Leura filmmaker Michael Joy has launched his long-awaited feature film, Smoke Between Trees, after a two-year COVID-19 delay.
Featuring a magnificent showcase of Blue Mountains landscapes and cameo appearances by recognisable venues, the film will be screened at Mt Vic Flicks Friday, December 3; Saturday (December 4); Sunday (December 5) followed by a Q&A and Wednesday (December 8).
Smoke Between Trees stars local Tiriel Mora and Gamillaroi woman from North West NSW Elly Chatfield, young newcomer Robert-Joseph Slockee and respected talent Joanne Samuel, Damion Hunter, Georgia Adamson and Shane Porteous.
The film is an intimate portrait of a reluctant grandfather on a heart-warming journey of transformation, one that will lead him back to a home unlike any he ever imagined.
Smoke Between Trees is a learning journey about Aboriginal culture, passive racism and the role we all play in creating a better, more tolerant society.
Joy is known for his 2008 film Men's Group (2008) about six men who convene weekly in a self-help style group and are confronted by tragedy. He also created the TV pilot Cul de Sac (also starring Chatfield and Mora) about corruption in a small town.
Joy consulted numerous First Nation elders from around Australia before creating Smoke Between Trees.
"They were all really supportive because they knew me and trusted me,'' he said.
One Blue Mountains aunty even gifted Joy information about Aboriginal burial rituals and permission to use it in the film.
"She didn't need to give me that. That was a really wonderful, significant thing.''
Aboriginal songs in the film were shared by local Darug people, while others were written in language especially for Smoke Between Trees.
The screenplay was co-written with Joy's partner Mieke van Opstal, and the score by Woodford composer Noel Burgess.
Filmed in 2018, Smoke Between Trees was to embark on a screening schedule in early 2020.
"We were about to release and had a whole run of independent cinemas in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia ready to go and then a little bug comes along and that's the end of that.''
Smoke Between Trees will screen at Mt Vic Flicks at 11.25am Friday, December 3, 3.40pm Saturday (December 4), 11am Sunday (December 5) followed by a Q&A, and 11am Wednesday (December 8).
Details and bookings at Mt Vic Flicks