Five Australian projects bound for South by Southwest Festival in the US – Media centre –

22 01 2024 – Media release


Audrey, Birdeater, The Moogai

Five Australian screen projects have been selected for the 2024 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film & TV Festival which will take place in Austin, Texas from 8-16 March.

Making their respective world premieres are feature film Audrey, documentary short film The Big Wait, and animated augmented reality (XR) project Many Worlds.

Mystery-thriller Birdeater will make its international premiere and the First Nations psychological horror film, The Moogai will also be showcased at SXSW following its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival this month.

Screen Australia’s CEO Deirdre Brennan said, “Congratulations to the teams behind these unique projects on their SXSW selection. This important recognition highlights the demand for compelling Australian content across all genres and formats globally. Participation in SXSW, a festival known for innovative and ground-breaking work, demonstrates the high calibre and audience appeal of our homegrown stories. I’m absolutely thrilled about their selection.”

Audrey, the dramedy written by Lou Sanz (The PM’s Daughter) and directed by Natalie Bailey (Bay of Fires) will have its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival in the Narrative Feature category. The story follows self-appointed Mother of the Year, Ronnie who has given her daughter Audrey everything. When Audrey selfishly falls into a coma, Ronnie has no choice but to keep her dreams alive by assuming her identity.

Director Natalie Bailey said, “I am so thrilled to be invited to premiere Audrey, my debut feature at SXSW Austin in the Narrative Feature Competition. This means so much to myself and the team who worked tirelessly to make this weird tale of suburbia come to life.”

Producer Michael Wrenn said on behalf of the production team, “For a comedy that walks an edgy fine line, SXSW, with its irreverent indie slant, music focus and comedy side bar – not to mention a focus on inclusion and diversity – is the perfect fit for Audrey and we are tickled pink to be there.”

Also making its world premiere in the Documentary Shorts Competition is The Big Wait by writer/director Yannick Jamey. The film is about a remote desert town, which has a population of two and is kept in pristine condition waiting for visitors that never seem to arrive.

First Nations writer/director Jon Bell’s debut feature, The Moogai will screen in SXSW’s Festival Favourite category. The Moogai is co-produced by Causeway Films’ Kristina Ceyton, Samantha Jennings (The Babadook, Talk to Me) and No Coincidence Media’s Mitchell Stanley (We Are Still HereLarapinta). Based on the award-winning short film written and directed by Jon Bell, the feature film stars Shari SebbensMeyne WyattTessa RoseBella Heathcote, Jahdeana Mary and Clarence RyanThe Moogai received development and principal production funding through Screen Australia’s First Nations Department.

Screen Australia’s Head of First Nations Angela Bates said, “Following The Moogai’s world premiere at Sundance, and now being selected for SXSW, it’s fantastic to see First Nations stories being recognised and celebrated globally. This impressive achievement is a tribute to the talented cast and crew behind the film and underlines the significant impact of our voices and culture on audiences around the world.” 

Producers Mitch Stanley and Kristina Ceyton said, “The team are excited to return to SXSW where the short film was well received, winning the Jury Prize in the Midnight section in 2021. We’re honoured to now have the feature version of The Moogai screen at SXSW and are excited to share our film with their supportive audiences once again in 2024.”

From debut directing duo Jack Clark and James Weir is mystery-thriller Birdeater, which will make its international premiere in the Festival’s Visions section. Produced by Stephanie Troost, Ulysses Oliver and Ben Ferris of Breathless Films, the story follows a bride-to-be who reluctantly joins her fiancé’s bachelor party on a remote property in the Australian outback. As the festivities spiral into beer-soaked chaos, uncomfortable details about their relationship are exposed, and the celebration soon becomes a feral nightmare.  

Producer Ulysses Oliver and executive producer Ben Ferris from Breathless Films said, “We are stoked that our true indie production Birdeater has been selected to compete on such an international stage. It’s a real testament to the passion and grit of our talented cast and crew that the film has been acknowledged by a festival renowned for its commitment to innovation and artistic excellence. We are eternally grateful to SXSW for such a significant opportunity, and can’t wait to see how the film goes down with international audiences. Yee-ha!”

Animated Augmented Reality (XR) project Many Worlds will have its world premiere in the XR Experience Competition.

A history of Australian titles at SXSW is available here.

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