somersault sends director to Cannes - 22nd April 2004
The Sydney Morning Herald)
If Cate Shortland wins an award at the Cannes Film
Festival next month she may just thank the producers
of The Secret Life of Us.
35-year-old Sydney filmmaker, whose debut feature,
Somersault, has been invited to screen at Cannes,
credits work on the television drama for keeping her
in the industry when she was on the verge of quitting.
have been several times when I've really struggled
to get work, and television has been my saviour,"
she said yesterday. "It allowed me to be creative
and keep working."
spent three years directing episodes of The Secret
Life of Us. It taught her to work quickly and not
be in awe of actors, skills she applied to directing
Somersault, a $4 million drama shot in and around
the ski-field town of Jindabyne.
week she learnt that the film had been chosen to screen
in the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard category.
As a first-time director she is eligible for the Camera
Un Certain Regard category was contested last year
by the popular Australian feature Japanese Story.
heroine is played by Abbie Cornish, 21. The cast includes
Sam Worthington, Lynette Curran and Erik Thomson,
who won a Silver Logie last year for his role in All
to describe her film, Shortland said: "It's about
growing up, falling in love and family. The conflict
we all have in our lives."
a Sydney University graduate who studied directing
at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School,
made several short films before Somersault. She intended
to make her film at Lake George, near Canberra, but
switched production to Lake Jindabyne, a location
she and her producer Anthony Anderson remembered from
was always going to be a frosty, winter film,"
Anderson said yesterday. "There's the notion
that Australia is beaches or the outback. But for
us it's [Jindabyne in winter] very much part of our
and Anderson will have an experienced guide when they
travel to Cannes for the festival, which runs from
May 12 to May 23. The film's executive producer is
Jan Chapman, whose credits include The Piano and Love
three met when Somersault became the first project
to be accepted into the Aurora script development
program run by the NSW Film and Television Office.
Chapman was one of their mentors.
warns that Cannes is not all Krug and air kisses.
time I've been there someone's been in tears,"
Chapman said. "It's full of elation and full
of disappointment. You need to keep your feet on the
said Somersault would be released locally in September,
but may be previewed at the Sydney Film Festival in
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