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Leah Purcell’s SXSW-Bound ‘The Drover’s Wife’ Acquired by Samuel Goldwyn For North America (EXCLUSIVE)

The Drover's Wife
Memento International

Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired North American rights to “The Drover’s Wife,” an Australian revenge tale written, directed and starring Leah Purcell. Sold by Memento International, the film is an adaptation of Purcell’s successful Australian stage play. The film is set to premiere March 18 at SXSW.

A searing Western thriller, the play “The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson” is a reimagining of Henry Lawson’s classic short story “The Drover’s Wife.” The story is set in 1893, and centers on the heavily pregnant Molly Johnson (Purcell) and her children, who struggle in isolation to survive the harsh Australian landscape after her husband leaves to go drove sheep in the high country.

One day, she finds a shackled Aboriginal fugitive named Yakada (Rob Collins) wounded on her property and forms an unlikely bond with him. Molly soon becomes the target of the suspicious lawman Nate Clintoff (Sam Reid) who sends an officer to her home. The encounter between Molly, the officer and Yakada turns deadly and results in a tragic chain of events with Molly becoming a symbol of feminism and anti-racism.

“’The Drover’s Wife’ is a story that goes beyond borders and time. The issues explored within the film are still incredibly pertinent today and inspiring to those that watch it. We are beyond exited to bring the film to North America,” said Miles Fineburg of Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Purcell said she was “beyond excited about the news that Samuel Goldwyn will be distributing [her] film in North America.”

“I am thrilled to be working with their team with all their experience and expertise in the U.S market. Here’s to a long and prosperous relationship in the U.S now my feature film director career is off and running!” said Purcell.

The Aussie filmmaker previously said, “‘The Drover’s Wife’ story has been with me most of my life, since I was a small child.”

Being “able to now bring this classic Australian story to the big screen and reimagine it with an Indigenous heart and soul at its core has been an honor and a privilege and one of the great joys and challenges of my life,” said Purcell, who also adapted the play into an eponymous book, edited by Penguin Random House Australia.

“The Drover’s Wife” was produced by Bunya Productions (“Sweet Country,” “High Ground”), alongside Oombarra Productions. Memento International previously worked successfully with Bunya Productions on “Sweet Country,” which was released by Samuel Goldwyn Films

Roadshow will release “The Drover’s Wife” in Australia.