Emu Runner PG
An intimate and uplifting coming-of-age drama, this Indigenous tale of community, culture and coping with tragedy is the result of a 15-year collaboration between first-time Australian director Imogen Thomas and the people of Brewarrina in New South Wales.
When nine-year-old Gem Daniels loses her mother, she feels as if no one understands her pain – not her similarly grieving father (Wayne Blair, director of MIFF 2012’s The Sapphires), her well-meaning teachers nor the inexperienced social worker dispatched to discover why she’s skipping school. Instead, the spirited girl only feels at ease with a wild emu, forging a rewarding bond with her ancestors’ traditional totem animal.
From its eye-catching landscape, to its tender narrative, to the charismatic performance from newcomer Rhae-Kye Waites as Gem, Emu Runner is a standout local drama for all ages, spinning a tale both specific in its exploration of Australia’s race relations and universal in its emotions.
“The film is so beautifully made – deceptively simple and yet with so many resonant layers of meaning. The photography is beautiful, and the script is spare, making every word meaningful.”– Jane Schoettle, international programmer, Toronto International Film Festival