Production wraps this week on “The New Boy,” a drama film by Australian Indigenous filmmaker Warwick Thornton on which Cate Blanchett takes both a starring role and a producer credit.
Set in 1940s Australia, “The New Boy” is the story of a nine-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy (portrayed by newcomer Aswan Reid) who arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery, run by a renegade nun (Blanchett). There his presence disturbs the delicately balanced world in a story of spiritual struggle and the cost of survival.
Other established names in the cast include Deborah Mailman (“The Sapphires”) and Wayne Blair (“Rams,” “Extraction”). An ensemble of new faces including Shane Brady, Tyrique Brady, Laiken Woolmington, Kailem Miller, Kyle Miller, Tyzailin Roderick and Tyler Spencer round out the cast.
Thornton is one of Australia’s most celebrated filmmakers. His “Samson And Delilah” won the Camera d’Or for best first film at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. His “Sweet Country” won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival and the Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017.
“The New Boy” was developed with and received major production funding from Screen Australia’s First Nations Department.
“We are proud to support the masterful Warwick Thornton together with an experienced creative team and talented cast on this film. With a subtle yet powerful script, ‘The New Boy’ is a genre defying film that explores spirituality, culture and colonization in a way we haven’t seen on screen before,” said Screen Australia’s Head of First Nations, Angela Bates.
“We all take this responsibility seriously and acknowledge that the power and success of ‘The New Boy’ lies in the reclamation of Indigenous narratives and perspectives, where audiences from around the world can reflect and have meaningful conversations about the struggles for survival,” said Christian Vesper, Fremantle’s president of global drama.
Other production investment came from Fremantle and Gretel Packer’s Longbridge Nominees and regional funds Screen NSW and the South Australian Film Corporation.
Production companies are Fremantle and Longbridge Nominees. The film is produced by Kath Shelper for Scarlett Pictures, Blanchett, Andrew Upton and co-producer Georgie Pym for Dirty Films, and Lorenzo De Maio (of De Maio Entertainment), with Coco Francini serving as executive producer for Dirty Films alongside Packer for Longbridge Nominees.
Roadshow Films is handling distribution in Australia and New Zealand. CAA Media Finance and UTA are handling sales for North America. The Veterans is on board to manage sales for the rest of the world.