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Aussie's Open and Close the Festival this year

Looking at the main competition films set for the 2010 Film Festival in Cannes, one will not see any Australian films, though the Aussie presence is still evident in the Palais from the opening film to the closing film, with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett premiering "Robin Hood" on the red carpet, to the French-Australian co-production of "The Tree."

Lack of a strong Austrailian presence at the festival this year is due to the attempts by Australian filmmakers to create more local films and focus on pleasing local audiences.  Seventeen of these Australian films will be on sale in the Marche du Film.  According to the "The Hollywood Reporter: The Daily Cannes," the Australian film industry has been going through a re-invention period over the past three years.  Major changes include creation of the new "mega-agency" Screen-Australia, the producer offset (a tax rebate), and other incentives to attract investors into the industry.  The producer offset is giving confidence to producers and also relieving pressure on the National Agency to fund films.  All this is aimed at encouraging lenders, private investors, and co-productions, like "The Tree."

"The Tree" is a co-production between French filmaker Julie Bertucelli and Australian producer Sue Taylor.  The reason behind this co-production was not solely based on financing, though it did receive the 40% producer offset which aided in the production of the film.  The creaters wanted to increase focus on "cross-cultural filmaking" with their sharded connection of Judy Pascoe's novel, "Our Father Who Art in the Tree".  This film, five years in the making, is about an 8 year old girl trying to connect with her dead father through the leaves of her favorite tree and is premiering on Saturday, 22 May as the festival's closing film.


Melissa Evanko

Rebecca Sokoloff

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