33 Postcards

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33 Postcards
Australian film poster
Directed byPauline Chan
Produced by
  • Penny Carl-Nelson
  • Pauline Chan
  • Lesley Stevens
  • Liu Zhijiang
Written by
  • Martin Edmond
  • Philip Dalkin
  • Pauline Chan
Music byAntony Partos
CinematographyToby Oliver
Portal Pictures Pty Ltd
Distributed by
Release date
  • 9 June 2011 (2011-06-09) (Sydney Film Festival)
Running time
97 minutes

33 Postcards is a 2011 drama film written and directed by Pauline Chan and starring Guy Pearce.[1] It is the first co-production between China and New South Wales.[2][3]


Mei Mei (Zhu Lin) a 16-year-old Chinese orphan who has been supported by donations from her Australian sponsor Dean Randall (Guy Pearce), who sends her postcards that describe his family life. When her orphanage choir travels to Australia to participate in an Australian Choir Festival, Mei Mei takes the opportunity to find Dean with the hope he will make her part of his family. However, Mei Mei discovers the shocking truth – Dean is actually a convict in prison for manslaughter. Seeing Dean as her last chance at finding a home, Mei Mei decides to stay in Sydney until Dean gets his parole, in the meantime becoming naively entangled in the criminal world herself. To save Mei Mei from his own fate, Dean must make an impossible sacrifice.


33 Postcards was developed under the title Mei Mei.[4] In 2009, Mei Mei was one of only two Australian screenplays selected from 475 submissions to partake in the Tribeca Film Institute program, Tribeca All Access.[5] The screenplay also featured as one of only three selected for Dungog Film Festival as part of the in the Raw Program.[6]


33 Postcards is an official film and television co-production in Australia. The co-production is between Australia and China, for which a co-production treaty did not exist prior to 2008.[7] 33 Postcards is only the second film to be produced under this treaty and the first co-production between NSW and China.[8] This opportunity for co-productions to exist between China and Australia is largely unrealised in both countries, but has been identified as a potentially lucrative endeavour.[9][10]


Lead actress Zhu Lin began production knowing little more than a dozen words in the English language.[11] The film was shot in both Australia and Zhejiang Province, China.


33 Postcards has featured and been in competition at the following festivals

  • 2011 Melbourne International Film Festival
  • 2011 Sydney International Film Festival – In Competition
  • 2011 Shanghai Film Festival China – In Competition
  • 2011 Travelling Film Festival Huskisson Australia
  • 2011 Singapore International Film Festival
  • 2011 Hawaii International Film Festival
  • 2012 Mostly British Film Festival San Francisco
  • 2012 Beijing Film Festival China
  • 2012 Real Film Festival Newcastle, Australia – Closing Night Film
  • 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival USA
  • 2012 Fiuggi Family Film Festival Italy – In Competition
  • 2012 CinFest OZ – Opening Night Film
  • 2012 Chinese International Film Festival
  • 2012 Raglan Film Festival New Zealand
  • 2012 Italian Parliamentary Screening
  • 2012 Canberra International Film Festival
  • 2013 Beijing Film Festival – Co-production Case Study
  • 2013 Social FIlm Festival Sorrento Italy
  • 2013 CineMigrante International Film Festival Buenos Aires


Award Category Nominated Outcome
The Sydney Film Festival Community Relations Commission Award 33 Postcards Won
Shanghai Film Festival China Rising Star Award Zhu Lin Won
Movie Convention Gold Coast Australia Male Star of Tomorrow Lincoln Lewis Won
Mostly British Film Festival Retrospective Guy Pearce Won
Fiuggi Family Film Festival Italy Social World Film Festival Award 33 Postcards Won
Chinese International Film Festival (Sydney) Best Director Pauline Chan Nominated
Chinese International Film Festival (Sydney) Organising Committee Special Film Award 33 Postcards Nominated
AACTA Awards Best Lead Actor Guy Pearce Nominated
AACTA Awards Best Original Music Score Antony Partos Nominated


33 Postcards was anticipated for release in the second half of 2011 in Australia[12] and also in China.[13] The film was released to video on demand on 15 April 2013.[14]


  1. ^ "$4.2m from NSW for 23 projects". Encore Magazine. 5 August 2010. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Asia-Pacific News". Content-technology.com. 27 April 2011. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  3. ^ "screen nsw / news & updates / screen nsw news". Screen.nsw.gov.au. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  4. ^ "The Australian Film Institute | The Year Ahead Part 2". Afi.org.au. 2 February 2011. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Media Releases". Screen Australia. 24 March 2009. Archived from the original on 3 April 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  6. ^ "In the Raw becomes stand-alone event". Encore Magazine. 13 January 2011. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  7. ^ Stolz, Greg (30 November 2010). "Australia and China form film alliance". Herald Sun. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Mei Mei: in post post". Screen Hub. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Australia-China Industry Form (Freshwater Pictures)". Screenqueensland.com.au. 27 January 2011. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Filmmakers say hello to Chinawood". Smh.com.au. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  11. ^ Hatherley, Frank (10 June 2011). "33 Postcards". Screendaily.com. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  12. ^ https://www.imdb.com/calendar/?region=au
  13. ^ "33 Postcards coming to China". Imagine Australia. 16 February 2011. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  14. ^ Smith, Nigel M. (6 April 2013). "The 10 Indies to Watch on VOD This April". Indiewire. Retrieved 27 May 2013.

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