ARTE, SBS ink deal for George-Alex Nagle’s ‘Mate’

Jeremy Blewitt Joshua Brennan in 'Mate'. (Image: Campbell Brown)

George-Alex Nagle’s Clermont-Ferrand Grand Prix winning short-film Mate has sparked further domestic and international interest, with European Cultural Channel ARTE and SBS acquiring the title.

Mate follows John’s (Joshua Brennan) attempts to reconnect with son Jack (Jeremy Blewitt) over a single weekend in a working-class outpost of Western Sydney, with the former’s self-destructive nature threatening to derail any progress made.

The 33-minute film – shot on location in 2020 – was written by Nagle, Daniel Corboy, and October Media’s Ben Tarwin, who also produced with Nagle and Nick Bolton from Ten Alphas.

Earlier this year, it became the first Australian film to ever win the top prize at Clermont-Ferrand.

ARTE France purchasing officer Grégory Audermatte said the channel was “delighted” to offer their viewers a glimpse of the working-class Western Sydney they probably don’t know.

“We watch a lot of different movies from many different countries, but the beauty of it is we suddenly come across something that is from the other side of the world and yet feels strangely familiar,” he said.

“This is what happened when we discovered Mate. It is a very strong movie that is intense and emotionally powerful thanks to the extraordinary performances by Joshua Brennan and Jeremy Blewitt.”

SBS On Demand and World Movies channel manager Haidee Ireland was similarly excited to be adding Mate to the broadcaster’s line-up.

“We are delighted that Mate will be coming to SBS On Demand in November,” she said.

“As the home of world cinema in Australia, we are always looking for unique stories told in surprising ways, and Mate is no exception.

“We look forward to being able to share this award-winning short film with our audience.”

Mate will screen on ARTE on June 28, and then be available to the public free of charge on ARTE.TV. Australian audiences can watch Mate free on SBS On Demand from November and at this year’s Sydney Film Festival, opening for Emily the Criminal.

The short film will have its North American premiere at Palm Springs International Shortfest 2022 on June 25.

Nagle said the acquisition deal showed suburban Australian stories could resonate globally.

“It has always been our vision to showcase Australian stories to the world and these acquisitions are an exciting opportunity for Mate to be accessible to an international and local audience,” he said.