Film, says Australian director Catriona McKenzie, is a metaphor for life: “It’s not chance that stories have a similar structure. There is a common experience buried somewhere, to be enjoyed, questioned, rejected.” “Satellite Boy,” McKenzie’s first feature, tells the story of Pete, a rebellious young Aboriginal boy living with his grandfather in the Australian outback. When developers threaten the abandoned outdoor cinema where they live, Pete sets off across the desert in search of rescue for his home. Lost in the bush along the way, Pete must use the skills his grandfather taught him — and which Pete did his best to reject — to save himself. The experience, McKenzie says, forces the youngster to “reassess what matters.”
What did you aim to accomplish with this story? “To explore the nature of true love between the generations. [The film is] about love, the connections it forges, about homeland, ancestral country and how your spirit guides you to where you really need to be.”
Were you thinking of any other films while working on the movie? “I love Truffaut’s ‘400 Blows’ Also the 1971 film ‘Walkabout’ with a very young David Gulpilil – both cinematic masterpieces with a compelling purity of vision.”
On the financial hardships of production: “So much love, so little coin.”
Next up: “‘Min Min’ – a psychological horror film. ‘One White Crow’ – the true story of a scientist who proves there is life after death.”
Indiewire invited select newcomers to the Toronto International Film Festival to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faces, and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses throughout TIFF. Go HERE to read other profiles.