Aussie films on offer at the virtual Cannes Film Market

Ben O’Toole in ‘Bloody Hell’ (Photo credit: Daniel Berghofer).

The virtual Cannes Film Market is underway with a raft of titles driven by Australian talent being pitched to buyers either as pre-sales or completed films.

The slate includes Daina Reid’s Run Rabbit Run, Frances O’Connor’s directing debut Emily, Alister Grierson’s Bloody Hell, Christopher Nelius’ feature doc Girls Can’t Surf and Justin McMillan’s Sweet River.

In addition, Hanway is looking to sell worldwide rights to Kim Mordaunt’s Wildlands, a thriller to be shot in Africa starring Matthias Schoenaerts as Richard Thomas, a jaded bomb disposal expert.

The script by Mordaunt and John Collee is based on the director’s experiences in the bomb disposal world in Asia and Africa. After being dismissed from UN forces following a failed mission in Afghanistan, Thomas gets a final shot at redemption when he’s sent to Angola, one of the most heavily mined lands in the world.

There, he teams up with 10 spirited Angolan women and their bomb-sniffing African Pouched Rats. Soon he comes under pressure to make a remote village safe for civilians but also finds love.

Red Lamp Films’ Sylvia Wilczynski (The Rocket) will produce with Tom Hardy and Dean Baker of Hardy Son & Baker.

XYZ Films is pitching Run Rabbit Run, a supernatural thriller which stars Elisabeth Moss as a fertility doctor who is forced to make sense of the increasingly strange behavior of her daughter Mia and confront a ghost from her past. Novelist Hannah Kent wrote the script and Carver Films’ Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw are producing.

IndieWire named the film among 12 buzzy titles at the market, predicting it could prove a promising follow-up to Moss’ previous genre effort The Invisible Man, which grossed $US123.25 million.

Screen Australia, Film Victoria and the South Australian Film Corp are co-funding and Umbrella Entertainment will distribute in Australasia.

Embankment Films is handling Emily, a biopic on the early life Wuthering Heights author Emily Brontë, starring Emma Mackey, Joe Alwyn, Fionn Whitehead and Emily Beecham.

The producers are David Barron, Piers Tempest, Jo Bamford and Arenamedia’s Robert Connolly and Robert Patterson. The aim is to shoot in Yorkshire in the first quarter of 2021.

Arclight Films reps Bloody Hell, a dark comedic thriller scripted by Robert Benjamin. Ben O’Toole stars as Rex Coen, an American with a mysterious past who lives in Boise, Idaho.

He decides to escape from his own personal hell by fleeing to Helsinki where life just gets worse. Caroline Craig, Matthew Sunderland, Travis Jeffery, Jack Finsterer and newcomers Meg Fraser and David Hill play members of a Finnish family. Amanda Mitchell is the casting director.

Brett Thornquest produced with his Eclectik Vision partner Steven Matusko and Heart Sleeve Productions’ Joshua Paul and Benjamin, supported by Screen Queensland and City of Gold Coast.

The producers said: “What would happen if a character like John Wick walked into the home of a deranged family with dark secrets? This film aims to show audiences that exact answer on a unique ride.

“The film starts with a bang, a few bangs actually, then keeps the twists and turns coming. Hopefully audiences have strapped themselves in and are ready for a ride, because if not, they are going to be thrown from their seats.”

‘Girls Can’t Surf’ (Photo credit: Frieda Zamba).

Film Constellation is selling Girls Can’t Surf, which is set in the world of professional surfing in the 1980s when a band of renegade female surfers took on the male-dominated sport to achieve equality.

Among the surf greats featured are Jodie Cooper, Frieda Zamba, Pauline Menczer, Lisa Andersen, Pam Burridge, Wendy Botha and Layne Beachley.

Nelius co-wrote the pic with Julie-Anne De Ruvo and he produced with Michaela Perske of Pursekey Productions with funding from Screen Australia and Screen NSW. Madman Entertainment will distribute in Australia and New Zealand.

UK-based Reason8 reps Sweet River, a psychological thriller set in a fictional sugar town, which stars Lisa Kay (Silent Witness, Indian Summers), Martin Sacks, Geneviève Lemon, Sam Parsonson and Rob Carlton.

Kay plays Hana, whose search for her son’s body leads her to a sleepy town where her investigations uncover more than she expected and threaten to expose the town’s secrets.

Ashley McLeod produced the film scripted by Marc Furmie and Eddie Baroo, based on an original story by McMillan.