Deborra-lee Furness is Honored by the Australian International Screen Forum at Lincoln Center in New York with a Pioneering Woman in Film Award

 - Is Directing Next?

On March 20, 2018, the Australian International Screen Forum honored Deborra-lee Furness as a pioneer in Australian film at a 30th Anniversary screening of her breakthrough film, Shame (1988).

The screening of the beautifully remastered version of the film took place at the Francesca Beale Theater at Lincoln Center in New York.

There in support of Deborra-lee were Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts and Simon Baker, among other friends, as well as enthusiastic fans who gave her a standing ovation.

There was an interview/Q&A after the screening conducted by journalist, podcaster and interviewer par excellence Jenny Cooney, who recalled that she had interviewed Deborra-lee 30 years ago on her arrival in Los Angeles with the film.

In Shame, Deborra-lee plays a motor cycle riding lawyer who seeks justice for sexually-abused girls in a small rural town. “It’s like a Western," she said, "except instead of a guy on a horse riding into town, it’s a chick on a motorbike!”

 

Asked what her reaction was when she was shown the script, she said, “This was a gem. What actress doesn’t want to play a strong, powerful woman who stands up for herself” and helps the girls find the inner strength to stand up for themselves.

 

Deborra-Lee remarked “how this issue is so topical” today, 30 years after the film was made.

 

“If there were hashtags 30 years ago,” said Jenny Cooney, “there would have been a hashtag for this film.”

"I knew it was an important film," said Deborra-lee. "It got a huge response. This was the film that brought me to America, and my first interview was done with you in Hollywood. I can't tell you how many times as I went around the country girls would come up to me after screenings and thank me for telling the story. That's the first time I realized as an actress that I wasn't just a pie-in-the-face person, and that my vocation actually did make a difference. It was a seminal moment for me."

Asked if she missed acting, Deborra-lee replied, "I haven't really, I've been a Mom, and busy ... but there are times that I go, 'Yeah, I'd like to go do that again.'" 

She added, "But I'm more interested at the moment in being a director."