As mentioned earlier, distribution deals for the movies playing at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will be closing for the next week or longer. The latest movie to get picked up is Warwick Thornton’s Australian Western Sweet Country, as Samuel Goldyn has acquired the North American rights, the Tracking Board can confirm.
Thornton’s Western set in the Australian Outback premiered in the festival’s Platform section and was selected by a jury including Wim Wenders and Chen Kaige to win the award in the only competition section of the fest.
Sweet Country also won a Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, and it will next compete at the BFI London Film Festival. Sadly, neither I nor Jeff Sneider caught this one at TIFF, but apparently, it’s generating Oscar buzz.
Thornton’s film, set in the Australian Outback, tells the story of an encounter between a middle-aged Aboriginal man named Sam (Hamilton Morris), who works for the local preacher and is asked to help a bitter war vet named Harry (Ewen Leslie). This new relationship quickly deteriorates and turns violent, forcing Sam to flee with his wife across the Outback while being pursued by the authorities. As more details arise about the incident, some wonder whether what happened was Sam’s fault. The movie also stars Australian film vets Sam Neill (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Bryan Brown (F/X) and Thomas M. Wright.
The film was written by David Tranter and Steven McGregor and produced by David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin.
Memento Films International has already sold Sweet Country to most international markets worldwide before Samuel Goldwyn picked it up for North America.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor