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Assange film to premiere in Toronto
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Picture: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett/Files.

The Australian-made Julian Assange TV movie has received the rare accolade of being invited to screen at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

Looking at the early life of the Wikileaks founder, Underground, which stars Anthony LaPaglia and Rachel Griffiths, will show in Toronto next month, Screen Australia announced on Wednesday.

The film, written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Robert Connolly (Balibo), will make its Australian debut on Network Ten later this year.

Underground has been described as a "riveting thriller" that focuses on the teenage years of the Australian - who is considered by many to be one of the most controversial figures of modern times.

"Toronto has bestowed a rare accolade, as only a handful of films produced for television have ever been programmed by the event, which is considered the pre-eminent platform into the North American market place," Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley said of Underground's selection.

Ten's executive producer of drama and production, Rick Maier, said: "Very rarely do you get the jump on the international market. This is not only great recognition for the film itself, and the bold leap of faith, but for the Australian television industry full stop."

Assange, who was born in Townsville, Qld, in 1971, moved to Lismore, NSW, with his family when he was eight. But after his parents divorced Assange spent his teenage years moving to 50 different towns across Australia attending more than 30 different schools, he has stated in previous interviews.

Since June Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London asking for political asylum as he fights extradition to Sweden where he's wanted for questioning about alleged sexual misconduct.

Also announced on Wednesday was the selection of Tony Krawitz's moody mystery Dead Europe in Toronto's line-up. Starring newcomer Ewen Leslie, it's about a 20-something Greek Australian who spirals out of control when forced to confront his family's cursed legacy on his first trip to Europe.

The Aussie film is produced by the Oscar-winning duo Emile Sherman and Iain Canning (The King's Speech, Shame) and Liz Watts (Animal Kingdom, Lore).

Other Australian films showing at Toronto are Lore, The Sapphires and Storm Surfers 3D.

Underground will premiere on September 8 at Toronto International Film Festival, which takes place from September 6-16.

The West Australian

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