LION

"LION, based on an incredible true story, is a powerful and satisfying cinematic experience full emotion, adventure, danger and bravery, and one of the best films I've seen for a long time" ...  Naomi Rossdeutscher

Like so many others, I read the incredible true story of Saroo Brierley in a news article and was fascinated. My Mum and I talked started researching the story because we wanted to know more... so when David Wenham mentioned, at Cinefest Oz, that Transmission films were making the film, we were filled with anticipation. The film is LION, and while highlighting the strong bond of family it also brings to light the tragic plight of countless disadvantaged children in India.

Sunny Pawar who plays young Naroo, is a beautiful and captivating child performer. Dev Patel who plays adult Naroo pulls off a perfect Australian accent, something very few foreign actors can do, and is compelling to watch, and Nicole Kidman delivers a sensitive, award worthy performance.

Dev Patel & Rooney Mara in LION

Dev Patel & Rooney Mara in LION

THE STORY

Five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train travelling away from his home and family. Frightened and bewildered, he ends up thousands of miles away, in chaotic Kolkata. Somehow he survives living on the streets, escaping all sorts of terrors and close calls in the process, before ending up in an orphanage that is itself not exactly a safe haven.

Eventually Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple, and finds love and security as he grows up in Hobart. Not wanting to hurt his adoptive parents’ feelings, he suppresses his past, his emotional need for reunification, and his hope of ever finding his lost mother and brother. But a chance meeting with some fellow Indians reawakens his buried yearning. With just a small store of memories, and the help of a new technology called Google Earth, Saroo embarks on one of the greatest needle-in-a-haystack quests of modern times.

Dev Patel as SAROO in LION. Photo by Mark Rogers

Dev Patel as SAROO in LION. Photo by Mark Rogers

Adapted from the memoir “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley, LION is directed by Emmy Award-nominated Garth Davis (Top Of The Lake) from a screenplay by Luke Davies (Candy, Life). LION stars Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and David Wenham with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Priyanka Bose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Deepti Naval, and introducing Sunny Pawar.

LION was developed and produced by London and Sydney-based See-Saw Films (The King’s Speech, Shame, Top Of The Lake) in association with Aquarius Films and Sunstar Entertainment. Producers are Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder with Executive Producers Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, David C. Glasser, Andrew Fraser, Shahen Mekertichian and Daniel Levin.
 

SUNNY PAWAR AS SAROO (YOUNG)

One of the great challenges of the film was to find an Indian boy to play Saroo as a five-year- old. Angie Fielder says that the Indian production team worked closely with schools and parents in several large Indian cities in their search for the right boys for the roles. They screen tested thousands of children and each child who was considered to have acting potential was filmed and the tests sent back to Australia. Garth, Angie Fielder, Australian casting director Kirsty McGregor and dramaturg Miranda Harcourt then travelled to India to work with the shortlisted children, including Sunny Pawar who was chosen to play Saroo. “He was one of those special kids. So then the question was ‘can we do a scene with him? Can he take direction? Can he cry? Can he scream? Does he have strength? Can he withstand direction?’ He did all of that and more.
“There was a certain point, maybe a week into the shoot, where he became an actor...where it was clear he was putting together different emotional ideas. It was absolutely extraordinary recognizing that he was bringing something to his performance that we weren't asking him to do.”

LION is Sunny Pawar’s first acting role. He was discovered at a school for disadvantaged children in Mumbai after an exhaustive search to find the boy to play the leading role of young Saroo. Sunny continues to live with his family and go to school in Mumbai. Since filming of LION, Sunny has been cast in the film Love Sonia, starring Demi Moore

DEV PATEL AS SAROO (ADULT)

Garth Davis says: “Dev heard we were making the film very early on, when we were still writing. He pulled up one day at Luke Davies’ house in Los Angeles where we were working, walked in and introduced himself. He was very passionate about the role. Eventually we did a four and a half hour screen test in London – literally bare feet and a handheld camera – and I pushed and pushed Dev to see how far he could go with this character. We needed a soul that shined and that is Dev!”
Iain Canning and Angie Fielder recall meeting Saroo Brierley and their first impressions of him.
Angie says: “When you meet Saroo you get a sense of how he managed to survive on the streets of Kolkata as a five year old. There is something about him as a person that is very resilient and industrious and confident. At the same time he’s a quintessential Aussie guy with a larrikin sense of humor.”

Dev Patel in LION. Photo by Mark Rogers

Dev Patel in LION. Photo by Mark Rogers

SHOOTING IN INDIA

The Indian shoot was physically demanding, with the cast and filmmakers battling the crowds and pollution of Kolkata, and the dust and heat of Indore in western India. The shoot was ambitious, with the story demanding that filming take place in the crowded main train station in Kolkata, on the bridge that connects the east and west of the city, and alongside the Hugli river – a tributary of the Ganges - where the production had to ferry cast and equipment through the teeming, narrow alleyways of the flower market, on the eve of a major festival. Angie Fielder recalls closing the Howrah Bridge for several hours one night, as both a major highlight and major challenge of the shoot. Angie praises Indian line producer Pravesh Sahni, whose production services company Take One India, is one of the most experienced in the business.

SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN IN INDIA

Producer Emile Sherman believes the film will deliver a powerful message about adoption: “The film gives an insight into the lives of children who have been adopted and I hope will push more Western countries to recognize the need for and benefits of adoption. There are so many kids who never end up in a loving family and there are so many loving families who want a child.”

Over 80,000 children go missing in India each year. See-Saw Films have been exploring opportunities to work with reputable organizations to support children in India and around the world. Using the profile and publicity that will surround the release of this moving film, See-Saw hope to shine a spotlight the need for global support to assist these organizations. Audiences will be able to find out more information and an opportunity to make a donation via the film’s website, www.lionmovie.com

I, DANIEL BLAKE

I, DANIEL BLAKE

An emotional, gripping film that makes you want to stand up and shout

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Directed by KEN LOACH. Written by PAUL LAVERTY

SYNOPSIS

Daniel Blake (59) has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, for the first time ever, he needs help from the State. He crosses paths with a single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie’s only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn’t know, some 300 miles away. Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man’s land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy. Directed by Ken Loach

Read More

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

An emotional, gripping film that makes you want to stand up and shout

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Directed by KEN LOACH. Written by PAUL LAVERTY

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

Nocturnal Animals is a cautionary tale about coming to terms with the choices that we make as we move through life and of the consequences that our decisions may have. In an increasingly disposable culture where everything including our relationships can be so easily tossed away, this is a story of loyalty, dedication and of love. It is a story of the isolation that we all feel, and of the importance of valuing the personal connections in life that sustain us – Tom Ford
Read More

WARCRAFT

WARCRAFT

From Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures comes Warcraft, an epic adventure of world-colliding conflict based on Blizzard Entertainment’s global phenomenon.

The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another.   As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction.   From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home.   

So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.

Read More

THE REVENANT

THE REVENANT
"Stunning! THE REVENANT is gritty, primal, completely riveting and will probably win every award going, it has my vote" ... Naomi Rossdeutscher

I took my Mum and she loved it too, we fancied watching it again the very next day, so you see it's not a blokes-only film at all. The Director, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, has made some of the best cinema in recent years, including directing one of my favorite films, BIUTIFUL, with Javier Bardem, plus 21 GRAMS with Naomi Watts and Benecio del Toro. His films are unique with strong, passionate characters, and mystical elements.

SYNOPSIS

Academy Award®-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu brings the legend of Hugh Glass to the screen with an epic adventure set in the unchartered 19th century American Frontier. While on an expedition into the wilderness, explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is attacked & abandoned. Near death, Glass undertakes an incredible 200-mile journey through a vast, icy wild West on the trail of fellow fur trader John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). He discovers inner strength and resilience to the brutality of man, animal and nature as he struggles for survival.

Read More

SISTERS

SISTERS
"Funniest film I've seen in a long while, and not just a giggle here and there,  SISTERS cracked me up from start to finish and it was not just me, I heard unbridled guffawing from the audience too." ... Naomi Rossdeutscher

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler reunite for Sisters, a new film from Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore about two disconnected sisters summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family house.  Looking to recapture their glory days, they throw one final high-school-style party for their classmates, which turns into the cathartic rager that a bunch of ground-down adults really need. 

Read More

BY THE SEA

"A cool, laid back film which is visually gorgeous." ... Naomi Rossdeutscher
BRAD PITT & ANGELINA JOLIE PITT in By the Sea. Photo by Merrick Morton

BRAD PITT & ANGELINA JOLIE PITT in By the Sea. Photo by Merrick Morton

In a time when audiences are well versed in the fast cut movies, with stories that start on the run and don't let up until the end, where characters change completely from start to finish and every word and scene must move the story forward and never repeat itself, BY THE SEA, really stands apart. It's a brave film, very European in style and fascinating, I really enjoyed it. If you go into the film prepared to sit back and let the story unwind slowly you just might love this film too.

The stunning location alone is worth seeing and then of course it's tantalizing, watching Angelina and Brad together. Putting the voyeurism aside, although it is within theme, the story looks at an intriguing couple, struggling with grief, love and failure, who arrive at a romantic seaside hotel to work through their pain.

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie Pitt in BY THE SEA. photo by merrick morton. Universal pictures

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie Pitt in BY THE SEA. photo by merrick morton. Universal pictures

By the Sea follows an American writer named Roland (Pitt) and his wife, Vanessa (Jolie Pitt), who arrive in a tranquil and picturesque seaside resort in 1970s France, their marriage in apparent crisis. As they spend time with fellow travelers, including young newlyweds Lea (Laurent) and François (Poupaud), and village locals Michel (Arestrup) and Patrice (Bohringer), the couple begins to come to terms with unresolved issues in their own lives. In its style, and its treatment of themes of the human experience, By the Sea is inspired by European cinema and theater of the ’60s and ’70s. “This is a story about a relationship derailed by loss, the tenacity of love, and the path to recovery and acceptance,” said Jolie Pitt.

Jolie Pitt is joined behind the scenes by a key crew that includes cinematographer Christian Berger (The White Ribbon), who used his Cine Reflect Lighting System to shoot the film; production designer Jon Hutman (Unbroken); editor Patricia Rommel (The Lives of Others); and costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). Pitt joins her in production duties, while Chris Brigham (Inception), Holly Goline (Unbroken) and Michael Vieira (Unbroken) serve as executive producers.

BY THE SEA IS OUT NOW!

CINESURFER - ONLINE FILM STREAMING

Where do you see Australian short films after they have done the rounds of festivals? Quality, professional Aussie movies are being made through hard work, sweat and tears and audiences desperately seeking fresh new content. CINESURFER will launch a new online film streaming platform to help filmmakers find an audience, get feedback on their movies and move their careers forward. And audiences can enjoy these hidden gems, connect with the filmmakers and become part of the ride. You can follow the growth of CINESURFER and make contact early, if you're keen to see some of the best Australian films online