Skip to main content


Australia, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Australian Showcase)

Director: Michael Cordell

A lyrical underwater sequence lures us into this enchanting tale of a vivacious and headstrong woman who was fearlessly ahead of her time.The achievements of Australian pioneer Annette Kellerman—swimmer, diver, vaudeville entertainer, silent movie star and lifestyle guru—are inspiring, in fact almost beyond belief.

Learning to swim to recover from a childhood bout of rickets, Kellerman soon learnt that her impressive dives and swimming strokes could entertain people. She also began distance swimming, conquering the Yarra, the Thames, the Seine, and eventually the English Channel. Moving into hugely successful vaudeville spectaculars and silent movies, Kellerman was, in the 1910s and 20s, one of the most famous women on earth. In the 1950s, Hollywood even honoured her with a biopic, Million Dollar Mermaid (starring Esther Williams).

Supported by some delightful, restored footage from her life, filmmaker Michael Cordell has created a fascinating picture of another era and a woman who forged her own path through it. Annette's boundless determination and her joyous relationship with water is not so widely known today.This vibrant and touching film is a timely celebration of a wonderful character.

See also...


Music and Murder follows the story of three ostensibly ordinary men who, we discover, have been incarcerated for horrific murders. Whilst in prison, they have each become accomplished musicians. As ... More »

The Gordon Splits

A look at two spectacular gorges on the Gordon River in South West Tasmania, filmed for the first time. ... More »


Melbourne stand-up comic Roy Höllsdotter is enjoying popularity, regular bookings and plenty of laughs. His routines leave the crowds rolling on beer-splashed carpet at his weekly gig but his ... More »


Only two generations ago, India was divided into hundteds of feudal kingdoms ruled by princes. Even under British rule they had the power of life and death over their subjects. Upon India's ... More »


In Unit 6B at Platypus Rise Flats, two hardened and damaged women living on a diet of soapies, sarcasm and frustration are about to reach breaking point. A bad day becomes worse by the hour and to ... More »


On recently finishing his lead role in The Tracker (MIFF Opening Night film), David Gulpilil returned to the Yolgnu clan in Arnhem Land in Northern Australia, where his tribal status necessitates ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director