"The Black Balloon" US launch!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marguerite, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    At last! Just as it comes out on DVD in Australia, "The Black Balloon" is to get a US launch at the Hamptons International Film Festival on 16 October!


    We got emailed by one of the other cast mothers with the info.

    News about the film - it is currently the highest grossing Aussie film for 2008. The film won a Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, it won another award somewhere (a few of them) and now the writer/director, Elissa Down, has just won Best Director at the Australian Director Guild Awards.

    Here is an extract of the email we were sent:
    Elissa Down has been voted Best Director at the Australian Directors Guild Awards.

    And the Black Balloon has been nominated for 10 Awards, including Best Feature Film at the IF Awards to be announced at a ceremony on the Gold Coast on November 13.

    In other “Awards” news the film has also been nominated for Best Children’s Feature Film for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

    husband ordered a few copies of the film. We were expecting that there would be footage of our kids in the "Making of" extras but it's not there, even though they filmed it.

    For those who have either forgotten, or who didn't know - "The Black Balloon" is a semi-autobiographical account of what it can be like to grow up with a profoundly autistic brother. It's brilliantly done, it can be harrowing but just as you feel it's getting a bit too close to the bone, something very human happens and it cracks you up. It's very real and the ending is wonderful.

    Elissa told us about her own experiences - the scene where the autistic brother is running down the middle of the road wearing his underpants was her own experience - she knew, even as she chased her brother, that one day she would write it down and make it into a movie.

    And three of my kids are in it! So is husband. I would have been, but I was busy supporting difficult child 3 on the day of filming. difficult child 3 actually has a small speaking role - an important part of the film is a "Noah's Ark" school musical. The autistic brother in the film, Charlie, is played brilliantly by Luke Ford, recently seen in "Mummy 3" with Brendan Fraser - Luke plays the now-grown Alex Connell, which prompted Brendan Fraser to make jokes to him such as, "Luke, I am your father...".

    In the film, Charlie goes to a Special Education school for autistic teens. Most of Charlie's classmates are non-verbal, so the idea of them putting on a musical version of "Noah's Ark" seems laughable to Charlie's brother Thomas. Thomas has his own problems - they have just moved to a new area, he is having to get to know a new area and a new school all over again and is very self-conscious about Charlie. And there is this girl... (played by young supermodel Gemma Ward).

    When they were planning the "Noah's Ark" segment they especially wanted to use kids with autism and their siblings, for real. So the call went out via the Sydney autism network. We had no idea it was a major feature film - we thought it was going to be a small student picture. So we went in to the audition (me, easy child 2/difficult child 2 with her stilts, difficult child 1, and difficult child 3 whining all the way). When difficult child 3 kept saying he didn't want to dress up as an animal, he didn't want to be in it, he didn't want to audition to a film, he didn't want... I thought that was it, we'd blown it. But the segment director loved him, talked him into giving it a go - as Noah. He was the youngest in the cast and after the months of rehearsal he did absolutely brilliantly on the day of filming - he actually had to begin the scene. The clapperboard, the cue, the "lights, camera, action" - the whole bit!

    husband was with difficult child 3 later on when Toni Collette said to him how splendidly he'd done, she was really impressed. Of course, difficult child 3 had no idea who she was, she was just a very nice lady. And Gemma, who also was signing autographs, was "a very pretty girl" to difficult child 3.

    Aside from my kids being in it - this is a brilliant film. Well acted, well written, vivid, harrowing, endearing, challenging, loving, humorous - wonderful. The ending is uplifting. And the message of the film - no matter what, you look after your own - shines through. We all do what we do for our family because they are OURS.

    So do go see it, you will find it enlightening. I really hope it does well in the US - the more people who see this film, the better people will understand just what we live with, every day.

  2. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I'll be looking out for ti, thanks for the heads up.
  3. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I have been waiting for this since you mentioned it what seems like forever ago now. Can't wait. Thanks for keeping us informed.

  4. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Can't wait to see it!
  5. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    It sounds marvelous. I hope it comes to Israel (most films do get here eventually). I don't go out to the pictures very often, but if and when it comes here I will definitely go to see it. And before I go, Marg, I will require detailed instructions from you about when and where to look to see your children.

    Love, Esther
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Of course you know I am going to see it and I'll be saying THERE ARE MY FRIENDS KIDS......LOOK......


    and then ......

    Don't you SHUSH ME!!!!!