Studiocanal's 'Kangaroo' is set to shoot in the Northern Territory. (Image: iStock)

Studiocanal has announced its first local Australian/New Zealand production in the form of Kangaroo, a film inspired by the real-life story of The Kangaroo Sanctuary founder Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns that is set to shoot in the Northern Territory.

Written by Harry Cripps (The Dry), the family comedy follows down-on-his-luck pro surfer Chris Matherson who becomes stranded in an outback town after a car accident. While there, he teams up with 11-year-old Indigenous girl Charlie, with the pair forming an unlikely friendship as they work together to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned joeys (baby kangaroos) in the remote community. An endeavour that proves to be life-changing for both.  

Kate Woods (The Umbrella Academy) is attached to direct the project, with Marian Macgowan (The Great) and Louise Smith (Dance Academy) on board to produce.

Woods said it meant a lot to have the opportunity to showcase her homeland in a “fresh and exciting way”.

“I am thrilled to be working on this warm-hearted and delightful comedy about finding one’s place and purpose in the world,” she said.

“I can’t wait to work with the stars of the film – the kangaroos.”

Studiocanal will commence worldwide sales for Kangaroo at Cannes.

Australia and New Zealand CEO Elizabeth Trotman expected the project to capture the hearts of audiences worldwide.

“We are so excited to embark on our first local production with Kangaroo,” she said.

“We can’t wait to bring this story inspired by the life of Chris Barns to the big screen and to tell this uniquely heart-warming Australian tale with our exceptional filmmaking team.”   

Barns, who has been saving and raising baby kangaroos in Central Australia since 2005, was previously the subject of the 2013 BBC documentary series Kangaroo Dundee.

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