Spotlight: Make it Australian Campaign Launch For 2022

SPA launched the Make it Australian campaign in 2017 alongside the ADG, AWG, and MEAA with one objective – they want to see a vibrant and sustainable screen sector that continues to play an important role in our economic, social, and cultural life. They ask their supporters to take action by emailing their federal MP and Senators to lobby for strong rules and support for Australian stories on our screens.

The panel members at Make it Australian included:

Matthew Deaner (SPA CEO)
Leah Purcell (Actor, Director, Producer, Writer)
Moderator: Van Badham (Writer, Activist)
Panel member: Kriv Stenders (Director)
Panel member: Monica O’Brien (Producer, Writer, Director)
Panel closer: Gillian Armstrong (Director)

The event was held on Thursday, 09 June 2022 at the Sydney Film Festival Hub @ Lower Town Hall, 483 George St., Sydney NSW 2000. FilmCentral Magazine’s very own Yolandi Franken along with Andy Trieu, J’ma, and Chase Lee came to support the Make it Australian campaign in full force.

The Release Date For What’s Love Got To Do With It? Has Just Been Unveiled


How do you find lasting love in today’s world? For documentary filmmaker Zoe (Lily James), swiping right to find Mr Right has only delivered bad dates and funny anecdotes, much to her opinionated mother Cath’s (Emma Thompson) dismay. For her childhood friend and neighbour Kazim (Shazad Latif),

the answer is to follow his parents’ example and opt for an assisted marriage with a bright and beautiful bride from Pakistan. As Zoe films his hopeful journey from London to Lahore to marry a stranger, chosen by his parents, she begins to wonder if she might have something to learn from a different approach to finding love.

Release Date: February 2

Cast: Lily James, Shazad Latif, Emma Thompson, Sajal Aly, Shabana Azmi, Asim Chaudhry, Mim Shaikh, Jeff Mirza, Iman Boujelouah, Mariam Haque, Sindhu Vee

Directed By: Shekhar Kapur

Written By: Jemima Khan

Produced By: Working Title Films; Jemima Khan’s Instinct Productions

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.

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)


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