Glendyn Ivins Penguin Bloom, the adaptation of Bradley Trevor Greive and Cameron Bloom's novel with Naomi Watts, Andrew Lincoln and Jacki Weaver from The Walking Dead, premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The drama by Emma Cooper, Watts and Bruna Papandrea by Made Up Stories, Jodi Matterson and Steve Hutensky is one of the 50 films in the cast.
The 45th edition of the festival takes place from September 10th to 19th and is a combination of physical, socially distant demonstrations, drive-ins, digital demonstrations, virtual red carpets, press conferences and industry talks.
The film was written by Shaun Grant and Harry Cripps and follows Watts as Sam Bloom, a young Sydney woman who broke her back after a railing tore and fell six feet on a concrete floor when she and her family in 2013 vacationed in Thailand.
After being diagnosed as a paraplegic, she slipped into depression and hopelessness until her son Noah found a frail, injured magpie chick. By taking care of the little bird that the Penguin family called because of their black and white plumage, they regained their strength and self-confidence.
Lincoln is Cameron Bloom, Sam's husband and Weaver is her mother Jan. Newcomers Griffin Murray-Johnston, Felix Cameron and Abe Clifford-Barr, discovered by casting directors Kirsty McGregor and Stevie Ray in a nationwide search, play the children the bloom.
The cast is rounded off by Rachel House as Sam's kiwi kayak trainer Gaye Hatfield, Leeanna Walsman as Sam's sister Kylie and Lisa Hensley as her friend Bron.
"It's a special story, a moving and hopeful film," says Ivin, whose Last Ride premiered in Toronto in 2009. "I was afraid that Penguin Bloom would not get a major festival show after so many were canceled or postponed."
"I am happy that we have a place under 50 features, especially given the selectivity of the organizers."
Alt.vfx handled over 200 recordings for the film, including highly detailed feathers and care for a CG magpie – the "penguin" in the film's title.
Roadshow Films will launch the film on January 1st. Endeavor Content takes care of international sales. Screen Australia, with the support of Create NSW, made large production investments.
"The film is made for a wide audience," added Ivin. "It is not a family film, but a film that you can take your family with."
The full story and the festival can be found at INSIDE FILM.