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Australian director's success at Sundance

AAP logoAAP 5/01/2017 Danielle McGrane

A documentary created by an Australian director has become the first acquisition at the famous Sundance Film Festival in the US.

The worldwide rights to Casting JonBenet, directed and produced by Australian Kitty Green, have been acquired by Netflix which plans to stream the documentary in the coming months, according to various US entertainment sources including The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

The film, as the name suggests, follows the famously unsolved murder of six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey from 20 years ago.

It comes not long after the airing of the TV miniseries The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey which was broadcast in Australia on the Nine Network last year and involved the rebuilding of parts of the Ramsey house in a warehouse for a team of experts to test out theories surrounding the little girl's death.

For Casting JonBenet, Green took a different approach and relied on a cast of people from the Ramseys' Colorado community to use a combination of non-fiction and fiction filmmaking, asking the residents to reflect on their own experiences surrounding the trial.

Green used this technique before in her previous documentary The Face Of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul which also premiered at Sundance and won the non-fiction jury prize in 2014.

Both Screen Australia and Film Victoria provided additional funding for the film which was financed by Meridian Entertainment.

Several other Australian films are set to screen at Sundance later this month including Cate Shortland's Berlin Syndrom starring Teresa Palmer, Red Dog: True Blue the prequel to the 2011 Red Dog film, thriller Killing Ground from writer/director Damien Power, short film Slapper from writer/director/producer Luci Schroder and the virtual reality project Orbital Vanitas from video artist Shaun Gladwell.

Films such as Whiplash (director Damien Chazelle, 2014) Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000) and Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) premiered at Sundance and went on to find success, including Oscar wins and nominations, soon after and launched the careers of their directors.

*The Sundance Film Festival takes place in Salt Lake City, Utah and runs from January 19 to January 29

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