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Almost two years after its Australian film festival run was launched at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2019, Smoke Between Trees will finally release to the general public beginning with a cinema release at Mount Vic Flicks in Mount Victoria, New South Wales.
Writer, director and producer Michael Joy’s visually stunning sophomore feature film follows an ageing real estate agent, Matthew Higgins (Tiriel Mora), who’s reunited with his young grandson.
Higgins has lost everything: his wife has Alzheimer’s disease and now resides in an assisted living facility, from which she routinely strays; their daughter died in a car crash a decade ago, alongside the father of her child, an Aboriginal man.
Matthew has struggled with grief ever since, cutting himself off from his grandson, Ari, who survived the crash. But on the eve of Ari’s 10th birthday, his gran and guardian Francine drops the boy off with Matthew while she goes into the city for an appointment and Matthew is forced to reckon with the past as his future opens up.
Smoke Between Trees traces an intimate and sensitive arc of interpersonal relationships as it sketches a broader picture of family, race, cultural resilience and love. Newcomer Robert-Joseph Slockee is wonderful as Ari, a child caught between families and cultures, while Tiriel Mora offers a sympathetic and captivating portrait of a devastated man putting himself back together again.
Shot in the Blue Mountains, it’s a deeply moving, compassionate and engaging new film that packs an emotional wallop.
Smoke Between Trees is co-written by Joy and Mieke van Opstal and stars Tiriel Mora, Elly Chatfield, Robert-Joseph Slockee, Joanne Samuel, Damion Hunter, Georgia Adamson and Shane Porteous.
Smoke Between Trees will screen at Mount Vic Flicks from Thursday, 2 December. Details here.