Blending social realism with touches of lyricism, Imogen Thomas’ engaging debut feature Emu Runner follows a nine-year-old girl growing up in the isolated community of Brewarrina, Australia. When Gem’s (Rhae-Kye Waites) young mother dies unexpectedly, she copes with the loss by bonding with a wild emu, while her father struggles to keep his family of three children together. As Gem connects with her ancestors’ totem animal — a male emu rearing its chicks — her behaviour attracts the attention of an over-eager social worker who may misinterpret grief for parental neglect. TIFF spoke with Thomas about Emu Runner, which will have its World Premiere in the Discovery programme at the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival, with screenings September 7, 9, and 15.   more
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