Congratulations Anna!

Anna Kaplan awarded Natalie Miller Fellowship

Producer Anna Kaplan, known for her work leading social impact campaigns on documentaries such as 2040, The Hunting Ground and That Sugar Film, has been awarded this year’s Natalie Miller Fellowship.

Kaplan, whose career is spanned development, production, distribution and outreach, is a two-time AACTA nominee and has previously been awarded Film Victoria’s Women in Leadership Development Fellowship.

President of the Natalie Miller Fellowship Sue Maslin AO said: “Anna Kaplan has an extensive background in using film and storytelling to ignite change. She is a respected leader in the field of impact producing and has an ambitious vision to mobilise the Australian screen industry to embrace more sustainable environmental practices. We are delighted to award the 2020 Natalie Miller Fellowship to Anna. ”

The Natalie Miller Fellowship is open to all women working in the Australian screen industry, and offers up to $20,000 for a professional development program that will deliver significant benefits to the applicant and the wider Australian screen community.

Kaplan was presented the award this evening at the Australian International Movie Convention (AIMC).

Upon receiving the grant Kaplan said: “I am so honoured to be the recipient of this year’s Natalie Miller Fellowship. Natalie Miller is a trailblazing, inspirational female leader who has made an indelible mark on the Australian screen industry landscape, so it’s incredibly humbling to be associated with her legacy in this way. It’s also a huge privilege to be joining such an impressive cohort of previous recipients. The Fellowship will provide me with a game-changing platform to deepen my specialist knowledge, hone my leadership skills and activate my agency to catalyse positive outcomes for the local screen industry.”

Previous recipients of the fellowship include Rachel Okine (vice president of acquisitions STX international), Harriet Pike (head of production & development, WildBear Entertainment), Rebecca Hammond (post production manager, Beyond Productions), Courtney Botfield (film distribution and marketing consultant/producer), Sasha Close (film programming manager, Wallis Cinemas); Kristy Matheson (director, film programs ACMI) and Miriam Katsambis (legal counsel, Entertainment One).

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Hello London!

We are extremely excited to announce that this year’s Into Film Festival will open across the UK on 6 November 2019 with 40 simultaneous pupil premieres of award-winning climate change documentary 2040 ahead of its UK release

Cited as the first film aimed at young audiences to offer a hopeful response to youth ‘eco-anxiety’, 2040 looks to a future two decades ahead, where it has been possible to galvanise a global movement to invest in regenerative solutions that improve the wellbeing of the planet. Positive, practical and informative, the 2040 launch events, screening as part of the Festival’s ‘Natural World’ strand, will be supported by special celebrity guests and a UK network of Greenpeace speakers.

Damon Gameau’s upbeat documentary predicts our best selves saving the planet.THE GUARDIAN REVIEW OF ‘2040’

Award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream.

Ed Fuller, campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “We’re delighted that our Greenpeace volunteers will be presenting to young audiences across the UK, where they’ll be talking about the need to protect the environment, the climate emergency we’re facing and what can be done to help. This is a great opportunity to reach the next generation of climate campaigners and activists.”

This year’s Into Film Festival will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and with Unicef UK we are encouraging children and young people to celebrate this landmark moment and stand up for their rights and be inspired by young people in films and on screen making a difference. 

As part of the pupil premieres, young audiences will be encouraged to take part in the #WhatsYour2040 campaign, creating their vision for a sustainable future.

Anna Kettley, Director of Programmes at Unicef UK said: “We are really pleased that this year the Into Film Festival will be joining us to celebrate 30 years of children’s rights. The Convention forms the basis of all Unicef’s work both in the UK and overseas and at its heart it is a simple promise to every child, that they are entitled to the best possible start in life. That’s why we need to talk about children’s rights, why that promise to all children matters and why we’re asking everyone to celebrate 30 years of children’s rights.”

The 2019 Into Film Festival will take place 6-22 November. Priority bookings go live on 4 September for those with an Into Film Club, while general bookings go live on 5 September.INTO FILM FESTIVALThe Into Film Festival is a free, annual, UK-wide celebration of film & education for 5-19 year olds.

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It was announced today that footage from 2040 will be shown to world leaders at the official opening of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23, 2019 and the film will also be screened in full to UN Climate Summit Youth delegates.

2040 & The UN Climate Action Summit

We're thrilled to announce that footage from 2040 will be shown to world leaders at the opening of next week’s UN Climate Action Summit. The whole film will also be shown to youth delegates from around the world. #WhatsYour2040

Posted by 2040 on Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Award-winning filmmaker Damon Gameau, who wrote and directed 2040, said of the announcement, “The intention of 2040 was to plant a seed of what a cleaner, more sustainable future could look like. To have aspects of that vision now shown to world leaders at the United Nations is obviously the best possible outcome. I am thrilled for everyone who put so much care and effort into making the film.”

Convened by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, the UN Climate Action Summit runs from Saturday, 21st to Monday, 23rd of September in New York City and aims to boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. With its empowering, relatable and hopeful messages about the possibilities for the future of our environment, 2040 was selected by the UN and clips from the film will feature in a video to be projected 360 onto the walls of the hallowed UN General Assembly Hall. The video, like the film, aims to highlight what our world could look like if leaders mobilise in a global and unprecedented effort from all sectors of society to act on the issue of climate change.

Gameau will travel to New York to attend the summit and attend other Climate Week NYC events, including a screening of 2040 to Youth delegates. The screening will be introduced by Christiana Figueres (Lead Negotiator of the Paris Agreement) who has described 2040 as “A most compelling blend of futuristic vision and current reality.”

A panel discussion with Gameau and prominent youth activists will follow the screening.

After sixteen weeks in cinemas and its recent release across physical and digital home entertainment channels, 2040 continues to perform at the box office  ith sessions at key cinema locations continuing to sell well. The film is now the fourth highest-grossing Australian feature documentary of all time at the domestic box office, with a cumulative box office total of $1,434,183.

2040 also continues to deliver against its ambitious impact goals with an initiative to bring the seaweed climate solution featured in the film to Australian waters. An initial fundraising target of $350,000 was met with the help of The Intrepid Foundation who contributed $175,000 in matched funding and recently committed a further $125,000 to the next phase of the project. The money raised will allow the Climate Foundation and the University of Tasmania to deploy Australia’s first regenerative marine permaculture test platform with the goal of restoring degraded giant kelp forests in Storm Bay, Tasmania. More information about the project can be found via The Intrepid Foundation website.

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Telluride Review                 ‘The Australian Dream’ Is A Stirring Profile Of Athlete & Activist Adam Goodes

Telluride Review ‘The Australian Dream’ Is A Stirring Profile Of Athlete & Activist Adam Goodes

Today’s sports superstars must shoulder a number of responsibilities: role models for youth, ambassadors for their sport, and beacons of leadership for their team. Fans demand loyalty, and owners expect not only an inhuman level of dedication, but a return on their investment. Being a star athlete means knowing how to navigate the treacherous waters of press relations and public attention, all while balancing the demands put on you as an icon and maintaining your high-level, athletic skillset to deliver on the confidence being placed in you. Fans and owners can be critical, yet forgiving, however, one thing they cannot abide is a star daring to find fault with the system or sport that they love. This is a lesson Australian footballer Adam Goodes learned the hard way when he began to speak out about the racism that runs rampant in Australian rules football. The prickly story is captured with clarity in the documentary “The Australian Dream,” which gets right to the heart of the issue in the first few minutes, as one of the film’s many interview subjects notes that Goodes, “in the minds of some, committed the greatest sin — the black man who complains.”

Unfussily directed by Daniel Gordon (“Crossing the Line,” “The Game of Their Lives“), the documentary delivers a mostly chronological journey through Goodes’ life and career. Born to a white father and Indigenous mother, his parents split when he was four. His mother raised Goodes and his siblings as a single parent, where the children found sports as an easy outlet to make friends, particularly given their frequent moves. Though he first took a shine to soccer, when there wasn’t a program at Merbein, he pivoted to Australian rules football, and the rest is history. Goodes was drafted into the Australian Football League, where he quickly became a rising star, and dominant player, winning multiple awards and titles. Along the way, Goodes decided to educate himself about his family and cultural history, and became deeply moved by the plight of the Indigenous people of Australia. The star player decided to use his stature in the league to highlight its problems with race, but it wasn’t a conversation anybody was ready to have.

The issue exploded on May 24, 2013, when Goodes ordered security to kick out a fan who called him an “ape” during a game. What Goodes didn’t know at the time was that the fan in question was a thirteen-year-old girl. Initially, Goodes earned sympathy — crucially noting at the time that it had been eight years since he had been the target of a racially motivated slur — and called for the public to support the young girl, pointing out that the culture her around likely normalized that behavior. However, opinion soon shifted, with some accusing Goodes of making a teenager the “face of racism,” and that as a professional athlete, he should be able to let these attacks slide off him. The incident never really went away, and things only got worse when during the 2015 season, Goodes was roundly booed at games as a response to the increasingly public stand he was taking against racism. Goodes, who found the booing to be racially motivated, responded by invoking Indigenous war cry dances during matches after scoring, which spurred further controversy. Eventually, the intensity of the booing forced Goodes into self-imposed exile, before returning for a few matches, and retiring from the game forever.

While “The Australian Dream” doesn’t make the connections, it doesn’t take much to draw a line from what Goodes experienced to what Colin Kaepernick has gone through in the NFL. While Goodes was fortunate enough to leave the game on his own terms, Kaepernick’s Black Lives Matter activism saw him unofficially blacklisted by NFL team owners as punishment for threatening their industry worth billions of dollars. Meanwhile, Andrew Luck felt firsthand how fickle fans can be when he was booed, as he walked off the field, after announcing his retirement from football. These stories echo in Goodes’, and it’s not hard to understand why, in a career where he easily had at least a few years left, he decided to walk away early.

Gordon’s cleverest touch in a documentary that otherwise stays to the tried-and-true format of talking heads and archival footage, is to include interviews by Australian conservative commentator Andrew Bolt. His outrageously glib and contrarian views only underscore the kind of cumulative microaggressions that people of color generally have to tolerate in their day to day lives. Bolt also maintains the tired view that its marginalized people who are causing division by pointing out instances of racism. The inclusion of Bolt allows Gordon to avoid criticism that he isn’t listening to the “other side,” and by engaging with the uninteresting personality, it highlights how empty that kind of rhetoric truly is.

“The Australian Dream” is an ambitious and at times moving overview of a sport and country that has yet to properly reckon with the horrors of its colonial past. Goodes proves to be a perceptive narrator of his own story, with Gordon covering all the angles of the tale which resonates with far too much familiarity literally halfway around the globe. Just last month in Canada, a baseball team endured racially charged taunts during a championship game, while earlier this year a semi-pro hockey player left during the middle the game, after the racist insults from the crowd made him fear for his family’s safety, who were in the stands. Meanwhile, soccer star Romelu Lukaku has called for the sport’s governing bodies to do more about racism about being subjected to horrible abuse from fans at a recent game. All of this is rooted in decades and centuries of history that clearly remain unresolved. There are very few athletes who have been allowed to be both activists and players — often they are forced to choose one or the other. However, Goodes managed to be both. Leaving the game when he did was not only his most courageous move as a player, but his boldest decision as an activist. [B]

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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