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La Biennale di Venezia

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Cinema

The Furnace

Orizzonti

Director:
Roderick MacKay
Production:
Southern Light Films (Timothy White), The Koop (Tenille Kennedy)
Running Time:
116’
Language:
English, Badimaya, Pashto, Punjabi, Cantonese
Country:
Australia
Main Cast:
Ahmed Malek, David Wenham, Baykali Ganambarr, Jay Ryan, Erik Thomson, Trevor Jamieson, Samson Coulter, Wakara Gondarra, Mahesh Jadu, Osamah Sami, Goran D Kleut
Screenplay:
Roderick MacKay
Cinematographer:
Michael McDermott
Editor:
Merlin Eden
Production Designer:
Clayton Jauncey
Costume Designer:
Lisa Gunning Galea
Music:
Mark Bradshaw
Sound:
David Raines, Nick Gallagher

synopsis

1897 Western Australia. To escape a harsh existence and return home, a young Afghan cameleer partners with a mysterious bushman on the run with two 400oz Crown-marked gold bars. Together the unlikely pair must outwit a zealous police sergeant and his troopers in a race to reach a secret furnace—the one place where they can safely reset the bars to remove the mark of the Crown. The film is an unlikely hero’s tale, navigating greed and the search for identity in a new land. It illuminates the forgotten history of Australia’s “Ghan” cameleers, predominantly Muslim and Sikh men from India, Afghanistan and Persia, who opened up the Nation’s desert interior, thereby forming unique bonds with local Aboriginal people.

director's statement

Today, Australia has the world’s largest wild camel population. Yet, most Australians do not know that, from the 1860s, The British Empire imported camels and handlers from Afghanistan, India and Persia to open up Australia’s desert interior. These Islamic, Sikh and Hindu men provided the main form of exploration and freight transport between colonies and gold mining camps. They were vital to the nation’s formation, yet experienced much prejudice and were often coerced into indentured labour. The Furnace is a revisionist frontier mythology that weaves this forgotten history into the tapestry of the Outback. It is my hope that this film enacts a more inclusive sense of Australian identity.

PRODUCERS/DISTRIBUTORS

PRODUCTION 1: Timothy White – Southern Light Films
70 Regent Street
2021 – Paddington, Australia
Tel. +61 416 190 590
tw@southernlightfilms.com
www.southernlightfilms.com/

PRODUCTION 2: Tenille Kennedy – The Koop
43 Grosvenor Road
6050 – Mt Lawley, Australia
Tel. +61 402 455 737
tenillekennedy@me.com
www.thekoop.com.au/

WORLD SALES: Lina Marrone – Arclight Film
Tel. +1 416 5691224
Lina@arclightfilms.com

PRESS OFFICE: Premier
THEFURNACE@premiercomms.com


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