We acknowledge Australia’s First Nations People as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land, and pay respect to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, upon whose Country SFF are based.
We honour the storytelling and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

The New Boy

Directed by Warwick Thornton
116 minutes
Warwick Thornton’s Cannes-selected new film stars Cate Blanchett, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair and newcomer Aswan Reid in a beguiling story of spirituality and survival set in 1940s Australia.
Warwick Thornton’s (Samson and Delilah; We Don’t Need a Map, SFF 2017; Sweet Country) Cannes-selected new film stars Cate Blanchett, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair and newcomer Aswan Reid in a beguiling story of spirituality and survival set in 1940s Australia. In an exhilarating start to the film, a brave Aboriginal boy (Reid) is engaged in a battle with police, fighting with all his might. Eventually subdued, he is sent off to a remote monastery – and home to orphaned boys – run by Sister Eileen (Blanchett). The kindly nun has a calming effect on the new boy, and he also forms connections with Sister Mum (Mailman) and George (Blair) who manages the farmlands. An attempt at bullying the new boy falls flat, and he soon becomes an established, unique presence at the monastery. But he possesses unusual powers, and as Sister Eileen’s religious zeal intensifies, things begin to unravel. Thornton’s elegant and concise storytelling is augmented with spectacular images and a uniformly superb cast – including a group of very promising actors playing the boys at the monastery. But it is the magnetic on-screen presence of young Aswan Reid that astonishes. A film of great symbolism and impact, The New Boy finds Thornton at the height of his cinematic powers: it is intoxicating and magical.

The New Boy is also screening at our Opening Night Gala, 7pm, Wednesday 7 June.
... ambitious, visually lustrous fable
cinematic magic
Screen Daily

Special Guests

Warwick Thornton
Warwick Thornton was born and raised in Alice Springs. His short films Green Bush (SFF 2005) and Nana (SFF 2007) premiered at Berlinale. His debut Samson and Delilah won the 2009 Cannes Camera d'Or. Other films as director: The Darkside (2013), We Don't Need a Map (SFF 2017) and Sweet Country (2017).
Kath Shelper
Kath Shelper is the producer of many award-winning films including Samson & Delilah, which won the prestigious Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. In 2013, she finished another feature film with Warwick Thornton, The Darkside, which screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. Kath also produced Beck Cole's debut feature, Here I Am, and her short film, Plains Empty (Sundance 2005), plus many other short films. She also produced two chapters of The Turning feature film project (directors Warwick Thornton and Mia Wasikowska), and Warwick's contribution to the Guillermo Arriaga omnibus, Words with Gods.


Sat 10 Jun
State Theatre
Assisted Listening
Past Event Cancel
Sun 11 Jun
State Theatre
Assisted Listening
Past Event Cancel
Program Strand
Official Competition, First Nations
In English
Warwick Thornton
Kath Shelper, Andrew Upton, Cate Blanchett, Lorenzo De Maio
Cate Blanchett, Aswan Reid, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair
Warwick Thornton
Australian Premiere
First Nations, Australian Films, Cannes Selected, Religion & Belief
Company Credits
Australian Distributor: Roadshow Films
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