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Film Details

Nomination Category:

UNESCO Award

Ceremony Year:

2011

Country:

Australia

Producers:

David Jowsey

Director:

Ivan Sen

Screenwriter:

Ivan Sen

In a remote Aboriginal community, 10 year old Daniel yearns to be a “gangster” like the male role models in his life.

Skipping school, getting into fights and running drugs for Linden who runs the main gang in town, Daniel is well on his way to accomplishing his goal, when rival drug dealer Bruce returns from prison and a violent showdown ensues. Linden and his gang are taken off to jail. Daniel is suddenly alone and vulnerable and he has to make a choice for a better future…

About Ivan Sen

Ivan Sen was raised in Inverell, New South Wales, Australia. He graduated with a degree in photography at Griffith University in Queensland. He studied filmmaking at the Australian Film Television and Radio School, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts in Directing in 1997.

Throughout the late 1990s Sen worked on numerous short films, before making his feature film debut with Beneath Clouds in 2002. The film follows two teenagers, Lena (Dannielle Hall) and Vaughn (Damian Pitt) who hitch-hike together to Sydney. It won Sen global acclaim, winning a Silver Bear at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival, Best Director at the 2002 Australian Film Institute Awards and screened at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival,

Sen has subsquently written and directed a number of award winning documentaries. His documentary Yellow Fella screened in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005. In 2008 Sen commenced production on his experimental second feature Dreamland which was shot on location in Nevada, USA. It screened in the Marche du film at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, and in the Brisbane and Melbourne Film Festivals and premiered internationally in competition at the 2010 Pusan Film Festival. Sen is curently completing his new feature Toomelah, set in the far north, west of New South Wales, where his Aborigional roots and family come from. Toomelah has been selected in the 2011 Cannes Film Festival in UN CERTAIN REGARD.

Toomelah Trailer

Jury Comments – Cameron Bailey

An exceptional film that not just deserves to be seen but needs to be seen and talked about. In pursuing a portrait of a community plagued by so many forms of social blight, Ivan Sen finds extraordinary moments of beauty and hope. That he did so by working with a cast of non-professional actors is a testament to the skill and commitment of all involved.

Toomelah also Nominated for: