Leah Purcell directed, stars and wrote the screenplay for “The Drover’s Wife The Legend Of Molly Johnson” (Photo: Supplied)

February 16, 2021

Leah Purcell’s dramatic film, “The Drover’s Wife The Legend Of Molly Johnson”, will be making its world premiere at a prestigious American film festival next month.

The film will premiere in the South By South West’s “narrative spotlight” category for high-profile features having their World, North American or US premieres.

The movie is based on the famous Henry Lawson short story but Leah – who grew up in Murgon – has re-imagined it for a modern audience.

She adapted the script from her successful stage play which won many accolades, including a Helpmann for Best Play and Best New Australian Work, the David Williamson Prize for excellence in writing for Australian theatre and the AWGIE’s major award.

The film tells the story of a woman and her stubborn determination to protect her family from the harshness of a life in 1893.

It has been described as a thriller as well as a “revisionist Western” interrogating Australian history and culture.

Leah Purcell directed, stars and wrote the screenplay.

“I am excited and proud that my debut feature is world premiering at SXSW in Austin, Texas,” Leah said.

“I’ve seen and heard so much about the festival over the years so to be following in the footsteps of the amazing films and filmmakers that have gone before me is humbling.”

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said it was a remarkable feat by Leah to have her debut film as a director selected to screen at the festival.

“It is a testament to Leah Purcell’s talent as a storyteller.

“Congratulations to the entire creative team, including the producers at Oombarra Productions and Bunya Productions, for bringing this poignant Australian story to the big screen.

“It’s fantastic to see this powerful First Nations story and distinctive Australian landscapes showcased and celebrated on the world stage. ”

The film was shot at Adaminaby in the Snowy Mountains, the Monaro Plains and in western Sydney.


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