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A few good news from the festival circuit I Bienvenue sur le blog de Bruno avec quelques news en français du circuit des festivals francophones. Laissez moi un commentaire quand vous le pouvez.


True History Of The Kelly Gang's performance at festivals


Director Justin Kurzel’s highly anticipated The True History of the Kelly Gang finally premiered in 2019 after years in development, sparking buzz on the festival circuit for its punk rock take on the legendary Aussie outlaw tale – the namesake of the feature film. 

With Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly such an iconic folk hero in The Land Down Under, expectations were high for Kurzel’s film to deliver a bold new interpretation of the bushranger’s widely told life.

Between its provocative visuals, stellar cast, and explosive energy, The True History of the Kelly Gang certainly made its mark across several major film festivals in its festival run. Although the film is now available to easily watch movies from Stan, the distributor, it’s worthwhile to take a look back at the initial response to the picture’s initial festival run. Read on to learn more.

Festival Performance Of The Film

The film’s festival journey kicked off strong in September 2019 at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), a key launching pad for awards season. While it didn’t claim any top prizes, The True History of the Kelly Gang garnered positive reviews out of its TIFF debut, with critics praising Kurzel’s visionary direction and the powerful performances from George MacKay as Ned Kelly and Russell Crowe as Harry Power. The film’s vibrant punk aesthetics and bracing violence were seen as a fresh approach to the Aussie oft-told story. You can check out this clip and watch its trailer:

Next up was the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain, where the Aussie film continued generating buzz. The film received a 10-minute standing ovation at its San Sebastian premiere, thrilling critics and audiences alike. While Ned Kelly films are a dime a dozen, Kurzel’s take stood out for subverting the hero narrative and bringing a raw, stylized energy to the gang’s infamous crimes.

As awards season kicked into high gear, The True History of the Kelly Gang headed to the BFI London Film Festival at the beginning of the final quarter of 2019. The exciting London premiere rewarded the film with even more rave reviews, particularly for Kurzel’s bravura direction and MacKay’s magnetic performance as Kelly. Despite its buzz, the film went home sans film festival accolades from London, but had clearly left its mark on the city’s audiences.

The True History of the Kelly Gang reached its final festival stop at Cannes’ La Semaine de la Critique. While not part of Cannes’ main competition, landing a spot in La Semaine de la Critique helped expose the film to elite critics and arthouse distributors. Though some found the violence excessive, most agreed that the film’s director Kurzel had succeeded in re-inventing Ned Kelly with audacious style.

While The True History of the Kelly Gang didn’t sweep awards season as some had predicted, its enthusiastic reception at the abovementioned film festivals solidified its status as a buzzworthy indie darling. Between Kurzel’s arresting vision and MacKay’s star-making turn as Kelly, the film succeeded in breaking the mold and bringing punk rock energy to the familiar bushranger tale. Even without major prizes, The True History of the Kelly Gang had made its mark as a visceral, subversive entry in the Kelly canon after lighting up the festival circuit.


Beyond The Festival Run

Beyond generating buzz, The True History of the Kelly Gang’s strong festival performance also paid dividends for its global distribution and exposure. The film secured major territory sales and distribution deals in various territories around the globe. It’s said that film critics called it one of the hottest sales titles of the festival. These distribution deals allowed The True History of the Kelly Gang to reach a wide audience outside of the festival bubble.

Moving forward, the film also gained a number of wins and nominations from highly esteemed artistic circles and award giving bodies. 

True History of the Kelly Gang’s writer Shaun Grant won the 2019 Awgie Award of the Australian Writers’ Guild for their role in the writing of the film. Grant received an award for their screenplay work at a Spanish international film festival.

On the other hand, the film’s music lead, meanwhile, Jed Kurzel snatched the Feature Film Score of the Year Award of the 2020th edition of the Screen Music Awards in Australia. Editing work on the feature picture done by Nick Fenton was recognized at the Australian Screen Editors 2020 edition.

The film True History of the Kelly Gang was the subject of praise and nominations by industry peers and critics at the 2020 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards. Actor duos MacKay and Crowe were nominated for the Best Lead Actor and Best Supporting Actor award that year. The film’s production team’s efforts were also recognized, which was evident based on the numerous award nominations from Best Directing to Best Production. Lastly, the film was nominated as Best Film for the awards ceremony but was forced to bow down to Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth.


In Conclusion

With eye-catching visuals and a daring take on Australian history, True History of The Kelly Gang became one of the most talked-about titles among global cinephiles in 2019. It proved Kurzel’s ability to craft bold, innovative films while introducing MacKay as a leading man to watch. The feature’s vibrant punk sensibilities resonated with crowds and film reviewers alike seeking a fresh spin on the oft-told saga. Despite a few controversial moments, at the end of the day, Kurzel’s film certainly got audiences buzzing with its electric portrayal of Ned Kelly’s rebellious spirit.



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About Bruno

chatelin bruno

This Blog in french, is managed by Bruno Chatelin

It covers the french film festivals circuit with ambience and news.
Videos and audio podcasts.

C'est qui Bruno?
HEC, publicitaire chez Intermarco Publicis, DMM et JWT puis distributeur chez Sony Pictures (Directeur Marketing) de 1987 à 1995 puis UGC FOX (Directeur Général de 95 à 97, à la création du GIE)

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