THE Australian film based on the true story of an indigenous girl band singing Motown classics, The Sapphires, has been selected as part of the official selection at the upcoming 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

It is the only Australian feature film selected for this year’s festival and will receive a special gala screening out of competition at The Palais during the May event.

The precedents are good: both Strictly Ballroom and The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert premiered in out of competition gala screenings at Cannes in 1992 and 1994 respectively.

The film stars Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy and newcomers Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell as four singers discovered on a remote Aboriginal mission who turned into Australia’s answer to The Supremes and visited Vietnam to entertain the troops.

Bridesmaids’ Chris O’Dowd also stars as the agent who finds the singers.
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It is the feature directorial debut of Wayne Blair and is adapted from the original play by Tony Briggs and Keith Thompson.

The play debuted at the Melbourne Theatre Company in 2004 before playing Sydney’s Company B in 2005. It won the 2005 Helpmann Awards for best play and best new Australian work.

“It’s a beautiful position to be in,” Blair said in a statement. “Getting into Cannes is a great reward for our team’s hard toil.”

The Sapphires is produced by Goalpost Pictures’ Rosemary Blight and Kylie du Fresne.

“The Sapphires is the kind of film that comes along once in a lifetime,” they said. “From the moment we first heard of these amazing young Aboriginal women, we knew the story of how they discovered soul music and dared to live their dream had all the ingredients to captivate and enchant cinema audiences.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be screening The Sapphires in Cannes and taking this film to the world. It is a wonderful acknowledgement of the extraordinary work of the cast and crew led so magnificently by director Wayne Blair.

Hopscotch Films/Entertainment One will release The Sapphires in August 2012. It is produced in association with Screen Australia and Screen NSW with the support of E-Film Australia, IFS Capital and EFIC.


Artist: Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell, Jessica Mauboy, Deborah Mailman

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Tags: 2012 Cannes Film Festival , Deborah Mailman , E-Film Australia , EFIC , IFS Capital , Jessica Mauboy , Miranda Tapsell , Screen Australia , Screen NSW , Shari Sebbens , The Sapphires ,