From Toomelah to Cannes

Actors Christopher Edwards, Michael Connors and Daniel Connors with writer/director Ivan Sen.

Toomelah Public School student Daniel Connors has racked up lots of firsts recently.

First he starred in a movie. Then he travelled overseas - for the first time - to France. There he met actor Johnny Depp.

Year 5 student Daniel followed in the footsteps of acting superstars when he walked the red carpet at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, along with Toomelah film director and writer Ivan Sen.

Toomelah tells the story of a fictional Daniel, who comes from a broken home and yearns to be a gangster like the male role models in his life.

The film, shot on location in the Indigenous community of Toomelah, on the NSW/Queensland border, received a standing ovation at Cannes.

For Daniel, it was an unforgettable experience.

"My dad and I had to dress in tuxedos," Daniel said.

"This was the first time I saw the complete film and as I watched I was so homesick.

"I am so proud of my acting in the film and there were some really sad moments for me, particularly the scenes at the cemetery in Toomelah.

"I shed a tear as I watched these moments - I don't mind saying that because I love Toomelah."

Daniel got to mingle with some of the world's most popular celebrities during the film festival.

"While at Cannes we were lucky enough to go on a cruise ship with Johnny Depp and Lady Gaga," Daniel said.

"I got to speak with Johnny and he was really nice to me.

"Unfortunately, my camera and mobile phone were both flat so I don't have any photos - maybe next time I am in Cannes?"

Toomelah Public principal Paul Sortwell said Daniel was a natural actor and took all aspects of filming in his stride.

"Daniel has the potential to achieve great things in life," Mr Sortwell said.

"I hope this movie will provide more opportunities for Indigenous students to engage in the arts and explore careers in the film industry."

Daniel said he now wanted to be a movie star when he was older.

"But I would always live in Toomelah - it's my home and my land," he said. "It's my heart and soul."

Photo: Actors Christopher Edwards, Michael Connors and Daniel Connors with writer/director Ivan Sen. Photo distributed by AAP Medianet.


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