The Australian feature film Soft Fruit, written and directed by Christina Andreef, and the Bhutan/Australia co-production The Cup, directed by Khyentse Norbu, have been selected for the Sundance Film Festival to be held in the US in January.
Soft Fruit, winner of the International Critics' Prize at the 1999 San Sebastian Film Festival, was produced by Helen Bowden and stars Jeanie Drynan, Russell Dykstra, Sacha Horler, Linal Haft, Genevieve Lemon and Alicia Talbot.
Russell Dykstra received the recent AFI Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and Sacha Horler received the AFI Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.
Christina has written and directed three short films, all of which were previously invited to screen at Sundance - Excursion to the Bridge of Friendship in 1994, The Gap in 1995 and Shooting the Breeze in 1997.
Soft Fruit, a family reunion story about three bossy sisters and their brother who return home to nurse their mum, was funded by the Australian Film Finance Corporation, FTO and Fox Searchlight. Sold internationally by United Artists Films, it also won The Special Jury Prize at the Turin Film Festival on Saturday night.
The Cup, selected for Directors' Fortnight at the 1999 Cannes International Film Festival and winner of Best Film at the inaugural 1999 Noosa Film Festival, is the story of a group of Tibetan monks obsessed with World Cup soccer. The film was produced by Malcolm Watson and Raymond Steiner and is Bhutan's official entry. The Cup is distributed internationally by Palm Pictures, Handway Films is handling international sales.
Two documentary films have also been selected. Chasing Buddha, directed by Amiel Courtin-Wilson and produced by Amiel Courtin-Wilson and Julie Stone, received post production funding from Cinemedia and SBS Independent. Chasing Buddha is the story of Robina Courtin, an Australian Buddhist nun who teaches her unique style of Buddhism to death row inmates in penitentiaries across the United States.
Original Schtick, directed by Maciej Wszelaki and produced by Peter George and Bronwyne Smith won the 1999 Dendy Award for Best Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival, the Rouben Mamoulian Award and the 1999 AFI Awards for Best Direction in a Documentary and for Best Editing in a Non-Feature Film (shared). Original Schtick was funded by the AFC, SBS and private investment.