Beneath Clouds

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Beneath Clouds
DVD cover
Directed byIvan Sen
Written byIvan Sen
Produced byTeresa-Jayne Hanlon
StarringDannielle Hall
Damian Pitt
CinematographyAllan Collins
Edited byKaren Johnson
Music byIvan Sen
Alister Spence
Release date
  • 23 May 2002 (2002-05-23)
Running time
90 minutes
BudgetA$2.5 million
Box officeA$548,416 (Australia)

Beneath Clouds is a 2002 film by Indigenous Australian director Ivan Sen. It 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.

Plot synopsis[edit]

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.


The film was financed by the New South Wales Film Commission and the Australian Film Finance Corporation.


Only two film critics have posted reviews on the Rotten Tomatoes, both positive. Urban Cinefile Critics commented "Displaying about equal amounts of naiveté, passion and talent, Beneath Clouds establishes Sen as a filmmaker of considerable potential". Andrew Howe of called it "One of the few feature films to canvass the issues facing the Aboriginal community from an adolescent perspective".[1]

Australian critic Margaret Pomeranz wrote six years later "I think this is one of the great Australian films of recent years".[2] In her original TV review on SBS Television co-presented with David Stratton, The Movie Show, she gave it 4.5 stars and he gave it 4.[3]


Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(2003 AFI Awards)
Best Film Teresa-Jayne Hanlon Nominated
Best Direction Ivan Sen Won
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Actress Dannielle Hall Nominated
Best Cinematography Allan Collins Won
Best Original Music Score Alister Spence Nominated
Ivan Sen Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival First Movie Award Won
Golden Berlin Bear Nominated
New Talent Award Dannielle Hall Won
FCCA Awards Best Female Actor Nominated
Best Director Ivan Sen Nominated
Best Cinematography Allan Collins Nominated
Best Music Score Alister Spence Nominated
Ivan Sen Nominated
Inside Film Awards Best Direction Won
Best Actress Dannielle Hall Nominated
Best Cinematography Allan Collins Won
Best Editing Karen Johnson Nominated

Box office[edit]

Beneath Clouds grossed $548,416 at the box office in Australia.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beneath Clouds (2002), retrieved 10 June 2021
  2. ^ Pomeranz, Margaret (31 December 2008). "Beneath Clouds: A superb Australian film". SBS. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  3. ^ "What Margaret and David say about 500 Oz Movies". Ozflicks. 13 September 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  4. ^ "Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2010.

External links[edit]