From Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger in 2008 to the eventual Australian blockbuster Red Dog in 2011 and the Kiwi blockbuster Boy in 2010, the Berlin Festival's Generations section devoted to stories focusing on young'uns perhaps leaves Berlin's official competition for dead when it comes to the quality of films.
This year there will be two Australian entries: Kim Mordaunt's The Rocket will have its world premiere in the Generation Kplus, as will Catriona McKenzie's wonderfully moving Satellite Boy (watch the trailer below), which this month had its Australian premiere at the Perth Film Festival (after its world premiere in Toronto last year). The latter, which follows the journey of a young West Australian boy to save his home in the Kimberley town of Wyndham, introduces the astounding 12-year-old newcomer Cameron Wallaby alongside national treasure David Gulpilil. It's bound to be a hit when it releases here in April/May through Hopscotch.
The Rocket (pictured top), meanwhile, follows a little boy called Ahlo who is believed to bring bad luck and leads his family and a couple of ragged misfits through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity-filled journey through a land scarred by war, in a bid to prove he's not cursed, he builds a giant rocket to enter the most lucrative but dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival.
[ Related: Blog – The Rocket lifts the lid on Laos ]
Following its premiere in Sundance, the New Zealand film Shopping will screen in Berlin's Generation 14plus for older kids. Financed by the New Zealand Film Commission it was produced via Australia's Warp Films, specifically Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw, who had huge international success with the Cannes-awarded Snowtown. Directed by Louis Sutherland and Mark Albiston, Shopping follows two half-Samoan brothers who have fallen under the influence of a gang leader, played by Australia's Jacek Koman.