A Record Number of Australian Films Are Headed to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

Including a dystopian sci-fi made in Adelaide, plus the latest films from the directors of 'The Babadook', 'Down Under' and 'The Sapphires'
Sarah Ward
Published on December 01, 2018

From Mad Max: Fury Road and Girl Asleep to Sweet Country and Breath, the past few years haven't been short on Aussie cinema highlights — and if the local contingent headed to the next Sundance Film Festival is any indication, 2019 looks set to continue that trend.

A record six Australian feature films will screen at the Utah festival in January next year, topping the country's previous best of five feature films back in 1997. And, in achievements that are just as impressive, all six feature female protagonists and three are directed by women.

Five of the flicks will also enjoy their world premiere at the prestigious fest, including the Mia Wasikowska-led Judy and Punch, about marionette puppeteers; Animals, featuring Alia Shawkat and helmed by 52 Tuesdays' Sophie Hyde; and Little Monsters, the Lupita Nyong'o-starring next effort from Down Under's Abe Forsythe. Filmed in the Northern Territory, Top End Wedding reunites The Sapphires' director Wayne Blair and star Miranda Tapsell, while the Adelaide-shot I Am Mother delves into dystopian sci-fi territory with Hilary Swank, the voice of Rose Byrne and Danish standout Clara Rugaard. If the latter movie sounds familiar, that's because it recently screened a work-in-progress version at the Adelaide Film Festival.

Fans of one of The Babadook should add the second film from director Jennifer Kent to their must-see list, although The Nightingale is a very different movie to its predecessor. An award-winner at last year's Venice Film Festival, and one that's set in the wilderness of Tasmania circa 1825, it's a stunning picture about Irish convict Clare (Aisling Franciosi) — who's on a revenge mission against a British officer (Sam Claflin), with Aboriginal tracker Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) as her guide.

The Nightingale will also hit Aussie cinemas on January 24 — the day that Sundance kicks off in the US — while local release dates for the rest of the Aussie Sundance slate are yet to be revealed.

Images: Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Published on December 01, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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