Disney+ Reveals First Wave Of 2022/23 Australian Originals

The Walt Disney Company in Australia & New Zealand today announced its first wave of local content commissions and acquisitions for Disney+ with nine Australian originals launching in 2022/23. The slate of local and sure to be loved content includes three Scripted drama series “The Clearing”, “The Artful Dodger”, “Last Days of the Space Age”; four Documentaries “Matildas: The World at Our Feet”, “Shipwreck Hunters Australia”, “Chasing Waves”, “Fearless: The Inside Story of the AFLW”; and two Lifestyle and Factual general entertainment series “Donna Hay Christmas” and “What’s Your Toy Story?”. Many of these shows will further expand Disney+’s adult-focused Star general entertainment offering. The announced series are part of a significant investment by The Walt Disney Company in Australian and New Zealand local commissions.

Walt Disney Australia Release Schedule As Of June 2022…The Countdown Begins NOW

2021 has been a tough year for the movie industry. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to drastically affect the world, the year’s biggest films were caught in the crossfire which resulted in a number of setbacks and cancellations brought upon by the pandemic. However, Walt Disney Australia has decided to put some of these skepticisms to rest, with the company revealing their Australian release schedule for all their films until 2023. Without further ado, check out Walt Disney Australia’s release schedule as of June 2022.

Debut feature “AKONI” Set To Premiere During Refugee Week

Debut feature “AKONI” from local filmmaker Genna Chanelle Hayes is set to premiere during refugee week as “AKONI” premieres in theatres around the country with a series of Q&A events during Refugee Week (19th – 25th June 2022). Check out our interview below:

What is the synopsis of the film?

A homeless refugee (Kit Esuruoso) struggles to integrate into Australian society after escaping conflict in his homeland. While living on the streets and on the receiving end of racist taunts, a young woman (Genna Chanelle Hayes) comes to his aid. Struggling with her own feelings of grief and loneliness, she soon finds solace in her unlikely new companion as he opens her up to a world beyond modelling, parties, and social media.

Who are your Director and Producer?

The film was written, directed, and produced single-handedly by local filmmaker Genna Chanelle Hayes across Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom.

Who is your main cast?

Rising star of London’s West End, Kit Esuruoso (“West Side Story,” “TINA The Musical,” “Show Boat”) has the lead role for which he was recently nominated as “Best Actor” by the Australian Screen and Industry Network Awards, There’s also Nigerian actress Jemima Osunde (“Shuga,” “The Delivery Boy”), Mark Coles Smith (“Last Cab to Darwin,” “Mystery Road”), Simon Elrahi and Pippa Grandison.

What inspired the story? How did it come about?

I fell in love with a Nigerian in London and began spending time with his family.  I am very well-travelled, but I’d never been to West Africa, so this led me to begin researching Nigeria and as a journalist with a specific interest in conflict resolution, this led me to discover the depth of the Boko Conflict – which is an ongoing conflict that has displaced over 3 million people and let to around 8 million people living with food instability. Nigerians are now one of the largest displaced peoples on the planet.  Women and girls continue to suffer and often bare the brunt of such conflicts, and so this research along with my unfolding real-life love affair led to the creation of AKONI. 

What makes this story unique and why should people watch it?

There are over 100 million people now currently displaced globally. That is the high number of displaced people in recorded history.  This means that there are over 100 million people looking for a safe place to settle, who are reliant on the compassion, kindness, empathy, understanding, and generosity of their fellow humans.  Akoni is a vessel that can help build understanding around this, and contribute to healing and unifying our global society.

What was the production process like?

This film was created with a very small crew who experienced the coldest of winters on Sydney streets and the hottest of dry seasons in West Africa.  It was an incredibly challenging and beyond ambitious task to create my beautiful and worthy debut feature film with limited financing across three continents with a skeleton crew and little to no resources.  I honestly don’t think it gets any more difficult than that for an independent first-time feature filmmaker.  But we did it, and it’s a beautiful film.  The lessons I learned were very hard lessons to learn, and the toll it took on me financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally – I am still recovering from all of this.  What I will say is that I am lucky enough to work with some of the best in the industry in Australia, Nigeria, Ghana, and the UK, and it is for that reason that our completed film is of the quality it is.  Personal shout out to the hundreds of people who loved me along the way and contributed to the creation of this film alongside me.

What was the most challenging part of bringing the project to light?

The most challenging part of this process for me was producing it all myself while simultaneously taking on all the other roles I had to take on in order due to budget constraints and in order to ensure success. It took a lot out of me, and it stretched me far beyond my limits, though on the positive side it taught me invaluable lessons that I would not have learned otherwise, and it brought many beautiful people into my life.

Did anything funny or exceptional happen on set?

Everything, always.  I believe the entire creation was exceptional, including all of the people I worked with who shared their exceptionally big hearts with AKONI.  When you have a grand film and a limited budget, its success requires a lot from your team – and every member of my international team gave to this film in ways that were consistently above and beyond.  And I am forever grateful.

What is the next step for the project?

We will be embarking upon our ‘AKONI’ Refugee Week Premiere Screenings Tour next week, and then releasing in select cinemas in Australia on June 30, New Zealand on July 14, and West Africa on August 11 alongside one of West Africa’s biggest distributors, FilmOne.  We will also be holding special fundraiser screenings along the way.  A little later in the year, we will look to platform releases.

Has it won any awards or had any big achievements yet?

Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Awards.

If you could redo anything in the process of the film itself, what would it be?

If I could redo anything…this is a difficult question because there’s a part of me who would change everything and make sure we had all the things that we didn’t have along the way, but then there’s also a part of me that believes we are all destined to travel the journey we travel.  And, the person I am today, with the strength, confidence, and solidified sense of self that I feel, I would not be this version of myself without the difficulties I have faced.  So, I guess the answer is … I don’t know, but as a woman and a female artist, I do love who I am becoming every day.

Details Revealed About Disney And Pixar’s Upcoming Feature Film “Elemental”

In a city where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together, a fiery young woman and a go-with-the-flow guy are about to discover something elemental: How much they actually have in common. Directed by Peter Sohn and produced by Denise Ream, Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental” releases June 16, 2023. Concept art by Sohn. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Pixar Animation Studios revealed details about its 27th feature film, Elemental, which will release on June 15, 2023. Directed by Peter Sohn (The Good Dinosaur,” “Partly Cloudy short) and produced by Denise Ream (The Good Dinosaur,” “Cars 2), the film journeys alongside an unlikely pair, Ember and Wade, in a city where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together. The fiery young woman and the go-with-the-flow guy are about to discover something elemental: how much they actually have in common. 

Elemental is an original film inspired by Sohns childhood in New York. My parents emigrated from Korea in the early 1970s and built a bustling grocery store in the Bronx, said the director. We were among many families who ventured to a new land with hopes and dreamsall of us mixing into one big salad bowl of cultures, languages, and beautiful little neighbourhoods. Thats what led me to Elemental. 

Our story is based on the classic elementsfire, water, land and air, Sohn continued. Some elements mix with each other, and some dont. What if these elements were alive?

Eric Bana And The Team Behind Box Office Hit The Dry Return For Force Of Nature

Made Up StoriesScreen Australia and VicScreen today announced that the team behind the box office smash hit and award-winning feature film The Dry return for the feature film adaptation of bestselling author Jane Harper’s Force of Nature, currently shooting in Victoria.

Eric Bana will reprise his role as Aaron Falk with Robert Connolly returning as writer and director. Bana will be joined by cast members Anna Torv (Mindhunter) as Alice Russell, Deborra-lee Furness (Jindabyne) as Jill Bailey, Robin McLeavy (Homeland) as Lauren, Sisi Stringer (Mortal Kombat) as Beth, Lucy Ansell (Utopia) as Bree and Jacqueline McKenzie (Romper Stomper) as Federal Agent Carmen Cooper.

Jeremy Lindsay-Taylor is back in the role of Erik Falk, alongside Richard Roxburgh as Daniel Bailey, Tony Briggs as Ian Chase and Kenneth Radley as Sergeant King.

Connolly said, “I’m so excited to return to the world of Detective Aaron Falk and to be able to work once again alongside Eric Bana, Made Up Stories and such an impressive creative team. We’re also delighted by the exceptional cast of established and emerging actors joining us on this journey. Jane Harper’s Force of Nature is a deeply emotional and thrilling story showcasing the extraordinary world and landscape of the Australian wilderness.”

Bana said, “I am thrilled and proud to have the opportunity to follow up our efforts on The Dry with Force of Nature. Jane has once again provided a thrilling story that gives us another chance to showcase a unique and incredible Australian landscape. Whilst it was always our dream to bring this story to the big screen, its fate always rested with the Australian cinemagoing public. Their overwhelming support of The Dry turns this into a reality.”

In Force of Nature, when five women take part in a corporate hiking retreat and only four come out on the other side, Federal Agents Aaron Falk and Carmen Cooper head deep into the Victorian mountain ranges to investigate in the hopes of finding their whistle-blowing informant, Alice Russell, alive.

Made Up Stories’ Bruna PapandreaJodi Matterson and Steve Hutensky are producing alongside Bana for Pick Up Truck Pictures and Connolly for Arenamedia. Ricci SwartAndrew Myer, Robert Patterson, Joel Pearlman and Edwina Waddy are executive producing.

Said producers Papandrea, Matterson and Hutensky: “We are delighted to be re-teaming with Rob, Eric, Roadshow, Screen Australia and VicScreen to bring another beloved Jane Harper novel to the big screen. Force of Nature is also a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase the talents of an amazing group of women in some of the most stunning landscapes in the country.”

The film has received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with VicScreen. It will be shot entirely in Victoria, primarily in the Dandenong Ranges, Yarra Valley and the Otways.

Screen Australia’s Head of Content Grainne Brunsdon said, “The Dry was an extraordinary success, reaching number one at the Australian box office and quickly becoming an Australian classic. We’re delighted to support this immensely talented team’s return for Force of Nature and deliver an enthralling Australian thriller. Starring some of Australia’s finest actors and set against the striking landscapes of Victoria, this film is set to be another cinematic event.”

Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said the Government’s $191.5 million VICSCREEN strategy was “bringing more productions to regional destinations and creating thousands of jobs across the state.”

“From Jane Harper winning the Premier’s Literary Award for The Dry to now having a second Victorian-made feature film in the works – this is a stunning Victorian creative success story that will inject $10 million into the state’s economy and showcase Victoria’s regions to the world.”

Force of Nature will be distributed by Roadshow Films in Australia and New Zealand. WME Independent is handling rest of world sales.

Production credit: Force of Nature is a Made Up Stories production in association with Arenamedia and Pick Up Truck Pictures. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with VicScreen. Financed with support from Soundfirm and Blue Post. Local distribution by Roadshow with rest of world sales by WME Independent.

Meet The Rising Star Behind The June 2022 Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: Sadia Nabila

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Sadia Nabila is a Bangladeshi Australian actress and model who has been in the modeling industry for over nine years. So far, she has done three full-featured films and a number of short films as well as TV commercials.

Her first film was a Bollywood film named Pareshaan Parinda (2018). Her latest film, which was recently released worldwide, was “Mission Extreme – part 1,” which is a sequel to one of Bangladesh’s highest-grossing films “Dhaka Attack (2017). Her next film, which is scheduled to be released within six months, is “Mission Extreme – part 2.”

She has been recently nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in Bangladesh called “Meril – Prothom Alo Award” in the “Best Actress” category. She has always believed in breaking the glass ceiling, trying to go one step closer every day. She wants to be a voice for all those women out there who are scared to follow their hearts; she also wants to be a voice for the South Asian women living in other countries; she wants them to know that you can still dream big and work towards your dream even though you are far away from your birthplace.

FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Sadia to discuss her journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your career?

My journey in the creative field started at a very young age. I still remember my very first stage performance at the age of 5. I was enrolled at both the dance and music academies back then, and I also had private lessons at home. Cultural activities have always been part of my life, and I genuinely loved every bit of it.

My parents have been my biggest supporters, so I would never have achieved all my things without them. They took me to all the local and national competitions, and I always had lots of shows going on at once. My father worked in defense, he made sure I was disciplined, and both mom and dad pushed me to get good marks in school and taught me time management skills, which were valuable when it came to all the competitions and other activities. I was attracted to the television industry from a very young age, and I used to tell my mom I wanted to be an actress when I grew up. My first modelling shoot was in year 10, I worked on some music video projects after that. When I was in uni (University of Canberra), I did multiple fashion shows, shoots, and other activities while teaching dance in a Bollywood dance school.

In 2017 I randomly took part in a beauty pageant, and I was crowned 1st runner up. Soon after that, I got an offer for a Bollywood film, “Pareshaan Parinda” – which was released in 2018. I worked in Bangladesh media, and I did several TVCs and short films. I am constantly traveling between Australia and Bangladesh, working in the industry.

In 2019, I got an offer to work in the Bangladeshi film “Mission Extreme” alongside Arifin Shuvoo; this film is the sequel to one of Bangladesh’s highest-grossing films, “Dhaka Attack” (2017). We shot the movie from 2019 through to 2020. “Mission Extreme” was released worldwide in December 2021. My next film, “Blackwar – Mission Extreme 2,” is scheduled to be released in six months. I have been recently nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in Bangladesh called “Meril – Prothom Alo Award” in the “Best Actress” category. Soon, I will be flying overseas for this event. As I said, I am constantly traveling back and forth (laughs).

What do you like most about acting?

Acting is magical to me. I love how I can use my creativity to turn into so many different people, connect to the audience and make it real. Acting requires me to use my imagination to bring the character out in a way that the audience can relate to; this power itself is incredible, and this feeling is so freeing and exciting. I think this is what I like most about acting.

What are your weak points when it comes to acting?

I feel like, at times, I am too hard on myself, and I let myself fall into the trap of seeking perfection. Even when I nail a scene, I tell myself I can do it better. I know some might think it’s a good thing, but it can sometimes be bad as well.

What are your strong points as an actor?

I think my strong points are that I am very hard working, give everything I have and don’t give up until I feel I have gotten the scene right. I have done shoots 24 hours straight without sleeping and left the set with a smile because I am always completely invested in my projects, and I give 100% in everything I do.

What have you learned from the directors you have worked with throughout your career?

I am a learner; I am always trying to learn something new from everyone. So over the years, I have always tried to gather as much knowledge as possible from my directors and improve my skills. The way they envision and expect you to bring a character to life, the mutual understanding itself is the key to making any project successful. If you don’t understand your director well, you can not execute their vision of your character, which will reflect on the screen. So before any project, I always have longer brainstorming sessions with my directors to prepare myself mentally. They have honestly helped me a lot to expand my knowledge.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

I think it varies from person to person. There are so many talented people out there. Only some people get the opportunity to come into the spotlight, and some don’t. So it’s a hustle and a bit of luck. However, once you are in the spotlight, you have to keep on hustling even more to hold onto your position because everyone will have high expectations, and you do not want to lose your position.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

I feel like it’s a process. A script requires an actor to become someone else, and you can’t make it happen overnight. There’s a lot of preparation involved. We need to read our scenes repeatedly so that they can sink in, and only then can we act naturally because we actually become the character itself. It takes a lot of brainstorming and can be time-consuming.

What do you do when you’re not filming?

With both modelling and acting, I actually have a very tight schedule. Other than that, I have a business in Canberra. Growing up, I always felt for the people with needs. So my company, “Innovative Support Solutions,” provides services to people with vulnerabilities and disabilities to empower them to reach their full potential as active community members. Plus, I love kids. So every now and then, whenever I get a chance, I try to spend time with the special needs children.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

In my latest film, I played a character I could relate to so much to myself. It was about a hard-working woman who loves her work so much but is pressured by her fiance to quit her job and get married and settle down, which is a shame. So in one of the scenes, she broke off her engagement and had a meltdown, thinking that things are so unfair for women in some societies. I saw many people cry in the theatre during that particular scene. Many people have written on social media about my character. They can also relate so much that I have gotten hundreds of messages after the movie’s release, and everyone praised my acting. Some said they wanted to be like me one day, and that made me so happy and emotional at the same time. I guess that’s the most memorable experience of my career so far.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I find people fascinating. As I said, I like to learn from everyone. So it’s interesting how every person I meet is different from the other. I never really had an idol, I am just constantly learning and growing, and every single person I have met in my journey has taught me something and left some impact on my life.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

Not sure (laughs); I would love that to be played by someone who completely understands my journey and can portray it accurately. Not just focus on my achievements but all the obstacles I had to go through to get to where I am now. The whole team will have to have a pretty long brainstorming meeting with me at the beginning stages (laughs).

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I believe in hard work and destiny, and I know I will always be in show business. I have always listened to my heart and followed my dreams. Life is too short to be unhappy doing things we don’t want to do. I never tried or wanted to live my life how others wanted or expected. I am living my best life because this is what I chose for myself. I want to keep working hard the same way because I always believed our future depends on what we do in the present.

Top Gun: Maverick Takes Flight At The 75th Annual Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 18: Thierry Fremaux, Joseph Kosinski, Lewis Pullman, Jerry Bruckheimer, Greg Tarzan Davis, Miles Teller, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Jay Ellis attend the screening of “Top Gun: Maverick” during the 75th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 18, 2022 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Tom Cruise, and co-stars Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman, Greg Tarzan Davis, along with filmmakers Joe Kosinski, Jerry Bruckheimer & Christopher McQuarrie attend the 75th Annual Cannes Film Festival.

Check out the photos from the red carpet below courtesy of Emily McCammon of Paramount.

CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 18: Joseph Kosinski, Lewis Pullman, Jerry Bruckheimer, Greg Tarzan Davis, Christopher McQuarrie, Miles Teller, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Jay Ellis and Christopher McQuarrie and Danny Ramirez attend the screening of “Top Gun: Maverick” during the 75th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 18, 2022 in Cannes, France. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of TOPGUN graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.”

Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.

Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman, Greg Tarzan Davis, Joe Kosinski, Jerry Bruckheimer, Christopher McQuarrie, poses for “Top Gun: Maverick” cast photos during the 75th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 18, 2022 in Cannes, France.
Tom Cruise poses for “Top Gun: Maverick” cast photos during the 75th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 18, 2022 in Cannes, France.
CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 18: Jennifer Connelly and Tom Cruise attend the screening of “Top Gun: Maverick” during the 75th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 18, 2022 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

The 2022 Sydney Film Festival Has Just Announced Its Full 2022 Lineup And It’s IMPRESSIVE

Sydney Film Festival’s full program is officially here! You can now explore over 200+ films from June 8-19, with cinema from around the world sure to captivate, delight, and shock.   

Catch Australian and International films and documentaries directed by and starring women across our entire program. Watch incredible Australian films such as THE SWEETNESS, nominated for a Documentary Australia award, and SERIOUSLY RED, directed by Gracie Otto in her feature-length debut. Don’t miss the Europe! Voices of Women in Film program strand, dedicated to women directors and their stories. Watch LOVING HIGHSMITH, BLUE MOON, and GIRL PICTURE, only in the cinema, only at SFF. 

You can explore the program and book your tickets via this link. 

Don’t miss the Europe! Voices of Women program via this link.

Searchlight Pictures’ “Fire Island” To Premiere On Disney+ On June 17

Disney+ announced that Searchlight Pictures film FIRE ISLAND, the directorial debut from Andrew Ahn, will premiere on Disney+ under the Star banner in Australia on June 17. 

Set in the gay vacation destination off of Long Island, New York, FIRE ISLAND is an unapologetic, modern day romantic comedy showcasing a diverse, multicultural examination of queerness and romance. Inspired by the timeless pursuits from Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, the story centers around two best friends (Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang) who set out to have a legendary summer adventure with the help of cheap rosé and their cadre of eclectic friends. 

FIRE ISLAND, directed by Andrew Ahn, stars Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Margaret Cho, Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, Matt Rogers, Tomas Matos, Torian Miller, Nick Adams, Zane Phillips, Michael Graceffa, Peter Smith, and Bradley Gibson. From a screenplay by Joel Kim Booster, the film is produced by Tony Hernandez, John Hodges, and Brooke Posch of JAX Media, and was shot on location in the Pines, NY. 

FIRE ISLAND will have its Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival on June 9th, 2022. 

Robust parental controls ensure that Disney+ remains a suitable viewing experience for everyone in the family. Subscribers can set access limits on mature content and create PIN-protected profiles alongside the already existing Kids Profiles to give parents and guardians peace of mind.

#DisneyPlus @DisneyPlusAU

Disney+ Releases Trailer For Marvel Studios’ “She-Hulk: Attorney At Law” Premiering August 17

Disney+ has released a new trailer and key art for Marvel Studios’ “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.” Streaming exclusively on Disney+ beginning August 17, the new comedy series stars Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who specialises in superhuman-oriented legal cases.  Executive producer Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios and chief creative officer of Marvel, welcomed Tatiana Maslany to The Walt Disney Company’s 2022 Upfront presentation this afternoon at Basketball City on Pier 36 in New York. The pair shared details about the upcoming series, including the August 17 launch date, and debuted the new trailer for attendees.  Directed by Kat Coiro (Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9) and Anu Valia (Episodes 5, 6, 7) with Jessica Gao as head writer, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” follows Jennifer Walters as she navigates the complicated life of a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk. The nine-episode series welcomes a host of MCU vets, including Mark Ruffalo as Smart Hulk, Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/the Abomination, and Benedict Wong as Wong. The cast also includes Ginger Gonzaga, Josh Segarra, Jameela Jamil, Jon Bass and Renée Elise Goldsberry. Executive producers are Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Kat Coiro and Jessica Gao. Co-executive producers are Wendy Jacobson and Jennifer Booth.