Australia has a feature film set to screen in Cannes after all, with the late inclusion of Wayne Blair's The Sapphires, screening out of competition.
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30 Apr 2012 - 10:01 PM  UPDATED 30 Apr 2012 - 10:01 PM

Wayne Blair's indigenous soul singer drama The Sapphires will have its premiere at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, with organisers of the festival adding the film as a late addition to the Official Selection of this year's event, which commences on May 16.

The Sapphires will receive a gala premiere in an out of competition slot, and marks the only Australian feature film to be selected at this year's festival.

Directed by Wayne Blair and starring Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Chris O'Dowd and introducing Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell, The Sapphires is inspired by the story of four talented singers from a remote Aboriginal mission who are discovered by an unlikely talent scout (O'Dowd). Plucked from obscurity and branded as Australia's answer to The Supremes, The Sapphires grasp the chance of a lifetime when they're offered their first real gig – entertaining the troops in Vietnam. For the girls, a whole new world of sex, war, politics and soul opens before them.

The film is an adaptation of Tony Briggs' successful stage musical of the same name. Briggs collaborated with scriptwriter Keith Thompson (Clubland) to bring his story of his mother's own experiences, to the screen.

In a statement, Blair said the Cannes honour was “a beautiful position to be in. 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 who commented: “The Sapphires is the kind of film that comes along once in a lifetime. 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.

Hopscotch Films/Entertainment One will release The Sapphires in August 2012.