Emu Runner


Imogen Thomas Films

Umbrella Entertainment

Angela Cerasi did the colour grade on this feature length drama film, as part of her 2018 free colour grading initiative for female directors and cinematographers.  The film was directed by Imogen Thomas.


Emu Runner is about an Aboriginal family in outback Australia struggling to come to terms with the untimely death of their mother.


While grieving husband and father Jay Jay (Wayne Blair) learns to be a single parent to three children, spirited eight-year-old Gem (Rhae-Kye Waites) starts regularly disappearing into the bush, having forged a bond with a wild emu. An important and mythical bird from her dreamtime ancestry (according to her mother), Gem believes she can speak to it, as her mother could before her.


After the arrival of Heidi (Georgia Blizzard) – an inexperienced and naïve social worker from Sydney – the family struggles to stay together. When Gem’s brother Ecka (Rodney McHughes) gets involved in drugs, and Gem starts skipping school to steal food to feed her new friend, tensions rise between the family and the authorities.  For Gem, spiritual dreaming is a bond she will do anything to keep, something the social worker finds hard to understand.  As Gem is about to be taken away from her family, Heidi finally understand the reasons for Gem’s behaviour and realises that Gem and her family are better off together, to heal and grow.


The director Imogen’s journey to get this film made on a “micro budget” was both remarkable and inspiring to Angela.  The screenplay was created in consultation with Indigenous members of the Brewarrina community, in north western NSW, over many years. Despite the challenges and hardships of getting a film like this off the ground, it was obvious that it had been the good will of so many people during the process which had moved it forward, especially the Brewarrina community.  Angela felt likt she could really elevate this film by providing a professional colour grade and by enhancing the story through the use of colour.


The DOP Michael Gibbs flew up from Melbourne for the grade at ZigZag Post in Sydney.  Angela spent 7 days on it (plus some after hours fine tuning!) to get it to a place that felt really right for Imogen. Of course limited budget and resources meant that lighting and shooting conditions were sometimes not ideal so we worked on fixing these and making the film more cohesive. “Emu Runner” debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and had it’s Australian premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival in October 2019.


To see another feature length drama film that Angela also did the colour grade on, check out the trailer for A Savage Christmas, here.