Film-maker Katie Found is a Victorian College of the Arts graduate whose short film The Widow played at several international festivals.
My First Summer is her first feature.
Grace lives in a small country town with her unpredictable mother, and hated step-father. A spirited individual, and somewhat friendless, she spends her days riding her bike around, wearing a tutu, a pop t-shirt, and jewelry made from lollies. When she unexpectedly witnesses a drowning in the local dam, the event leads her to discover Claudia, another outcast girl.
Spending their days making plastic bracelets, and drinking strawberry milk, they are oblivious to the adult world outside that threatens to tear them apart.
Found has assembled a small cast for this work, keeping the focus fully on Grace and Claudia’s relationship. Markella Kavenaugh (Romper Stomper) is brilliant as Claudia, and Adelaide’s own Maiah Stewardson gives us a Grace who is at once mature beyond her years, and remarkably childish. The exquisite chemistry between these two outstanding young actors is a testament both to their individual skills, and Found’s sensitive and intuitive direction and screenplay.
Filmed on location around the Victorian countryside, Matthew Chuang‘s cinematography makes the most of the unique bushland. Scenes are also given finely observed detail by the sound department, with unmistakable bird calls and other bush noises. This strong sense of place adds to the slightly gothic feel of the work.
Part mystery, part psychological drama, this is a coming-of-age story, a love story, and a story of Australian country life.
An outstanding debut, this film makes Katie Found a director and writer to watch.
My First Summer screens as part of the Adelaide Film Festival which opens on 14th October.
Click here for screening details and further information.