Jimpa: First look at Sophie Hyde’s new film

Olivia Colman and John Lithgow star alongside the writer-director's own child, Aud Mason-Hyde in an intimate but international family story.
John Lithgow and Olivia Colman in Sophie Hyde's Jimpa

Jimpa, a story about a multi-generational family and their transitioning non-binary teen, is the latest Australian project from acclaimed Australian writer-director Sophie Hyde, whose international credits include Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022) and Animals (2019).

Starring Academy-Award Winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite) and Golden Globe Winner John Lithgow (Killers Of The Flower Moon), as well as Hyde’s own child, Aud Mason-Hyde, in their feature debut, Jimpa is currently entering its third week of production in Amsterdam. Further filming will take place in coming months in Hyde’s hometown of Adelaide, Australia, and then in Helsinki, Finland.

Jimpa is described as ‘a heartfelt and uplifting multi-generational family story. Hannah (Colman) takes her trans non-binary teenager Frances (Aud Mason-Hyde) to Amsterdam, to visit their gay grandfather ‘Jimpa’ (Lithgow). But Frances’ desire to stay with Jimpa for a year abroad means Hannah is forced to re-consider her beliefs about parenting and finally confront old stories about the past.’

Read: Animals director Sophie Hyde on character, rehearsal and bestie power

Sophie Hyde’s credits include the groundbreaking Adelaide-shot film 52 Tuesdays (2013), about a transitioning parent and the way this impacts on a teenage daughter (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), so Jimpa (co-written with Matthew Cormack) feels like it is building on that subject matter experience, as well as Hyde’s own family dynamic.

Hyde said: ‘I feel privileged to be able to make this film and to be working again with so many collaborators I know and trust, while creating wonderful new relationships with a superb cast and crew including Olivia, John and Aud.

‘I am thrilled to have them by my side. This story is a very personal one, and making it is filled with some sadness and a lot of joy.

‘I’m particularly treasuring that I get to work with my child Aud in their feature film debut. The stories we tell help us work out who we want to be, and this one is filled with warmth, humour, love and joy. I’m delighted to be making it.’

Hyde is also producing alongside Liam Heyen, Marleen Slot, Bryan Mason, and co-producer Cyna Strachan. Executive producers are Mason-Hyde, Sue Maslin, Troy Lum, Ester Harding, and Michael Agar executive producing.

The cast of Jimpa also includes Daniel Henshall (The Royal Hotel), Kate Box (Erotic Stories), Eamon Farren (The Witcher), Cody Fern (American Horror Story), Tilda Cobham-Hervey (I Am Woman), Deborah Kennedy (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart), Hans Kesting (Nr. 10), Zoë Love Smith (Skam NL), Romana Vrede (I Don’t Wanna Dance), Jean Janssens (Campus 12), and Frank Sanders (The Rozettes musical).

The creative team includes editor Bryan Mason (Hyde’s partner and father of Aud Mason-Hyde), DOP Matthew Chuang, production designer Bethany Ryan and costume designer Renate Henschke.

Protagonist Pictures will be launching the international sales of Jimpa in Cannes this month, and CAA Media Finance, which helped arrange financing for the film, will be repping North American rights. Kismet are distributing in Australia and New Zealand, with Kismet’s Troy Lum saying, ‘We fell in love with the script which is filled with pathos, heartbreak and joy. We know that Sophie will do an amazing job and we look forward to bringing JIMPA to the cinema.’

Jimpa received major production investment from Screen Australia and Align (which was also a collaborator on Good Luck to You, Leo Grande).

Protagonist Pictures’ CEO Dave Bishop said: ‘Time and time again we see when a special filmmaker with a unique vision crafts a film that can truly breakthrough and connect with audiences, just like Sophie achieved with Good Luck To You Leo Grande … Having Olivia and John rounding out such a talented cast, we know she will do the same with Jimpa.’

Producer Liam Heyen (SBS Erotic Stories) said: ‘For a long time I have admired Sophie’s directorial ability to tell intimate stories with scale and audience appeal, so it’s an immense privilege to be working alongside her to bring JIMPA to life. I strive to produce work that portrays members of the LBGTQI+ community as real, flawed and worthy people and explore the contradiction that our lives have both everything and nothing to do with our gender identity or sexuality. Matt and Sophie have crafted such a script with charming, complex characters and I can’t wait for audiences around the world to meet them.’

Production Credit: Jimpa is a Closer Films, Mad Ones Films and Viking Film production. Major production investment from Screen Australia and Align with the support of Netherlands Film Fund and the Netherlands Film Production Incentive. Financed in association with The Finnish Impact Film Fund, Aurora Studios, Cinéart, The South Australian Film Corporation, Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund and Mind The Gap Film Finance. Further financing provided by Kojo, Closer Films and Mad Ones Films. ANZ distribution by Kismet and The Unquiet Collective, and Cinéart is distributing in the Benelux region. International sales by Protagonist Pictures and CAA for North America. Developed with assistance of Screen Australia and the South Australian Film Corporation.

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk