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MARTHA'S NEW COAT

Australia, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Australian Showcase)

Director: Rachel Ward

15-year-old Martha lives in a small, inland, rural town with her mother and younger sister Elsie. Things are bleak in the town; shops are closing down, people are leaving in droves and there is nothing for teenagers to do, except hang around the local park, drinking,

It's Martha's birthday, but it doesn't turn out to be the day of celebration that she'd hoped for; a girl at school wants to beat her up, her mother virtually ignores her; and her father who left some time ago, doesn't call to wish her a happy birthday. Determined to make it a memorable day, Martha decides to leave town with a reluctant Elsie and seek some excitement on the coast.

This perceptive and entertaining new film from director Rachel Ward (The Big House) and producer Liz Watts (Walking on Water, MIFF 2002) is spearheaded by instinctive performances from its young lead actors, Matilda Brown (Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown's daughter) and Alycia Debnam-Carey, who co-star with Lisa Hensley and Daniel Wylie.

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