Love Opera screens at Cannes Film Festival 2021

July 9, 2021

The award-winning feature documentary filmed and produced in Queensland, has been selected for Cannes Cinephiles in the official program at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival
love opera

Love Opera screens at Cannes Film Festival 2021

The award-winning feature documentary filmed and produced in Queensland, has been selected for Cannes Cinephiles in the official program at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival

Fresh from international success in 2020 at the Saint Tropez Antipodean Film Festival, Love Opera has been selected for Cannes Cinephiles, a sidebar of the official Cannes Film Festival program and will screen this week.

Love Opera won Best Documentary at the Australian Screen Industry Network Awards and recently screened at the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival in Winton. Its festival selections have included Brisbane International Film Festival, BOFA Film Festival and Cinema des Antipodes Film Festival in St Tropez.

The Cannes screening comes on the eve of Love Opera’s digital Video On Demand and DVD release later this month. Love Opera was in Australian and New Zealand cinemas earlier in 2021, through its distributor Antidote Film.

The film’s producers, Trish Lake and Daniel Schultz from production company Freshwater Pictures, say they’re proud that a Queensland and Brisbane-made production about a revered Queensland institution, the Lisa Gasteen National Opera Program (LGNOP), is being seen on such a prestigious international stage.

“An official screening in Cannes is a wonderful achievement! World-class content is being made right here in our backyard, by incredible and skilled local creatives and crew, and clearly, Queensland stories are captivating global audiences,” Trish Lake said.

“It is fitting because the film is about a world-class opera program, run by an internationally renowned opera singer, right here in Brisbane.”

Love Opera, directed by Liselle Mei, showcases Brisbane’s world-class Lisa Gasteen National Opera Program (LGNOP) as it prepares a production of Carmen with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Nestled inside Griffith University at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, the LGNOP was established by renowned Australian soprano Lisa Gasteen AO, whose singular qualities as an opera singer have taken her from The Met to Covent Garden and all across Europe.

Producer Trish Lake said the film was a love letter to Brisbane as much as a portrait of an opera program, its students and founders.

“The film opens to classical music and some of the best drone photography ever seen of Brisbane city and the Brisbane River captured at dawn. It will be a treat for French and international audiences to see our beautiful city,” she said.

“It is no accident that the Lisa Gasteen National Opera Program has found international success. Two strong women lead the program – Lisa Gasteen and Nancy Underhill, and there are amazing women conductors – Alondra de la Parra and Simone Young, who take us through the film with their incredible knowledge of classical music and regard for talent.

“And then our budding opera stars, Morgan England-Jones and Rachel Pines who caught our director Liselle Mei’s attention through their talent and sense of fun, are two strong women who are making sacrifices in their 20s to find places on the world stage of opera.”

The wholly Queensland-produced feature documentary received funding by The Queensland Government through Screen Queensland, as part of its support for locally-produced content. Other major funding was through Brisbane-based The Post Lounge, Griffith Film School and Griffith University, Broadley Rees Hogan Lawyers and Freshwater Productions.

Lake says Love Opera’s award-winning Director Liselle Mei, who divides her time between Sydney and Brisbane, is a huge fan of Brisbane. This is the second film she’s directed in the sunshine state. Love Opera takes the audience on a journey with these young singers, who are dedicating their lives to an amazing, yet grueling art form. “Opera is an art form that is going through generational change. Our characters are millennials who have chosen to have careers in opera even though their voices won’t reach their peak for many years so it is a huge gamble to put so much effort into this career — even if their voices are amazing only a handful of hundreds of singers make a career out of it,” Trish says.

The feature documentary, which includes extensive interviews with Lisa Gasteen AO; art historian and co-founder of the LGNOP, Nancy Underhill, and internationally acclaimed conductors, Alondra de la Parra, Simone Young AM, and Giovanni Reggioli, along with performances from opera singers Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova, Italian-Brazilian tenor, Thiago Arancam, Paull-Anthony Keightley, Rachel Pines and Morgan England-Jones.

Love Opera screens at Cannes Cinéphiles on Sunday July 11th and Monday July 12th.

Cannes Cinéphiles which runs from July 6th to July 17th 2021, is organised by the City of Cannes in partnership with the Cannes Film Festival. The longstanding program has allowed the public to discover a rich variety of Australian cinema, from student films to contemporary Indigenous cinema and the first films of emerging Australian talent, as well as Australian classics.