'Sweet As'. (Photo: Nic Duncan).

Jub Clerc’s debut feature Sweet As and Benjamin Millepied Carmen, produced by Goalpost Pictures, are heading to the Toronto International Film Festival.

Both films will premiere in the festival’s Discovery section, described by TIFF lead and international programmer Dorota Lech as a place to “unearth work that is bold, distinctive, and, above all, passionate.”

Carmen, an Australian/French co-production between Goalpost and Chapter 2, makes its world premiere.

A modern-day reimagining of one of the world’s most celebrated operas, the cast is led by Melissa Barrera and Paul Mescal – whose performances TIFF has dubbed “dazzling”.

The film is Millepied’s debut feature as a director, following a career as a dancer and choreographer, and he wrote the script with Oscar winner Alexander Dinelaris Jr (Birdman) and Loic Barrère. Goalpost’s Rosemary Blight produced with Chapter 2’s Dimitri Rassam.

Executive producers include Ben Grant, Matthew Gledhill, composer Nicholas Britell, David Lancaster, Helen Estabrook and Kylie du Fresne. Australian HODs include editor Dany Cooper, production designer Steven Jones-Evans and casting director Nikki Barrett.

Sweet As will make its international launch at Toronto following its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival next week. It is also compete for the CinefestOz Film Prize later in the month.

A coming-of-age tale, the film is fronted by Shantae Barnes-Cowan as 15-year-old Indigenous girl, Murra. After a volatile fight with her mother, Murra is abandoned, but with intervention from her uncle, she ventures on a journey of self-discovery. Tasma Walton, Mark Coles Smith, Ngaire Pigram, Pedrea Jackson and Carlos Sanson Jr also star along with first-time actors Mikayla Levy and Andrew Wallace.

A Nyul Nyul and Yawuru writer/director, Clerc penned the script with long-time collaborator Steve Rodgers, the dramaturg on her first play, ‘The Fever and the Fret’. Arenamedia’s Liz Kearney produces, with Robert Connolly executive producer.

“It’s a little bit surreal after 10 long joyous years, that we get to see Sweet As take its first steps out into the world with such a robust reception. I’m so proud and eternally grateful to everyone that came on board with open hearts to make this experience so special and memorable,” said Clerc.

The film marks the third Arenamedia production selected for TIFF this year, with Connolly’s Blueback to play in Special Presentations, and Frances O’Connor’s Emily to open the Platform strand.

TIFF runs September 8–18.

The full Discovery line-up is below:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Aitch Alberto | USA 
World Premiere 

Baby Ruby Bess Wohl | USA
World Premiere

Carmen Benjamin Millepied | Australia, France 
World Premiere

Daughter of Rage (La Hija de todas las Rabias) Laura Baumeister | Nicaragua
World Premiere

A Gaza Weekend Basil Khalil | United Kingdom, Palestine 
World Premiere 

I Like Movies Chandler Levack | Canada
World Premiere

 Discovery Opening Night Film 
The Inspection
 Elegance Bratton | USA 
World Premiere

A Long Break Davit Pirtskhalava | Georgia
World Premiere

Pussy Joseph Amenta | Canada
World Premiere 

Return to Seoul Davy Chou | South Korea, France, Germany, Belgium 
International Premiere

ROSIE Gail Maurice | Canada
World Premiere 

Runner Marian Mathias | USA, France, Germany 
World Premiere

SHIMONI Angela Wanjiku Wamai | Kenya 
World Premiere

Snow and the Bear Selcen Ergun | Turkey, Germany, Serbia 
World Premiere

Something You Said Last Night Luis De Filippis | Canada, Switzerland
World Premiere

Susie Searches Sophie Kargman | USA
World Premiere

Sweet As Jub Clerc | Australia 
International Premiere

The Taste of Apples is Red Ehab Tarabieh | Israel, Germany
World Premiere

This Place V.T. Nayani | Canada
World Premiere

Unruly (Ustyrlig) Malou Reymann | Denmark 
World Premiere

Until Branches Bend Sophie Jarvis | Canada
World Premiere

When Morning Comes Kelly Fyffe-Marshall | Canada
World Premiere

The Young Arsonists Sheila Pye | Canada
World Premiere

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