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Leah Purcell’s ‘The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson’ Screening At The Beijing International Film Festival

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) is proud to announce that THE DROVER’S WIFE THE LEGEND OF MOLLY JOHNSON has been accepted into the official program of the prestigious Beijing International Film Festival 2023.


This is the first time an Australian Indigenous film has been accepted into the official program of BJIFF, which is one of the largest and most prestigious film festivals in the world. Our congratulations go to Leah Purcell and her incredible team for this stunning achievement.

AACTA has been working behind the scenes to have the film considered by the jury and accepted into the Panorama section of the festival, which is due to kick off on April 20 for nine days.

There will be two live screenings of the film as part of the festival line-up, and the film will be made available online for Chinese audiences to view for the first time ever.

THE DROVER’S WIFE THE LEGEND OF MOLLY JOHNSON is part of Leah Purcell’s Indigenous reimagining of Henry Lawson’s 1892 short story, The Drover’s Wife. It spans theatre, literature and now film, and sees Purcell rewrite white Australian literary history, using Lawson’s short story as a Trojan horse to enter and shift the Australian psyche. 

Purcell won the 2022 AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in Film for her performance of Molly Johnson, and the film has also won 9 other local and international awards to date. She is a proud Goa, Gunggari, Wakka Wakka Indigenous Murri woman from Queensland, Australia.

On hearing of its inclusion in the official BJIFF program Leah Purcell said, “I am so proud and honoured to have my film The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson as the first Australian First Nations film to be screened at the BJIFF. To have my film screen in the Panorama section at the most important and largest film festival in Asia is something I will treasure in what has already been an amazing film festival campaign for the film. Altjeringa Yirra Baiame.” 

AACTA’s Director of Programming & International Engagement Sam Buckland said, “Our congratulations go out to Leah and her incredible team for creating such a profoundly moving film that captured the hearts of Australians, we dearly hope it’s embraced by Chinese audiences as well.”

National Foundation for Australia China Relations CEO, Peter Cai said, “The National Foundation for Australia-China relations is pleased to support The Drover’s Wife’s successful selection for the Beijing International Film Festival and to facilitate Australia’s first Indigenous feature film participating in the festival. The festival is an important platform to showcase Australian excellence in China.” 

AACTA was able to undertake this initiative with the support of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations (NFACR), and our major events partners Screen Queensland and the Queensland Government.

For the full festival schedule:


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