Emu Runner is a life-affirming tale told through the eyes of Gem (Rhae-Kye Waites), a young girl grieving the loss of her mother. Withdrawing into herself, she forges a bond with an emu she discovers in a nearby reserve in the small country town.
Gem is full of wonder and intrigue. Her obsessive attachment to the emu leads her down a troubled path as she begins to steal extra food for it. As she spends more and more time with the emu, Gem skips school, attracting the attention of social services.
Young and inexperienced social worker, Heidi (Georgia Blizzard), is convinced Gem’s father Jay Jay (Wayne Blair) is failing to look after her. The pressures to make ends meet and hold the family together are exacerbated by the antics of Gem and her siblings. Jay Jay’s commitment to his family doesn’t waver; his story lyrically intertwines with that of the emu. In nature, the male emu takes on the role of rearing the young chicks.
Emu Runner is the directorial feature debut from Imogen Thomas, who wrote the film in consultation with Aboriginal Ngemba woman Frayne Barker, from Brewarrina NSW where the film is set and shot.
Newcomer Rhae-Kye Waites is a star turn, showing a myriad of emotions of someone beyond her years. Cinematography by Michael Gibbs and composition by Peter Michael Davison, Ben Fink and Glenn Skuthorpe are also standouts of the film.
Emu Runner opens nationally this Thursday 7 November 2019. Check your local guides for screening times.
About Emu Runner
Written and Directed by Imogen Thomas
Stars Rhae-Kye Waites, Wayne Blair, Maurial Spearim, Rob Carlton, Georgia Blizzard, Stella Carter, Mary Waites, Lindsay Waites, Letisha Boney, Rodney McHughes