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SYDNEY – Actors Cate Blanchett, Mia Wasikowska and David Wenham will make their directorial debuts as part of on omnibus feature telling the short stories that make up Australian author Tim Winton’s The Turning.
In total 17 directors will each create a chapter of Winton’s “hauntingly beautiful” novel, with producer Robert Connolly pulling the film together. The linking and overlapping stories, while self contained, explore the extraordinary turning points in seemingly disparate but connected people’s lives.
Other directors attached to the project include Benedict Andrews, Jonathan auf der Heide, Tony Ayres, Shaun Gladwell, Rhys Graham, Justin Kurzel Ian Meadows, Yaron Lifschitz, Claire McCarthy, Ashlee Page and Stephen Page.
It’s the second major omnibus feature to be greenlit in Australia this year, after John Polson last month announced he’d tapped thesps Anthony La Paglia, Toni Colette and Liev Schreiber, among 10 directors to make Sydney Unplugged.
The Turning is one of four projects to receive a total of AUS$5 million ($4.71 million) in funding from Screen Australia this month with the agency also backing outback travel tale, Tracks, to be produced by See Saw Films’ Emile Sherman and Iain Canning.
Tracks, which tells the true story of Robyn Davidson’s solitary camel trek across the Australian desert in the 1970s, will be co-produced by Julie Ryan, who produced 2011 local box office hit, Red Dog. It has been adapted for the screen by writer/director John Curran.
Also getting the agency’s greenlight is writer/directorJennifer Kent’s supernatural horror film The Babadook, and Galore, a teen drama set in suburban Canberra from writer/director Rhys Graham and producerPhilippa Campey.
Announcing the new funding recipients, Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley said: “Tracks is a uniquely Australian story with universal appeal that promises to please both local and international audiences and comes from a hugely talented and experienced team”.
“Tim Winton’s iconic Australian short stories will come to life, showcasing acclaimed Australian talent as well as emerging directors, writers and producers,” and both Galore, a teen drama set in the nation’s capital, and The Babadook, a chilling ghost story, will be driven by talented emerging filmmakers,” she added.
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