The first, The Dressmaker, is an adaptation of Rosalie Ham's bestselling gothic revenge novel about Tilly Dunnage, a woman who returns from Europe to the remote Australian hometown she fled as a child with revenge in mind. Kate Winslet (The Reader) will play the titular talented couture dressmaker that also yearns to make amends with her eccentric mother Molly (veteran Judy Davis).
Described as 'Unforgiven with a sewing machine' by writer-director Jocelyn Moorhouse (Proof, How to Make An American Quilt), the comical drama will be produced by Sue Maslin (Japanese Story), shot by Don McAlpine (My Brilliant Career, Moulin Rouge!), edited by Jill Bilcock (Road to Perdition), with production design by Roger Ford (Babe, The Quiet American). The Dressmaker will be distributed locally by Universal Pictures.
Intended to be a Canadian/Australian co-production, Rest Home is a marital drama that crosses cultures and generations and questions whether a marriage can survive infidelity. Michael Rowe (Leap Year) is the writer-director, with Trish Lake (Show Me the Magic, My America) and Serge Noël as producers and Dan Lake co-producing. Rialto is the Australian distributor with Pyramide handling international sales.
Finally, rising talent Ben Chessell (Little Deaths, Offspring; pictured) is directing Sucker, from his screenplay collaboration with local actor Lawrence Leung (House Husbands). Sucker concerns an 18-year-old Chinese Australian man on the cusp of adulthood who learns about life from a veteran conman and about love from his daughter.
“It's an adaptation of a fantastic stand-up show I saw in 2001,” says Chessell. “The story is not only highly entertaining and funny but fascinating and intriguing and I knew straight away it would form the basis for a great movie.”
The writer-director considers how the film will appeal to a wider audience. “It's a flavoursome genre mash-up with diverse story threads: It's a love story, a road movie, a con movie, a card movie, a comedy and a coming of age story all in one,” he says. “The story takes place in both urban and rural Australian locations with plenty of scenes on the road, in cheap motels, country pubs and at high stakes poker games. One of the many things we're looking forward to is fresh images of an Asian Australian character in an Australian country setting.”
Sucker will be produced by Robyn Kershaw (Bran Nue Dae, Save Your Legs!) and Jason Byrne (Rats and Cats), co-produced by Jocelyn Quioc (Rabbit-Proof Fence) and distributed locally by Madman Entertainment.