a snow-capped peak for director, by Garry Maddox -
8th May 2004
The Sydney Morning Herald)
When Cate Shortland flies to France
this morning, she will be presenting a new idea
of Australia to the world.
director of Somersault, the country's only feature
selected for the Cannes Film Festival this year,
thinks international audiences will be surprised
to see a drama set on the edge of the snowfields.
shows a different part of Australia," said
the writer-director at a Bondi cafe. "There's
still this idea that Australia is a great sunburnt
$4 million film is about a 16-year-old girl, played
by Abbie Cornish, sorting out her turbulent life
in a snow resort town. It was shot in Jindabyne
a passing crew member shouts, "Have fun in
Cannes", Shortland says Somersault is set
in a mock European environment that is true to
is filled with cuckoo clocks and clogs and all
these strange things that are not seen as typically
Australian. That's all in the film."
an acclaimed short-film maker, Shortland seems
stunned to have her first feature selected for
the world's leading festival:
felt like something that happens to other people."
the festival opens with the new Pedro Almodovar
film Bad Education next week, Shortland is prepared
for an intense experience. She has taken advice
from the film's executive producer, Jan Chapman,
who also produced Jane Campion's Cannes triumph
been told not to go to the press screening because
people just walk in and out and take mobile phone
calls. They comment on the film while they're
watching it. That would be quite nerve-racking."
so, she feels anxious about what the festival
just hope that your film is accepted. Or is not
slammed. That's always in the back of your mind.
You spend so much of your life working on something
so you get really scared."
selection furthers the tradition of emerging Australian
female directors being recognised at Cannes. As
well as Campion, Samantha Lang and Shirley Barrett
had their careers boosted by the festival.
up in Australia, it wasn't unusual to want to
be a director because we had Gillian Armstrong
and Jane Campion," Shortland said.
just an accepted part of our industry that there
are female directors and [cinematographers] and
sound designers and editors and everything. And
the French have always been really interested
in the psychology of our women's films."
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