Beneath Clouds is a 2002 film by Australian director Ivan Sen.
Lena has an absent Irish father she longs to see and an Aboriginal mother she finds disgusting. When she breaks away, she meets up with petty criminal Vaughn who's just escaped from low security prison to reluctantly visit his dying mother. Blonde and light-skinned, Lena remains in denial about her Aboriginal heritage; Vaughn is an angry young man with a grudge against all whites. An uneasy relationship begins to form as they hit the road heading to Sydney, taking them on a journey that's as emotional as it is physical, as revealing as it is desperate.
Initially the two reluctant travelling companions are suspicious and wary of each other, but their journey, mostly by foot and the odd lift, builds an understanding between them. The film follows its creator's (Ivan Sen's) own experiences growing up in Inverell, NSW with an Aboriginal mother and a European father who was not around.
Beneath Clouds is the feature film debut by the two lead actors. Damian Pitt was approached by Sen on the streets of Moree, New South Wales, and had never acted before. Dannielle Hall was cast through a more traditional method, via an audition tape. Much of the support cast were local residents from Pitt's hometown of Moree.
The film was financed by the New South Wales Film Commission and the Australian Film Finance Corporation.
The film won the Best Direction and Best Cinematography awards at the 2002 Australian Film Institute Awards. It also won the Best First Movie award and Best New Talent award (for Danielle Hall) at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival, and the Best Direction award at the 2002 Inside Film Awards. Actor Damian Pitt died in a car crash 30 km from the north coast town of Grafton, NSW on 25 August 2009.
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