Drift (2013 Australian film)

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Drift (2013) movie poster.jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed by Morgan O'Neill
Ben Nott
Produced byMichele Bennett
Tim Duffy
Myles Pollard
Screenplay byMorgan O'Neill
Story byMorgan O'Neill
Tim Duffy
Starring Sam Worthington
Xavier Samuel
Myles Pollard
Lesley-Ann Brandt
Music by Michael Yezerski
CinematographyGeoffrey Hall
Edited by Marcus D'Arcy
Distributed by Lionsgate
Wrekin Hill (USA)
Hopscotch (Australia)
Release date
  • 2 May 2013 (2013-05-02)
Running time
113 minutes
Budget$11.4 million [1]

Drift is a 2013 Australian film about the birth of the surf industry in the 1970s. It was shot in Western Australia and co-directed by Morgan O'Neill and Ben Nott and starring Sam Worthington, Xavier Samuel and Myles Pollard.



Set in a remote town on Australia's spectacular and rugged coastline in the early '70s, Drift tells the story of two brothers at the genesis of the modern surf industry.

Determined to escape a life of factory work and petty crime, headstrong older brother Andy (Myles Pollard) and his wayward surf prodigy younger brother Jimmy (Xavier Samuel) form a volatile alliance. With their seamstress mother Kat (Robyn Malcolm) they fashion custom-made Drift wetsuits and new shorter surfboards out of their back yard garage.

Their fledgling business generates a powerful buzz amongst the hard-core local surfers, but the brothers’ progressive ideas are soon at odds with their conservative town and find themselves embroiled in a violent feud with a drug-dealing biker gang looking to manipulate Drift's early success.

Enter JB, an infamous surf filmmaker (Sam Worthington) and Lani (Lesley-Ann Brandt), his gorgeous Hawaiian companion who drift into town just as the brothers' business and troubles begin to escalate. The travellers embody the era's anti-establishment vibe and are skeptical, but soon realize if the brothers can survive and stay true to their surfing roots, they might be part of something greater than they ever imagined.

Based on true stories from the era, Drift is the action filled story of a complex family of outsiders who struggle to escape their troubled past to forge a successful future…stumbling upon the worldwide multibillion-dollar cultural movement we know today.



Tim Duffy wrote an early script in 2007. Myles Pollard became attached as actor and producer and asked Sam Worthington, with whom he had attended Drama School, to star. Worthington expressed interest but at the time was unable to commit given his international film schedule. Morgan O'Neill wrote the screenplay and came on board as co-director with Ben Nott. Worthington became available and agreed to play a support role and funding was obtained from Screen Australia, Screen West, Screen NSW, Tourism WA and Fulcrum Media Finance. Shooting took 31 days in August–September 2011 in south west Western Australia. [2]

Box office

The film was released in Australia in early 2013. On its opening weekend it earned $268,570 at the box office making an average of $1,918 across 140 screens. [3]

Still playing in Australian cinemas in its twelfth week of release, it's currently grossed over $938,000.[ citation needed ]

Film festivals


AACTA Awards
Best Original Screenplay Morgan O'Neill Nominated
Tim DuffyNominated
Best Cinematography Geoffrey HallNominated
Best Original Music Score Michael Yezerski Nominated
AWGIE Award Best Writing in a Feature Film - OriginalMorgan O'NeillNominated
Tim DuffyNominated
FCCA Awards Best Actor Sam Worthington Nominated
Best CinematographyGeoffrey HallNominated
Maui Film Festival Extreme Cinemas AwardWon
Newport Beach Film Festival Outstanding Achievement in FilmmakingWon
Rincon International Film FestivalBest FilmWon
Best of the FestWon
Audience Choice AwardWon
West Australian Screen Award Best Actor Myles Pollard Won

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 32% based on 19 reviews, with an average rating of 4.65/10. [4] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 35 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". [5]

Australian critical response was positive:

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  1. "Aussie Box office gets the staggers", If Magazine, 21 May 2013 accessed 21 May 2013
  2. "Drift: Ben Nott and Myles Pollard interview" by Don Groves SBS Films 25 April 2013 accessed 23 June 2013.
  3. "70s surf flick Drift takes $268,000 in first week", Mumbrella accessed 19 June 2013
  4. "Drift (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  5. "Drift (2013) Reviews". Metacritic . Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  6. Moore, Roger (2 August 2013). "Aussie surfers ride the waves of change in 'Drift'". U-T San Diego . Retrieved 30 October 2013.
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