KANGAROO Leaps into Production: Uplifting Outback Comedy Inspired by the Kangaroo Sanctuary

STUDIOCANAL’s Australian production arm, Cultivator Films Australia, recently announced filming is underway on its first feature film, KANGAROO, produced in partnership with Bunya Productions and Brindle Films. An uplifting family comedy set in the Australian Outback and bouncing with adorable joeys, KANGAROO is inspired by the story of Chris Barns, aka ‘Brolga’, founder of the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs.

KANGAROO marks the return to Australia of director Kate Woods (The Umbrella Academy, The Good Lord Bird,  Looking for Alibrandi) and is written by Harry Cripps (The Dry, Penguin Bloom) with additional writing from Melina Marchetta (Looking for Alibrandi) and additional material from Danielle MacLean & Peta-Lee Cole-ManolisProducers are David JowseyGreer Simpkin, and Angela Littlejohn for Bunya Productions (Sweet Country, Limbo, Mystery Road), and Rachel Clements and Trisha Morton-Thomas for Brindle Films (MaveriXFinke: There and Back, 8MMM Aboriginal Radio) with Louise Smith and Marian McGowan serving as executive producers alongside STUDIOCANAL’s Anna Marsh, Ron Halpern, Elizabeth Trotman and Marcus GillezeauMajor production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen Territory, with support from Screen NSW’s Made in NSW Fund.

KANGAROO is a heart-warming family comedy about an ex-TV personality Chris Masterman, who becomes stranded in an Outback town after a car accident on his way to Broome. There, he teams up with 11-year-old Indigenous girl Charlie. The pair form an unlikely friendship and work together to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned joeys in the remote but stunning Outback community. An endeavour that proves to be life-changing for them both.

Ryan Corr (House of the Dragon, Catching Dust, Holding the Man) stars as ex TV weather presenter Chris Masterman, alongside newcomer Lily Whiteley who stars as Charlie. They lead an outstanding ensemble of actors including Deborah Mailman (Total Control, The New Boy, The Sapphires), Wayne Blair (The New Boy, Mystery Road), Trisha Morton-Thomas (High Country, Occupation: Native, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Ten Pound Poms), Rachel House (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok), Brooke Satchwell (Poker Face, The Twelve), Ernie Dingo (Bran Nue Dae, The Great Outdoors), Genevieve Lemon (Population 11 , The Power of the Dog), Clarence Ryan (Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, The Moogai), Rarriwuy Hick (True Colours, Wentworth), Roy Billing (Jack Irish, Underbelly), Rick Donald (Population 11Roast Night)Emily Taheny (Bay of Fires, Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell), Bondi Lifeguard Ryan Clark (Bondi Rescue) and celebrated Australian TV presenter Grant Denyer.

Rounding out the cast is the adorable mob of kangaroo joeys, currently in the care of the Alice Springs Kangaroo Sanctuary, who will make their feature film debut in KANGAROO!

DOP is Kieran Fowler NZCS ACS, Production Design by Sam Hobbs, Costume Designer is Edie Kurzer, Editor is Chris Plummer and Casting by Anousha Zarkesh. Cultural Liaison is Warren H Williams with Cultural Advisors Benedict StevensMarie Ellis and Williams.

Set and filmed on location in the stunning Australian Red Centre town of Alice Springs, on Arrernte Country, where the real Kangaroo Sanctuary is based, the film will also shoot at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach on the traditional land and waters of the Bidjigal, Birrabirragal and Gadigal Peoples.

Australia and New Zealand CEO Elizabeth Trotman said “The commencement of production for KANGAROO marks a monumental moment for Cultivator Films and STUDIOCANAL Australia’s local production arm. The culmination of years of behind the scenes work by many and the beginning of an exciting chapter for the company with its first feature film being made at home.”

“With cameras rolling in the Australian Outback the cast and crew will come together, each bringing their unique talents and perspectives.  Joining the home of Paddington Bear and hundreds of other extraordinary films made by STUDIOCANAL worldwide, KANGAROO and all of the people associated with it, is sure to leave an indelible mark on the landscape of cinema.”

KANGAROO’s Producers said “Bunya and Brindle are thrilled to be here on beautiful Arrernte country, with director Kate Woods and our extraordinary cast and crew, to bring this film to life. KANGAROO is such a distinctly Australian story, and we are so excited to have the wonderful Ryan Corr leading this cast, and to be introducing talented young Lily Whiteley to a global audience. Thanks to all of our partners in STUDIOCANAL, Screen Australia, Screen Territory and Screen NSW in backing this truly special production.”

“The producers would also like to acknowledge the remarkable Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns and his Kangaroo Sanctuary which cares for orphaned and injured joeys until they are old enough and strong enough to return to their mob in the wild. Brolga’s story inspired our film, and we welcome him and his wife Tahnee to the crew, along with their loveable rescue joeys, currently in the Sanctuary’s care. Their outstanding work in wildlife rehabilitation is an inspiration to us all.”

Screen Australia COO Grainne Brunsdon said “Set against the stunning backdrop of the Australian Outback, this heartwarming tale promises to be a cinematic gem, showcasing the talent and creativity that Screen Australia is proud to support and promote globally. With the exceptional teams at STUDIOCANAL, Brindle Films, and Bunya Productions steering the production, we’re confident KANGAROO will captivate hearts worldwide.”

Jennie Hughes, Director of Screen Territory said “Screen Territory is delighted to see KANGAROO heading into production in central Australia, the heart of the Northern Territory.  The combination of Brindle Films and Bunya Productions working together for the first time promises to bring an exciting dynamic to this STUDIOCANAL film showcasing the very best of Australia’s screen talent to Australian and global audiences.”

Kyas Hepworth, Head of Screen NSW said “Screen NSW is thrilled to be working with STUDIOCANAL on their first feature film production, alongside Screen Territory while showcasing the talent and crews that Australia has to offer, and showing off Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, to bring this story of friendship and resilience to the big screen through the Made in NSW Fund. KANGAROO is a film that we know will resonate with audiences both on a local and global scale.”

Production Credit: KANGAROO is a Cultivator Films Australia production in partnership with Bunya Productions and Brindle Films. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen Territory, with support from Screen NSW’s Made in NSW Fund. Developed by STUDIOCANAL Australia and Screen Australia. Local distribution and international sales by STUDIOCANAL.

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