The Sapphires To Open Melbourne International Film Festival
The feel-good feature is set to kick off the Melbourne film festivities.
The only Australian feature selected to play at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, The Sapphires, is also set to open the Melbourne International Film Festival on August 2.
Director Wayne Blair was thrilled that the film scored that slot to have its Australian premiere. "I can't think of anything more perfect," he said. "It's a great honour to be chosen for this special screening and feels completely right as the genesis of the story of The Sapphires began in beautiful Yorta Yorta country, Victoria, where these four amazing Aboriginal women grew up."
Based on the stage play of the same name penned by Tony Briggs (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Keith Thompson), the film follows an all-girl singing group plucked from a remote Aboriginal community to play for Australian troops serving in Vietnam.
Set to a hit sixties soul soundtrack, actresses Deborah Mailman and Jessica Mauboy, along with newcomers Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell, play the four singers, with Chris O'Dowd cast as their manager.
Festival Director Michelle Carey was elated to have secured this title for Opening Night. "MIFF is thrilled to be presenting The Sapphires straight from Cannes," she enthused. "Not only is this one of the most anticipated Australian films of the year, a Victorian story and a brilliant filmmaking team, the film will leave audiences on an immense high."
The Sapphires marks the first of 18 days for the festival, which will host a programme featuring over 300 films from around the globe.
A selection of films will be announced on June 5, with full program details announced on June 13. The festival runs August 2-19. For more information, head here.