Ruby Rees, Lily Sullivan, Madeleine Madden and Yael Stone star in the series. Picture: Jason Edwards
Ruby Rees, Lily Sullivan, Madeleine Madden and Yael Stone star in the series. Picture: Jason Edwards

Picnic’s rocking women steal Berlin show

THE leading ladies of Foxtel's sensational new drama series, Picnic At Hanging Rock have swapped their corsetted costumes for Chanel couture at the opening night of the Berlin Film Festival's TV program.

Lily Sullivan - who plays Miranda Reid in the reimagining of Joan Lindsay's iconic Australian novel - dazzled in the French designer label on her first major red carpet, alongside Game Of Thrones favourite, Natalie Dormer, fresh from rubbing shoulders with royalty at the Bafta awards.

Picking up on the gender protest movement marked in black at the British answer to the Oscars, Picnic's Canadian director Larysa Kondraki made her own fashion statement - flashing her "future is female" T-shirt at waiting photographers.

Speaking to News Corp Australia, as key cast arrived for the screening of the show's first two episodes, Sullivan was "giddy" about the drama's rapturous reception.

"Oh my god, this is like a fantasy, a sick fantasy, just so incredible," Sullivan said.

"Just being here with everybody who worked so hard on this production … then add winter, Berlin, [her] Chanel [dress], a red carpet and a sold out theatre, it's nuts!"

Anticipation for the Fremantle Australia production has been at fever pitch since it was confirmed as the opening program on the film festival's prestigious TV schedule, selling out the screening's 850-seat theatre.

The audience responded to the screening with a solid ovation, with the visiting cast warmly welcomed to the stage with lengthy applause for a Q&A session afterwards.

Australia's ambassador to Germany, Lynette Wood, was among the crowd, which also included paying festival guests and international media.

The show itself has also sold strongly ahead of its premiere on Foxtel's showcase channel from May 6, with broadcast deals to air the series in the UK, France, Germany and the US.

Ruby Rees, who plays Edith, one of four girls who wander away from a school picnic and into the chasms of the mysterious Hanging Rock, said the chance to introduce the homegrown production to the world was "mind-blowingly exciting."

"It was a hard shoot, especially at the Rock, but the work ethic was there. Every single person on that shoot was aware we were making something incredibly special," she said.

As well as showcasing Aussie TV, Rees also wore Sydney designer, Toni Maticevski, for the biggest opening night of her career.

"Berlin is such an arts hub. We've been gallery hopping and the fashion here is just outstanding. There's an eclectic mix [on the red carpet] … everything from black tie, designer couture, through to grungy, political pieces. So fashion-wise, on that red carpet, people should be ready for anything."


In other highlights from day one of the festival program, Australia's Mia Wasikowska and her Damsel co-star, Twilight's Robert Pattinson said the current reckoning in the entertainment industry has opened a door for new movies that subvert traditional gender roles, like Damsel, their new feminist-themed Western.