Cannes: Simon Baker to Make Directorial Debut With Aussie Feature ‘Breath’

'Breath' is one of twelve film and TV projects greenlit for $10 million in financing from agency Screen Australia.

The Mentalist star Simon Baker will return home to Australia for his feature film directing debut after signing on to produce, act and direct surf-themed thriller, Breath.

Based on the novel by best selling Australian author, Tim WintonBreath tells the story of teenagers, Pikelet and Loonie, who form an unlikely bond with a reclusive surfer (Baker) and his mysterious wife. The book is set around coastal Australia in the 1970s. 

Top Of The Lake writer Gerard Lee will adapt the screenplay.

Speaking from Cannes, Baker said: “When I first read Breath, I knew I had to somehow make the film. The gathering storm of the story, detailed and intimate against the power and scope of the rugged setting, struck me as incredibly cinematic. I’m beyond excited to be back in Australia realising this dream”.

Baker will produce alongside Better Call Saul producer Mark Johnson and See Pictures’ Jamie Hilton. Arclight Films will handle international sales.

Breath is one of a dozen projects - five features and seven TV dramas - to receive over $10 million (AUS$13.4 million) in financing from agency Screen Australia, triggering $51 million worth of production, in its latest investment funding round.

Other features include thrillers Berlin Syndrome, starring Teresa Palmer from director Cate Shortland, and Killing Ground from Damien Power, as well as comedies  Circle Work from Tim Ferguson and Mark Gracie, and Anupam Sharma’s cross-cultural romantic comedy, starring Australian cricketer Brett Lee, unINDIAN.


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