SYDNEY — Matchbox Pictures’ telepic Underground, which tells the story of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s formative years as a teenage computer hacker, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, organizers said Tuesday.
The thriller, commissioned by Lachlan Murdoch’s Network Ten, stars newcomer Alex Williams as the 19-year-old Assange, alongside Anthony LaPaglia, Rachel Griffiths and Callan McAuliffe.
Underground will screen in Toronto’s Contemporary World Cinema program with its festival premiere on Saturday Sept. 8. Network Ten will air the film here later this year.
Written and directed by award-winning Australian filmmaker Robert Connolly (Balibo) and produced by Helen Bowden (The Slap) for NBCUniversal’s majority-owned production shingle, Matchbox Pictures, Underground follows Assange and his gang of close friends in Melbourne as they wage a battle from their bedrooms, trying to break into the computer systems of the world’s most powerful organizations.
Screen Australia provided production finance for the film.
“Very rarely do you get the jump on the international market. This is not only great recognition for the film itself, and the bold leap of faith, but for the Australian television industry full stop. Ten is immensely proud of this acknowledgement,” said Rick Maier, executive producer, drama and production at Network Ten.
“Australian drama continues to move from strength to strength. It is exciting to see Underground recognized by a major international festival like Toronto. This compelling, high-quality thriller will provide audiences with an engaging and iconic Australian story,” added Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley.
NBC Universal is handling international sales.