'Blueback'.

Robert Connolly’s Blueback will make its world premiere in Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) Special Presentations strand.

Based on the Tim Winton novel of the same name, the WA-shot Blueback centres on Abby, a child who befriends a magnificent wild groper while diving, beginning a life-long journey to save the world’s coral reefs.

When the quiet reef in her coastal hometown is threatened by commercial fishing operators, Abby and her activist Mum take on poachers and developers to save her friend. 

TIFF returns to a full scale, in-person event this year, announcing today its Gala and Special Presentations line-up.

This year will open with The Swimmers from Sally El Hosaini, based on the true story of two refugee sisters who head from Syria to the Rio Olympics. Other projects on the line-up include The Banshees Of Inisherin from Martin McDonagh; Allelujah from Sir Richard Eyre; The Eternal Daughter from Joanna Hogg, The Whale from Darren Aronofsky and The Good Nurse from Tobias Lindholm.

TIFF describes the Blueback a story of “an intimate mother–daughter relationship.”

The cast is led by Mia Wasikowska as Abby, with newcomers Ariel Donoghue and Ilsa Fogg, who portray the character at a younger age.

They are joined by Radha Mitchell, Eric Bana, Liz Alexander, Clarence Ryan, Pedrea Jackson, Erik Thomson and Eddie Baroo.

Connolly both wrote and directed the film, and produced under his Arenamedia banner with Liz Kearney and James Grandison.

Andrew Commis was the DOP, with Rick Rifici handling underwater cinematography. Other heads of department include editor Nick Meyers, production designer Clayton Jauncey, composer Nigel Westlake and casting director Jane Norris.

Creature Technology Company crafted the animatronic puppetry, with further CGI by Soundfirm.

Screen Australia provided major production investment, in association with Screenwest, Lotterywest, the Western Australian Regional Film Fund (WARFF), Film Victoria and Soundfirm.

Roadshow will release Blueback in Australian cinemas January 1, a date that brought it much success with Connolly’s The Dry, which also starred Bana, with the film going onto gross $20.7 million. International sales are being handled by HanWay Films.

TIFF runs September 8–18.

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