UTA has brought on director, screenwriter and cinematographer Warwick Thornton, whose western drama, Sweet Country, starring Sam Neill and Bryan Brown, nabbed the Platform Prize at the Toronto Film Festival, just after he was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. The period film is about an Aboriginal stockman, accused of murder, and his wife on the run from a fervent posse in the harsh outback of the Northern Territory. A native of Central Australia, Thornton has worked on several shorts, documentaries, and features. His debut film, Sampson and Delilah, previously won the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Also, out of TIFF, LINK Entertainment has signed South African director Khalo Matabane and Vienna-born filmmaker Vicente Amorim. At the fest, Matabane debuted his film, The Number, based on gang defector Magadien Wentzel, about South Africa’s most dangerous prison gang and a high-ranking member, who begins to question his allegiance after a young recruit is brutally murdered. Matabane also wrote, directed and produced the documentary Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me, as well as features Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon and State of Violence, both of which have previously played at Toronto.
Amorim’s dark thriller Motorrad, had its world premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema section of the fest. It follows a gang of young dirt-bikers on a ride across an isolated region of Brazil, who find themselves being hunted by a machete-wielding band of motorcyclists with the intent to kill. Amorim, who was raised in Brazil and got his start directing commericals and music videos, has directed previous Toronto selections The Middle of the World and Good.