Kangaroo: Northern Territory attracts feature film production from STUDIOCANAL

Kangaroo is based on the life of Chris Barnes, who founded the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs.

Major International film production and distribution company STUDIOCANAL has slated its first-ever Australian feature, Kangaroo, to start production next year.

The news follows the opening of STUDIOCANAL’s Australian production arm, Cultivator Films Australia, led by STUDIOCANAL Australia and New Zealand CEO Elizabeth Trotman.

Kangaroo is a Northern Territory-inspired story based on Chris Barnes, aka ‘Brolga’, who is the founder of the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs. It will shoot in Alice Springs, where it is expected by the local government to inject a significant amount of production spend into the local Northern Territory economy, benefitting Alice Springs local businesses, hospitality and accommodation sectors. 

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The film will be co-produced by Alice Springs-based Brindle Films (MaveriX, Finke: There and Back) in partnership with Sydney-based Bunya Productions (Mystery Road, Sweet Country, True Colours, High Ground).

‘Screen Territory is proud to support local stories for international audiences and the aligning of these incredible teams in STUDIOCANAL, Brindle Films and Bunya Productions signifies the strong pull the Northen Territory’s unique locations and narratives have on producers and audiences, said Ms Jennie Hughes, Director of Screen Territory.

‘Kangaroo is a testament to the positive outcomes of the PAIP, which continues to grow and develop film and television production in the Northern Territory.  Sydney based Bunya Productions and Alice Springs based Brindle Films will join forces for the first time.  They are both highly experienced producers and we cannot wait to see what this formidable partnership brings to the screen.  We are also delighted to be collaborating again with the team at Screen NSW in bringing this film to audiences around the world.’

Kangaroo will also film in NSW, with the second half of the shoot expected to begin in mid-2024. The NSW Government is supporting Kangaroo through Screen NSW’s Made in NSW Fund, with the production set to deliver significant economic, employment and training benefits to the state.

The film features a screenplay written by Harry Cripps (The Dry, Back to the Outback and Penguin Bloom) and direction from Kate Woods (The Lincoln Lawyer, The Umbrella Academy, The Good Lord Bird, Looking for Alibrandi). Woods will return to Australia to direct the film with Eastern Arrernte emerging director Samantha Laughton as a director’s attachment.

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‘I am thrilled to be back in Australia working with STUDIOCANAL and such prestigious producers as Bunya and Brindle to bring this story of literally the symbol of Australia to life,’ Director Kate Woods said.

‘I am so excited by the cast and crew who are coming on board, and to be filming in such a beautiful and iconic part of our country as the Northern Territory’.

STUDIOCANAL will release Kangaroo theatrically in Australia and New Zealand and is the distributor for the international market.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports