The young stars of Ivan Sen’s Toomelah will be hitting the red carpet in Cannes tonight.

The Cannes experience can be crazy enough even for the most seasoned festival-goer, so for the cast of Toomelah, most of whom have never left the Outback, stepping on to the red carpet tonight is going to be one hell of an experience.

Screening in Un Certain Regard, the second feature from Australian director Ivan Sen is set in the remote aboriginal community of Toomelah and centres on a 10-year-old wannabe gangster, Daniel, played by non-actor Daniel Connors. “I was out there [in Toomelah] looking for older boys, and this little boy came up and started swearing at them, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is my character.’ He has so much presence,” says Sen, whose family originate from the community and who spent years researching the film in order to keep things as authentic as possible.

“It was just me, my car and the actors,” he says.

Sen describes his film as “like a very intimate guided tour through an aboriginal community… Most Australians might drive past the sign for Toomelah but they never turn off to see it. This is the chance for people to see beyond the sign.”