Del Kathryn Barton’s debut feature Blaze, starring Simon Baker and Yael Stone, will make its world premiere at June’s Tribeca Film Festival in the International Narrative Competition.

Other local films on the line-up include Australian-New Zealand co-production Nude Tuesday, directed by Armagan Ballantyne, and Maya Newell documentary short, The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone.

A hybrid live-action, VFX and animation work, Blaze is led by newcomer Julia Savage as a young girl who accidentally witnesses a woman being violently attacked, leaving her catatonic with shock and struggling to make sense of what she saw. 

She retreats into imaginary worlds, where Zephyr, the shimmering magic dragon who has been her companion since childhood, allows her to activate her own rage and ultimately find renewal.

Also starring are Josh Lawson, Sofia Hampson, Morgan Davies, Bernie Van Tiel, Remy Hii, John Waters, Heather Mitchell and Rebecca Massey.

Barton is a dual Archibald prize winning artist, who wrote the script with Huna Amweero. A Causeway Films production, Blaze is produced by Samantha Jennings and EP’d by Kristina Ceyton, Deanne Weir, Daniel Besen, Chris Plater and Boris Tosic. 

Bonsai Films is handling distribution in Australia and New Zealand.

“It’s a wonderful honour for Del Kathryn Barton’s debut feature film Blaze to be selected for Competition at Tribeca this year,” Jennings tells IF.

“We can’t wait to share Del’s bold, powerful and completely unique vision with audiences around the world. Thank you to our partners at Mk2 and distributor Bonsai Films and our investors Screen Australia, Screen NSW, Fin Design, Spectrum Films, Fulcrum Media Finance, Daniel Besen, Deanne Weir, Chris Plater, Boris Tosic and Sam Meers.”

Blaze will compete for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Performance against nine other films. They include: Viesturs Kairiss’ January (Janvaris); Moshe Rosenthal’s Karaoke; Anette K Olesen’s A Matter Of Trust (Ingen Kender Dagen);  Signe Baumane’s My Love Affair with Marriage; Floor van der Meulen’s Pink Moon; Martín Boulocq’s The Visitor; Natalia Sinelnikova’s We Might As Well Be Dead (Wir könnten genauso gut tot sein) and Anna Jadowska’s Woman on the Roof.

Nude Tuesday, written by Jackie van Beek and Julia Davis, will screen in Tribeca’s the Feature Narrative section.

The comedy stars van Beek and Damon Herriman as couple Laura and Bruno, who are stuck in a hapless marriage with frigid chemistry and ample unspoken tension. To spice things up and hopefully save their relationship, they head to a peculiar hippy-dippy retreat where inhibitions are discouraged. Jemaine Clement stars as the retreat’s guru.

The twist to the film is that the dialogue is in a fake language, subtitled after the film was shot by Davis. Other versions have been subtitled by Celia Pacquola and Ronny Chieng. In Australia, the film will premiere on Stan following a theatrical release via Madman Entertainment.

Nude Tuesday is produced by Emma Slade for Firefly Films and Virginia Whitwell and Nick Batzias for GoodThing Productions.

Finally, Newell’s The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone will screen in Compass, a section of Tribeca focused on short documentaries about navigating life.

Spanning 19 years, it reveals the memories of Georgie Stone, transgender teen and Neighbours star as she helps change laws, affirms her gender, finds her voice and emerges into adulthood.

The film is six years in the making and is creative produced by Stone. It depicts a childhood under siege and a loving family who stood strong behind their daughter, offering a case for the agency of transgender children and teenagers to make their own decisions about their gender identity.

Producing the film with Newell are Closer Productions’ Sophie Hyde, Lisa Sherrard and Matt Bate.

‘The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone’.

Newell told IF the team were thrilled to premiere the film at Tribeca.

“Georgie has so much to teach the world about identity, the expansive spectrum of gender, determination, how to love, listen and the importance of accepting each other for who we are,” Newell said.

An impact campaign will accompany the release of the film in collaboration with Stone, her family, Unquiet Collective and Transcend Australia.

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival program will feature 111 feature films and 16 online premieres from 151 filmmakers across 40 countries. More than 64 per cent (81) of the feature films are directed by female, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ filmmakers.

The festival will begin on June 8 with HALFTIME, a Netflix documentary by director Amanda Micheli that follows Jennifer Lopez, and will close with another doc, Loudmouth, written and directed by Josh Alexander, following the Reverend Al Sharpton.

World premieres include Corner Office, starring Jon Hamm and Danny Pudi and Somewhere in Queens, directed by Ray Romano and co-starring Laurie Metcalf, Tony Lo Bianco, Sebastian Maniscalco, and Jennifer Esposito.

“This 2022 feature film program leaves us proud and humbled by the boundless ingenuity and passion of our indefatigable filmmaking community,” said festival director and VP of programming Cara Cusumano.

“Whether a comedic breath of fresh air or a trenchant expose of the most urgent contemporary issues, this year’s official selections again remind us of the vitality and urgency of independent film in a world that needs it more than ever.”

Tribeca Film Festival runs June 8 to 19 in New York City. The ‘Tribeca at Home’ platform, available to US audiences, will screen some content online from June 9-26. View the full line-up here.

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