience the Aussie way of life, you never know we might not come back!!

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Dear Members, It is with sadness that I announce I will be resigning from Australians in Film to pursue other interests. Over the past 18 months I have met such extraodinary people and learnt so much. Thank you to each of you for your support. I wish you a safe and happy 2011. Kind regards, Sophie Scarf

AiF EXECUTIVEDIRECTOR Australians In Film is a non-profit organization established in 2001 to create an environment where Australians and Americans can foster strong and long lasting relationships through Australian screen culture and the individuals who create it. Based in Los Angeles, Australians In Film hosts approximately 25 events a year for members and guests. Previous screenings have totaled over 140 feature and television films and current membership boasts more than 1000.

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For more information about the organization, visit www.australiansinfilm.org The Director manages, arranges and organizes all the screenings and events; fund-raising opportunities; collaborative partnerships and liaisons with key stakeholders, operations, budget, and oversees programs, annual plan/report, volunteer development and public relations. The Executive Director reports to the Board and serves at its will. The position is full-time (minimum forty hours per week). Bonus pay available for all cash sponsorship that Executive Director

brings in to the organization. Bonuses are payable for sponsorship deals secured for the organization per se and / or in relation to specific events conducted by the organization. There is no limit to the amount of bonus money payable. Bonus money is not applicable to new members introduced by the Executive Director. Position commences immediately and shall remain open until filled.

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the WAYBACK Directed by six-time Academy Award® nominee Peter Weir, THE WAY BACK is an epic story of survival, solidarity and indomitable human will. Shot in Bulgaria, Morocco and India, the film stars Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe, The Other Boleyn Girl), Ed Harris (Appaloosa) and Colin Farrell (In Bruges) as prisoners of a Soviet Union labor

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camp, who, along with four others, flee their Siberian Gulag and begin a treacherous journey across thousands of miles of hostile terrain. Academy Award® nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones)

and Mark Strong (The Young Victoria, Sherlock Holmes) co-star. Written by Weir and Keith Clarke, the film is Peter’s first since 2003’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. It is inspired by the acclaimed book The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom, as well as firstperson accounts and anecdotes as told to, and researched by Weir and executive producer Clarke.

Weir has assembled an accomplished group of filmmakers with whom he has previously collaborated, including Academy Award® winning Director of Photography Russell Boyd (Master and Commander, The Year of Living Dangerously, Gallipoli), Film Editor Lee Smith (Master and Commander, as well as The Dark Knight, for which he received an Academy Award® nomination), Production Designer John Stoddart (Fearless, The Mosquito Coast) and Costume Designer Wendy Stites, Oscar® nominated for Master and Commander and with credits on nine Weir films.

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the WAYBACK behavior and personalities are affected by such harsh circumstances. Selfreliance is a requisite in the Gulag, but on this trek the men will have to depend on each other and break down the walls each has built around himself, if any are to make it through alive.” As in such acclaimed films as Master and Commander, The Truman Show, Fearless and Gallipoli, Weir again places human nature under the microscope of duress. Ordinary people are subjected to extraordinary events and environments, forcing them to peel away facades and peer inside themselves. With a night time blizzard as cover, seven prisoners, caught up in Stalin’s Reign of Terror, escape a Soviet Gulag in 1940. They are now free men and almost certainly, dead men…for their impending trek to safety defies any reasonable chance of success and the landscape they must cross is unforgiving. With little food or equipment, and no certainty of their location or intended direction, they embark on a journey that will present unimaginable hardship and drama. Driven by base animal instincts—survival and fear—while relying on evolved human traits— compassion and trust—the group

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endures transformative experiences that are profound and abysmal, anguished and ecstatic. All the while, they abide by one unceasing mandate: keep moving, keep moving, keep moving… Peter Weir says, “Our film is inspired by the Slavomir Rawicz novel, The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom, which I thought was a wonderful combination of a prison story and survival tale. “We travel with our characters across four seasons, 12 months and some 10,000 kilometers, seeing how their

Says producer Joni Levin, “Peter is wonderfully adept at using compelling narratives to examine human behavior. After many years of development, and continual hurdles on this project, it is thrilling and fortuitous that it wound up in the hands of the one director who can best tell the story.”

himself riveted by two specific aspects of the story. “I had an intense fascination about the world inside the Gulags—how these prisoners exist and co-exist—and was even more drawn to the metronomic beat of the journey. The characters must keep walking to stay alive, and the transience pulled me into the story in a very meditative way.” Despite considering it a remarkable story, Farrell wasn’t sure if it contained an appropriate role for himself. “I was excited that Peter Weir had chosen to direct it, because he’s not the most prolific of directors, he doesn’t come out that often. However, I didn’t see myself as Janusz or Valka, particularly. I thought Valka was weak, even though he is dangerous and

Colin Farrell was the first eventual cast member to read a draft of the script for THE WAY BACK and says he found

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the WAYBACK goodness, he responded. He rang me up and offered me the part. I must have thanked him something like 50 times.” Ed Harris, who worked with Weir on The Truman Show, was pleased to reunite, knowing the director was well suited for a story whose characters, he says, “have their pretensions stripped bare. They live completely in the moment. Breathing in, breathing out, putting one foot in front of the other.” Saoirse Roman had just returned to Ireland from shooting Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones in New Zealand. Weir flew from London to Dublin to meet her. Jim Sturgess responded to the story in a similarly visceral way.

violent. But after re-reading the story, I saw how integral Valka is to the group while still remaining on the outside. He’s an indicator of something bigger, of the fallacy and tragedy of this corrupt, despotic system. I realized the story was bigger than the sum of its parts, and was just hoping Peter would give me the opportunity to be involved.”

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“I was amazed by the script. Things we take for granted in our everyday lives become huge moments of drama in this environment. For example, just eating a piece of food for the first time in days. Finding water. It distills life to its essence.” Sturgess, an emerging young actor coming off well received roles in Across the Universe and Fifty Dead Men Walking, first met with Weir at a London hotel while the actor was completing a grueling night schedule on a film called Heartless.

“I turned up looking like death,” Sturgess recalls. “I was completely wired, hadn’t slept, and wasn’t well prepared. I was all over the place.” Sensing that he may not have made the best impression, Sturgess, somewhat like his character, took matters into his own hands. He videotaped himself reading some scenes, and sent it to Weir, along with a personal letter. “I thought, ‘I don’t want to blow this chance to work with Peter Weir,’ so I took some extra steps, and, thank

“I loved him straight away, and we got on really well,” recalls Ronan. “I noticed he is very detail oriented, and isn’t careless with anything. I was excited about the physical challenges of the part, and got busy learning a Polish accent, which is lovely.” Sturgess, Potocean, Urzendowsky, and Bucur also trained for Polish accents, while Skarsgård learned some Latvian, and Ed Harris and Colin Farrell studied Russian. The latter practiced the dialect in Los Angeles with Judy Dickerson and the language itself with a Russianspeaking Bulgarian actor.

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the WAYBACK “Learning Russian was great – it’s incredibly primordial, it comes from the gut and the bowels,” Farrell states. “It feels like harsh winter land in the mouth, and the particular sounds and accents affect you physically.” In addition to learning various dialects, the actors were given scholastic homework, and knew going in that Weir expected them to become immersed in the subject matter. Books and videos about the Gulags, the purges, and personal survivor stories were distributed. Most of the cast participated in a camping trip in the chilly winter air, coordinated by Delafosse-Guiramand. He gave cast members individual survival lessons pertaining to the specific skills their character would need to demonstrate -- be it skinning animals, setting traps, creating makeshift shelters or starting fires. He created a small guidebook to aid their lessons.

prisoner’s arrest and interrogation. Indeed, director Weir was so intent to verse his cast on the emotional torment prisoners underwent even before arriving at the Gulag that he workshopped an unscripted interrogation scene. Weir placed Sturgess in a small room with a table and a guard, who demanded he sign a confession. Suddenly a woman portraying his wife appeared, tearfully declaring him an enemy of the people. Recalls Sturgess, “It was a heartbreaking scene, and I was surprised by the intensity and power of the role-playing. Then Peter says, ‘Well, we’ll have to film that now. I don’t know where it’s going to go, but I have to have that in my pocket.’”

The Way Back screens at The Palm Springs Film Festival on January 15 and in cinemas January 21, 2011.

“It was exciting to see the guys start to own their characters during these experiences,” comments DelafosseGuiramand. “The script began to come to life before my eyes.” Delafosse-Guiramand also briefed the cast on life in the Gulags and the physical and psychological aspects of a PRESS ESC TO EXIT

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Australians atsundance Three films have been selected to compete at Robert Redford’s showcase for independent cinema, the Sundance Film Festival, next month and one writer has a film in Competition. Mad Bastards, set in northern Australia’s Kimberley region, has been selected in the world drama section of the competition and will have its world premiere at the festival. Director Brendan Fletcher’s film tells the story of an urban street warrior who meets his match in the form of a local police officer. The film also weaves performances and music from real people from the Kimberleys through the music of Broome musicians the Pigram Brothers.

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In the documentary section of the competition the Australia/American co-production Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure has been selected and will also have its world premiere at the festival. Directed by Matthew Bate, the film follows the story of two friends living in San Francisco who created one of the world’s first viral pop sensations when they tape-recorded the fights of their violently noisy neighbours. Australian film Deeper than Yesterday has been selected for competition in the international shorts competition program at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, about men who have become savages after three months submerged underwater, is one of only 15 selected in the shorts competition.

It has already won several awards including the Jury Award for Best Short Film at Critics’ Week in Cannes; Best Short at the Chicago International Film Festival; and is in the running for Best Short Fiction Film at the 2010 AFI Awards. Writer-director Ariel Kleiman also won the Best Short Film Director Dendy award at the Sydney Film Festival and last month took home the the 2010 EFilm Inside Film Award for Rising Talent. Melbourne-based scriptwriter Dani Valent is also heading to Sundance – she is co-writer of the US feature film Here, which screens in the US Dramatic Competition program. The Sundance Film Festival will take place from January 20 – 30, 2011.

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Peter Harper

CST Tax Advisors are proud sponsors of Australians in film. CST specialize in providing strategic tax advisory and accounting services to expatriate Australians living in the US, Asia and the UK. With offices in Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong their global reach across multiple time zones provides them with the flexibility to provide clients with seamless and timely advice. Peter Harper is the Director in charge of CST’s North American practice. Peter is a tax lawyer admitted to practice in Australia and holds a Masters of Taxation from the Australian School of Taxation (ATAX) at the University of New South Wales.

CST tax tips: Did you know that: 1. You will cease to be an Australian tax resident once you begin to maintain a permanent place of abode in the US; 2. Determining where you have a permanent place of abode is a question of fact (i.e. it is not as simple as spending 6 months of the year in the jurisdiction in which you wish to be a resident for tax purposes); and 3. The sale of your Australian home (which was at some stage your principal place of residence) after you have become a US tax resident will be subject to tax in the US. Whether you are relocating to the US or returning to Australia it is critical that you obtain advice on the tax consequences of that move.

If you would like to arrange an obligation free meeting with one of our specialist tax advisors please contact Peter Harper on either +1 310 623 4515 (Los Angeles) or +1 212 653 0374 (New York), John Marcarian on +612 8920 0077 (Sydney) and Matthew Marcarian on +65 6226 5566 (Singapore).

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pics | g’day usa palmsprings Richard Gray

Camille Chen & Peter Weir

Peter Weir & Gillian Armstrong Rachel Taylor & Josh Lawson Peter Weir & guests

Tom Shadyac & guest

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backpAGE AiF Ambassadors

Don’t be left out in the cold...

Gillian Armstrong Simon Baker Eric Bana Cate Blanchett Bryan Brown Rose Byrne Toni Collette Abbie Cornish Russell Crowe Roger Donaldson Deborra Lee Furness Melissa George Mel Gibson Rachel Griffiths Scott Hicks Barry Humphries Hugh Jackman Nicole Kidman Anthony Lapaglia Baz Luhrmann Robert Luketic Jacqueline McKenzie Julian McMahon George Miller Kylie Minogue Radha Mitchell Poppy Montgomery Olivia Newton-John Phillip Noyce Frances O’Connor Miranda Otto Guy Pearce Richard Roxburgh Geoffrey Rush Fred Schepisi Naomi Watts Hugo Weaving David Wenham Sarah Wynter

ADVERTISE IN BOOMERANG

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AiF Board of Advisors Kym Barrett Stuart Beattie Greg Coote Bruce Davey Richard FrancisBruce Dean Semler

AiF Sponsors We greatly appreciate the involvement and support of our sponsors. You or your organization can become a sponsor of Australians in Film. We’d be happy to talk to you to see we can tailor AiF to best benefit your company. Contact Executive Director Sophie Scarf for more information. email | sscarf@australiansinfilm.org

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phone | 310 452 5939.

THEBOOMERANG | january/february 2011

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