Best known for producing Monster and The Babadook, Australian Jennifer Kent is the only female director to compete for the top prize, The Golden Lion, at this year’s Venice International Film Festival.

Jennifer Kent’s latest feature film The Nightingale is one of the 21 films that was handpicked by director Alberto Barbera. The thriller will have its world premiere at this prestigious film festival, known as a launching platform for the Oscars. The film is set in 1820s Tasmania with the story centred around a young female Irish convict who seeks revenge against a British officer who commits a cruel act of brutality against her family. She eventually engages the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy who is also haunted by trauma from his own violence-filled past.

Kent’s inspiration for this thriller came from the nature of violence and its impact on women as well as Aboriginal people and the land. She emphasises that the aim of the film is not to roister in violence but to highlight how humanity still can thrive in dark times. The film was shot specially in Tasmania early last year and it was jointly produced by Causeway Films and Made Up Stories.

Kent, a NIDA graduate is a descendant of Australian silent film producers E.J. and Dan Carrol who produced numerous feature films in the 1920s including On Our Selection and The Blue Mountains Mystery with Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyell. Prior to The Nightingale, Kent has turned down many lucrative film directing roles including Wonder Woman.  Her next project would be Alice + Freda Forever, a thriller based on a non-fiction book by Alexis Cole about a romantic relationship between two teenage girls in 1890s Memphis, which resulted in murder. The screenplay is already underway and filming will commence next year.

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