Heath Davis’ ‘Christmess’ to premiere at Austin Film Festival

Steve Le Marquand, Darren Gilshenan and Hannah Joy in 'Christmess' (Image: Sie Kitts)

Heath Davis’ Campbelltown-shot dramedy Christmess will debut in Texas next month after being announced in the line-up for this year’s Austin Film Festival.

Written and directed by Davis, the film stars Steve Le Marquand as Chris Flint, a desperate, once famous actor fresh out of rehab who takes a job as a Santa Claus in a suburban strip mall, where he unexpectedly encounters his long-estranged daughter (Nicole Pastor) and infant grandson.

With the love and support of his sponsor, Nick (Darren Gilshenan), and a young, sharp-tongued musician in recovery named Joy, played by Middle Kids lead singer Hannah Joy, Chris sets out to stay sober in order to win his daughter’s forgiveness for Christmas.

Brick Studios’ Daniel Fenech produces in conjunction with Cindy Pritchard, Nicola Nossal, Rick Beecroft, Jai Kemp, and Matthew McCracken.

The film, which was shot across three weeks in the first half of last year, will be released Bonsai Films across cinemas in Australia and New Zealand from November 30.

It joins the likes of Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn, starring Jacob Elordi, and Brian Helgeland’s new crime-thriller Finestkind, featuring Toby Wallace, in the line-up for the festival, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Davis said Austin was easily his favourite city in the world.

“It is the home of indie filmmaking and music and Christmess is pretty much a celebration of that spirit,” he said.

“The audiences are always enthusiastic, so it’s very exciting for the team”.

Austin Film Festival will take place October 26 – November 2.