The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has announced that Jub Clerc’s SWEET AS and Frances O’Connor’s EMILY will premiere at TIFF in September. They join Robert Connolly’s BLUEBACK which was announced last week and takes Arenamedia films at this year’s TIFF to an impressive three titles. Arenamedia is a powerhouse of Australian production and talent. The company brings together a team of leading screen practitioners under acclaimed filmmaker Robert Connolly, whose most recent film THE DRY was one of the most successful Australian films of all time.

SWEET AS is the debut feature of Nyul Nyul / Yawuru director Jub Clerc, written by Clerc and Steve Rodgers, and produced by Liz Kearney. Robert Connolly and Robert Patterson are Executive Producers. A coming-of-age road movie seen through the eyes of a young Indigenous girl who embarks on a life changing photo safari through Western Australia’s stunning outback landscapes, SWEET AS is inspired by Clerc’s own journey to becoming a filmmaker.

Starring Tasma Walton (MYSTERY ROAD, CLEVERMAN), Mark Coles Smith (LAST CAB TO DARWIN, MYSTERY ROAD: ORIGIN), Chilean-Cuban-Australian actor Carlos Sanson Jr (BUMP) and a magnetic Shantae Barnes-Cowan (TOTAL CONTROL, FIREBITE) in the lead, SWEET AS is an effervescent story of growth, acceptance and the journey towards finding oneself.

SWEET AS is an Arenamedia production, with major production investment from Screen Australia’s First Nations Department in association with Screenwest, Lotterywest and the Western Australian Screen Fund. Financed with support from Soundfirm, the Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund and VicScreen. ANZ distribution by Cinemaplus and international sales by Maze Film Sales.

EMILY is the directorial debut of London-based Australian actress Frances O’Connor. O’Connor’s screenplay was developed in association with Arenamedia and is a Tempo/Beaglepug Production with Arenamedia.

O’Connor’s film immerses us in Emily Brontë’s hidden world: Emily is a rebel and misfit, a young woman daring to form herself, to embrace her true nature. The film seeks to explore who this young woman was, whose heart burned with such love and life, and who wrote literature’s timeless and searing masterpiece, Wuthering Heights.

As Emily, Emma Mackey (SEX EDUCATION, DEATH ON THE NILE) leads a cast of vibrant young British talent including Fionn Whitehead (DUNKIRK, VOYAGERS), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (THE INVISIBLE MAN, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE), Alexandra Dowling (THE MUSKETEERS), Amelia Gething (THE SPANISH PRINCESS), as well as BAFTA nominee Gemma Jones (AMMONITE, ROCKETMAN) and Adrian Dunbar (LINE OF DUTY).

Produced by Robert Connolly, David Barron (HARRY POTTER franchise, CINDERELLA, JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT) and Piers Tempest (MILITARY WIVES, ORDINARY LOVE, THE WIFE) with Arenamedia’s Robert Patterson Executive Producing. ANZ distribution by Madman Entertainment and international sales by Embankment Films.

Written and directed by Robert Connolly, BLUEBACK is based on the best-selling novel by Tim Winton, and is a timely tale about the ocean, a beautiful marine creature, and a young girl’s power to change the world. Set on the coast of Western Australia, the family-friendly film centres on Abby, a child who befriends a magnificent wild blue groper while diving. When Abby realises that the fish is under threat, she must take on poachers to save her friend.

The all-star cast includes Mia Wasikowska as Abby alongside newcomers Ariel Donoghue and Ilsa Fogg playing the younger Abby. They are joined by Radha Mitchell, Liz Alexander, Clarence Ryan, Pedrea Jackson, Erik Thomson and Eric Bana.

BLUEBACK is produced by Liz Kearney, James Grandison and Robert Connolly, with Andrew Myer and Robert Patterson Executive Producing.

BLUEBACK is an Arenamedia production with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest, Lotterywest and the Western Australian Screen Fund, and is financed with support from VicScreen, with Soundfirm. The producers gratefully acknowledge the support and assistance of the Great Southern Development Commission. ANZ distribution by Roadshow Films and International sales by HanWay Films.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs from 8 September to 18 September 2022. 

BLUEBACK will be released in Australian cinemas on 1 January 2023. 

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