With racism in sports front-page news in Britain, Dogwoof has scored all U.K. rights to “The Australian Dream,” the acclaimed feature documentary about Adam Goodes, an indigenous Australian rules football star who took on the racists. The film just had its local premiere at the BFI London Film Festival and will be released in U.K. movie theaters next year
Goodes twice won the Brownlow Medal, awarded to the fairest and best player in the Australian Football League, and was named Australian of the Year in 2014. Having spoken out about racism, he faced hostility from booing fans inside stadiums while playing and from some quarters of the media. He quietly retired in 2015.
Daniel Gordon (“Hillsborough”) directed the film, which was written by Australian journalist Stan Grant. It traces Goodes’ his meteoric rise in football through to his bowing out of the sport. Goodes is interviewed, and the film features archive footage. It also has testimony from the athlete’s friends and family, sports commentators, and other AFL players.
The documentary won the Audience Award at the Melbourne Film Festival before playing at the Telluride, Toronto and London film festivals. It is a Passion Pictures and GoodThing production in association with Madman Entertainment, Film Victoria and VeryMuchSo Productions. Screen Australia, pubcaster the ABC, and Film Victoria supported the film.
The U.K. agreement was brokered by Oli Harbottle, Dogwoof’s head of acquisitions and distribution, with Joel Kennedy, director of content and strategy for Lorton Entertainment, which handles international sales. The deal comes days after a soccer match between Bulgaria and England that had to be twice halted after Bulgarian supporters racially abused England’s black players.
“In light of recent events closer to home, ‘The Australian Dream’ feels particularly urgent in its message,” Harbottle said. “We are delighted to be working once again with both Dan Gordon and Passion Pictures, who have created a film which not only highlights the ongoing global problem of racial abuse in sport but also how we can confront this when we unite and rally around those who are subject to it.”
Sarah Thomson, Nick Batzias, Virginia Whitwell and John Battsek produced. Thomson and Battsek said: “The reaction across the board to our film has been truly overwhelming. After its phenomenal success down under we look forward with great anticipation to its theatrical release in the U.K. by the brilliant and experienced team at Dogwoof.”