Adelaide Film Fest Picks Five Works in Progress for Cannes’ Showcase, With Giant, Drafthouse’s ‘Mockbuster’ Making the Cut (EXCLUSIVE)

South Australian Anthony Frith’s close encounter with “Sharknado” production company The Asylum in “Mockbuster” is among five titles to be showcased at the Adelaide Film Festival Goes to Cannes showcase, held at Cannes Marché du Film on May 17.

The five works in progress range from queer adult anime, comedic doc, and traditional non-fiction to family dramas, helmed mostly by newcomers, and reflect the dynamic filmmaking community of Southern Australia, set to tempt potential co-financiers in Cannes.

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So far, two titles have received international backing. “Mockbuster” has been pre-sold to Giant Pictures and Drafthouse Films for North America, on top of domestic distribution in Australia via Umbrella Entertainment; Kelly Schilling’s drama “With or Without You,” handled locally by Icon Film Distribution, has been picked up by global sales agent LevelK.

Aimed at bringing together selected South Australian creators and producers with global industry delegates and to promote South Australia as a filmmaking hub, the showcase is a first of its kind, organized by the Adelaide Film Festival (AFF), in conjunction with the Marché du Film. The initiative is part of the AFF’s continuous efforts to boost the South Australian film and TV industry; so far over 150 local projects have received funding from the festival and its ground-breaking Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund.

Three of the works in progress to be pitched at Cannes – “Lesbian Space Princess”, “With or Without You” and “Kangaroo Island” – will premiere at the upcoming Adelaide Fest (Oct. 23-Nov. 3).  
Here is a rundown of the five projects:

“The Iron Winter,” (Kasimir Burgess, Australia-Mongolia)

A documentary by the award-winning Burgess (“Fell”, “Franklin”), produced by Repeater Productions’ Ben Golotta and Morgan Wright, with Chris Kamen. We follow two young Mongolian horse herders who battle extreme winter cold to protect an ancient tradition that risks being lost forever. In post-production, the project has received funding from Screen Australia, the South Australian Film Corporation, VicScreen and the Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund. Bonsai Films will handle the local release in 2025.

Iron Winter
Iron Winter

“Kangaroo Island,” (Timothy Piper, Australia)

From newcomer Piper, a movie about a struggling Hollywood actress who returns home to Kangaroo Island and confronts the love triangle that tore her family apart. In the title roles are Rebecca Breeds (“Clarice”), Erik Thomson (“Black Snow”), Adelaide Clemens (“Justified: City Primeval) and Joel Jackson (“Mystery Road”). Piper is producing with Daniel Rosenberg, Peter Hanlon, Bettina Hamilton and Leona Cichon for Pouch Potato Productions. Maslow Entertainment will handle distribution in Australia and New Zealand.

Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island

“Lesbian Space Princess,” (Emma Hough-Hobbs, Leela Varghese, Australia)

An animated space comedy produced by Tom Phillips of We Made A Thing Studios, its story turns on an anxious space princess who is thrust out of her sheltered life and into a galactic quest to save her bounty hunter ex-girlfriend from the Straight White Maliens. “This film will be a hilarious love letter to lesbians, an ode to low-budget anime and most importantly, heaps of fun,” says Varghese.

Lesbian Space Princess
Lesbian Space Princess

“Mockbuster,” (Anthony Frith, Australia)

Directed by Frith and produced by Mostly True Media’s Sandy Cameron and Walking Fish Productions’ David Eliot-Jones and Noami Ball. In his feature debut, Frith tries to navigate the eccentric world of B-movie flag-bearers The Asylum. “It’s a “comedic, behind-the-scenes documentary making of a B-grade smash, that is both an unashamed celebration of trash cinema and a forensic look at the collision between art and commerce,” says Cameron about the project, due for completion late 2024.

“With or Without You,” (Kelly Schilling, Australia)

By debut director Schilling, “With or Without You” is produced by the seasoned Su Armstrong (“Angel of Mine”) for SixtyFourSixty and Carolyn Johnson Films. Marta Dusseldorp (“Bay of Fires”) and Melina Vidler (“Elvis”) star as a mother and daughter who set off on an unexpected road trip with a stranger from another land (Albert Mwangi), that turns into a journey of love, humour and redemption. Armstrong says she fell for Schilling’s passionate voice and her story of intergenerational trauma and hope, inspired by the helmer’s own experience.

With or Without You
With or Without You

The five Australian works in progress will vie for the first €10,000 ($10,700) Goes to Cannes Award, to be handed out May 20.

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