Satelite Boy

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Q&A Toronto

David Gulpilil
Lead actor

Geoffrey Simpson
DOP - Old trailer as tracking vehicle

Pete (Cameron Wallaby) lives with his grandfather (David Gulpilil) on the site of an abandoned outdoor cinema in a remote area of Western Australia. His grandfather tries to teach him skills – hunting, tracking but Pete just wants his Mother to return.

Though he misses her terribly, Pete manages to make the most of his situation, putting up with his grandfather's stories and tearing around the countryside on his homemade bike with his best friend, the energetic smart-mouth Kalmain (Joseph Pedley).

This happy existence is suddenly shattered when news arrives that the cinema has been purchased by a mining company, and is slated for demolition. Panicked that his mother will not be able to find him when she returns, Pete convinces Kalmain that they can persuade the new owners to keep the cinema intact if they can just get a face-to-face meeting with them in the city. Kalmain has his own rather urgent reasons for wanting to leave town, so the two friends set out.

When Pete and Kalmain get lost in the desert starving, thirsty, and miles from anywhere, Pete discovers that the skills and knowledge imparted in his grandfather's stories take on real meaning.

Pete is forced to look at the decision he’s made and decide who he wants to be.

Synopsis (German)

Pete (Cameron Wallaby) lebt mit seinem Großvater (David Gulpilil) auf dem Gelände eines verlassenen Freiluftkinos in einem abgelegenen Landstrich von Westaustralien. Sein Großvater versucht, ihm praktische Fertigkeiten wie Jagen und Spurenlesen beizubringen, aber Pete möchte einzig und allein, dass seine Mutter wiederkommt.

Obwohl Pete seine Mutter von ganzem Herzen vermisst, macht er das Beste aus seiner Situation, gewöhnt sich an die Geschichten seines Großvaters und erkundet mit seinem selbstgebauten Fahrrad die Wildnis in der Umgebung. Begleitet wird er dabei von seinem besten Freund, dem energetischen und gewitzten Kalmain (Joseph Pedley).

Diese Idylle wird plötzlich zerstört, als die Nachricht eintrifft, dass das Gelände des Kino von einer Bergbaugesellschaft gekauft wurde und nun dem Abriss entgegensieht. Pete befürchtet, dass seine Mutter ihn deshalb bei ihrer Rückkehr nicht mehr wiederfinden könnte, und in seiner Panik überredet er Kalmain, dass man die neuen Besitzer des Grundstücks bestimmt überzeugen könne, das Kino bestehen zu lassen, wenn man sie nur in der Stadt Angesicht zu Angesicht treffen würde. Kalmain hat seine ganz eigenen Gründe, das Dorf zu verlassen, und so machen sich die beiden Freunde auf den Weg.

Als sich Pete und Kalmain in der Wüste verirren und sich viele Meilen von jedweder Zivilisation entfernt hungernd und durstend wiederfinden, entdeckt Pete, dass die Fertigkeiten und das Wissen, das ihm sein Großvater mit seinen Geschichten vermittelt hat, plötzlich große Bedeutung erlangen.

Pete sieht sich gezwungen, über die Entscheidungen, die er getroffen hat, nachzudenken und sich zu entscheiden, wer er sein möchte.

Satellite Boy Trailer

Satellite Boy Poster (English)

Satellite Boy Press Kit

Catriona McKenzie graduated with Honors from the prestigious Australian Film, Television and Radio School (whose alumni include Jane Campion, Gillian Armstrong) in 2001. Since graduating she has an directed a number of outstanding television series including the Emmy nominated Dance Academy; Logie and AFI award-winner My Place (series 1 and 2) for ABC TV; as well as Satisfaction for Showtime. Catriona was lead director on the award-winning SBS series’ The Circuit and RAN: Remote Area Nurse, as well as The Alice (Nine) and Fireflies (ABC TV).

Most recently, Catriona was lead director on the highly anticipated series Redfern Now, which was developed in collaboration with the internationally acclaimed creator Jimmy McGovern (The Street, Cracker, The Lakes). She is currently in production on the television drama series, The Gods of Wheat Street, for Every Cloud Productions and the ABC.

With critically acclaimed and award-winning short films including Box, The Third Note, Road and Redfern Beach, Catriona also wrote and directed the multi-award winning documentary Mr Patterns (ABC TV) and directed the half hour drama Grange (ABC TV). In 2007, Catriona spent time as a director’s attachment on the television series Prison Break (Fox).

In 2006, her script for Satellite Boy was accepted into the coveted Aurora Script Development Program which had previously developed Animal Kingdom, The Black Balloon, Somersault and Little Fish.

A highly experienced television drama director, Satellite Boy is Catriona McKenzie’s first feature film, which screened at Toronto International Film Festival 2012 as part of the Discovery Program and is selected for the 2013 Berlinale - Generation Kplus Programme.

>> Click here to view Catriona's Portfolio <<

'Q&A' - Toronto

'Satellite boy' - Toronto review

'Satellite Boy' - Variety Magazine Review
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'Satellite Boy: Toronto Review' - The Hollywood Reporter
TORONTO — Setting a modestly scaled but archetypal quest story against the vast terrain of Western Australia, Catriona McKenzie's Satellite Boy radiates respect for traditional folkways and the Aborigines who manage to maintain them despite the encroachment of modern life. Combining the credibility factor of veteran Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil with a cute-kid story and some stunning vistas, the picture has solid potential at arthouses. read more
'Satellite Boy' - Variety Magazine
Straddling the worlds of Aboriginal tradition and Western law with graceful wisdom, generational drama "Satellite Boy" spotlights the diversity of indigenous narratives and the power of storytelling, resonating alongside the likes of recent Australian films like "10 Canoes," "Samson & Delilah" and "The Sapphires." Nuanced performances by noted Australian thesp David Gulpilil and 10-year-old newcomer Cameron Wallaby, as well as the extraordinary widescreen compositions of lenser Geoffrey Simpson, will ensure international attention for writer-director Catriona McKenzie's serenely confident feature debut. read more
'Director on new ground' - The West Australian
My casting director and I drove thousands of miles in this old car up anddown the Kimberley just trying to find our lead boys. We camped in our swags at the side of the road. I'd go to sleep re-writing scenes in my head. read more
'Young actor's Satellite success in PIAF's first WA film' - WA Today
The Australian premiere of Satellite Boy made for a unique screening at Somerville auditorium; not only were kids running around giggling, screaming and playing chase in between the patrons, but those very kids appeared on the giant screen nestled between the pine trees moments later. read more
'Boy meets world' - Quickflix
There is many a Spielbergian moment in Catriona McKenzie’s Satellite Boy, intentional or otherwise. Two kids ride carefree on bicycles. A young boy laments the distance between he and his estranged mother, bonding with his eccentric granddad instead. There’s even a Goonies-like quest to save a local cinema. That it takes place in the picturesque plains of the Australian North-West instead of the Californian suburbs is what ultimately sets it apart. read more
'Outback Odyssey' - X-Press Magazine
Earnest performances from its two young leads and some gorgeous location photography just about lift this Kimberley-set coming of age story above the average. read more