The Australian Dream will receive it’s international premiere in Toronto

Just announced! The Australian Dream will have its International debut at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.
“We’ll be talking about these films for a long time to come.” —Thom Powers, TIFF Docs programmer.

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The Australian Dream is shattering. And now, the illusion of our country can’t be unshattered.

In what is easily 2019’s most essential movie, AFL great and former Australian of the Year Adam Goodes agrees to re-examine the racial vilification he faced from jeering footy fans.

This is no reflection on a bygone, less-enlightened era. The period under the microscope? 2015.

Directed by Daniel Gordon, The Australian Dream at first seems like it will just follow in the footsteps of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentaries (Gordon has directed a few). It contains cracking sports footage, beginning with Goodes as a pre-draft VFL champion, and culminating when he’s a two-time Brownlow medallist fighting through a PCL injury to win the Grand Final for his Sydney Swans. Then, like many 30 for 30 docs, it eventually homes in on a bizarre, sports-adjacent event: the persistent booing Goodes faced in his final years of the game, inciting his retirement.

What separates the film from the pack is the overarching narrative provided by screenwriter, journalist and sorta-narrator Stan Grant. As he outlines, this story isn’t just a slice of meaningless sporting ephemera. The doco places Goodes’ experience in the context of English occupation of Aboriginal land; it articulates the hurt and confusion of Aboriginal Australians felt by their daily encounters with racism, now given a platform in the AFL; and it explores the trauma of genocide, and of the Stolen Generations, and how these unhealed wounds are prodded by modern incidents. As we see, the collective roar that emanates from booing attendees takes on an increasingly ominous tone in The Australian Dream. The horde speaks as one, echoing Australia’s dark history.

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Goodes story to go global as NBA star Ben Simmons jumps on board

Goodes story to go global as NBA star Ben Simmons jumps on board

Australian NBA superstar Ben Simmons has jumped on board with a new documentary about Adam Goodes to ensure the story of the AFL great’s battle with racism will be spread around the world.

Simmons has become an executive producer of The Australian Dream, which will premiere next week at the Melbourne International Film Festival and includes fresh interviews with Goodes about the sad end to his career with the Sydney Swans.

NBA star Ben Simmons, a passionate AFL fan, has lended his support to a new film on Adam Goodes’ battle with racism.

A passionate AFL fan and Essendon diehard, Simmons has chosen to lend the heft of his international profile to the film after discussions between producer John Battsek and Uninterrupted – a multimedia company and ‘athlete empowerment brand’ founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter which Simmons is associated with – brought it to his attention.

“We were talking about projects we might collaborate on. When I mentioned this to them they immediately identified it as one they thought would appeal to Ben,” Battsek said.

Simmons was playing high school basketball at the time of the Goodes controversy, which saw him booed by crowds around the country and eventually led to his retirement at the end of the 2015 AFL season. He has clearly been taken by the film, which is written by journalist Stan Grant and directed by Brit Daniel Gordon, the man behind the acclaimed Hillsborough documentary.

“When they all saw the film, they absolutely loved it and very quickly came back and said he’d love to endorse the film and be involved with the film,” Battsek said.

“We had our conversations and it ended up with him coming on as an executive producer, so I can only assume that he knew about Adam’s story and it was something he wanted to become a part of.”

There is no higher profile Australian athlete in the world right now than Simmons, an NBA All-Star. Nor is there a richer one – the 23-year-old signed a fresh contract with the Philadelphia 76ers worth $242 million earlier this month, making him the highest-paid Australian athlete in history.

“The film already has a UK theatrical deal, there’s all sorts of interest in America – having Ben on board just elevates the level that interest might reach,” Battsek said. “And truth be told, and I can only hint at it, there will be some big international news on this project coming up relatively soon.

“Of course he’s interested in it because it’s about Australian affairs but one of the things about this film is that we’re seeing, is sadly, it’s not just an Australian affair, this. The instances of racism in sport in Europe, America and racism generally across the world are significant … so actually, this film speaks to people everywhere.”

Simmons’ involvement comes as six sporting organisations – the AFL, NRL and the cricket, rugby, netball and athletics national bodies – all provided their own public statements of endorsement for The Australian Dream. Many of them are now working towards incorporating the film into their own reconciliation action plans.

“It is a story of the consequences of speaking out, standing up and being proud – from the voices and actions of support, but also the loud voices of racism and prejudice that focus on one man in a concentrated way that very few have had to endure,” said the AFL’s general manager of diversity and inclusion, Tanya Hosch.

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MIFF Opening Night Gala – The Australian Dream

MIFF Opening Night Gala – The Australian Dream

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has unveiled the first 29 films on its line-up this year, including the world premiere of GoodThing Productions and Passion Pictures’ The Australian Dream which will open the festival August 1.

The documentary, written by Stan Grant and directed by Brit Daniel Gordon, looks at race, identity and belonging from the perspective of former Sydney Swans captain and Indigenous rights activist Adam Goodes, who in 2013 sparked a national conversation about racism after requesting a 13-year-old Collingwood supporter be removed from the ground after calling him an “ape”.

“The Australian Dream is a compelling kickstart both to our festival this year, and to a national conversation,” said MIFF artistic director Al Cossar.

“It’s an accomplished piece of documentary filmmaking that tackles broader questions of who we are as a nation, together, in deeply affecting terms. It’s a film for all Australians, and a film for now. We can’t wait to share it with MIFF audiences.”

“We’re thrilled that The Australian Dream will have its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival and to share this first look with Australians,” said Grant.

“This is the story of Adam Goodes and a moment when Australia faced the worst in itself. But it is more than that — it is the story of a country and its history. A story of pain but, above all, hope.”

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‘2040’: Film Review | Berlin 2019

‘2040’: Film Review | Berlin 2019

Actor, director and campaigner Damon Gameau argues that scientific progress can save the planet from ecological disaster in his new documentary.

Australian actor turned documentary director Damon Gameau made a modest international splash with his 2014 debut That Sugar Film, a warning about the malign effects of hidden sugars in supposedly healthy foods. 

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Director Damon Gameau Discusses Berlin Film ‘2040’

Director Damon Gameau Discusses Berlin Film ‘2040’

Bright-eyed Australian director Damon Gameau set out in his previous movie, “That Sugar Film” to challenge everyday thoughtlessness about the dangers of our modern lifestyle — and became profoundly sick while doing so.

In his new film “2040,” which plays in Berlin’s Generation Kplus section and which he styles as a “hybrid feature documentary,” Gameau challenges us to improve the planet over the next 20 years. Leaving no room for world-weary cynicism, however, he shows that we already have the technology and skills to do it.

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