“Heart-in-your-mouth viewing, Buoyancy ends on a note of freedom but its depiction of the horrors of modern-day slavery is a stirring call for action.”The Big Issue



In rural Cambodia, spirited 14-year-old CHAKRA works the rice fields with his family. He yearns for independence and seeks out a local broker who can get him paid work in a Thai factory. Without telling his family, Chakra travels to Bangkok to make his fortune.

Chakra secretly journeys across the border and finally arrives in Thailand. But there he and his new friend KEA (33) realise the broker has lied to them. Both Chakra and Kea, along with other Cambodians and Burmese, are sold to a fishing captain as slaves.

They are trapped at sea indefinitely, trawling fish 22 hours a day, surviving on just a handful of cold rice. Captain ROM RAN (45) quickly weeds out those slaves weakened by the conditions or trying to escape, and throws them overboard. The trawler sells its catch and restocks its supplies without going to land, making escape impossible.

As fellow slaves are tortured and murdered around them, Kea begins to lose his mind. When his only ally is killed, Chakra looks to Rom Ran to understand what it will take to be free. With hope and humanity dwindling, Chakra decides to take control of the trawler.

BUOYANCY premiered internationally at the Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and an Amnesty International nomination, and was in the critics top ten for Screen International and Sight & Sound. The film had its Australian premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival and is being released in Australian cinemas September 26.


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⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ “Rathjen makes a powerful statement with this gripping debut.”

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“One of the strongest Australian debut films of recent years.”

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“Part thriller, part docudrama and part contemplative arthouse.”

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⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ “Visually assured throughout.”




Rodd Rathjen is an Australian Writer/Director raised in Colbinabbin in central Victoria. Rodd completed a Bachelor of Film and Television with Honours, from the Victorian College of the Arts. He made short film TAU SERU in India, which had its World Premiere at Cannes as part of Critics Week 2013. The film also won Best Australian Short at MIFF, screened at over 50 International festivals and received numerous awards. In 2014 Rodd received the Directors Acclaim Fund from Screen Australia and participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus as a Director. He was awarded Hot Shots funding and made short film SWEAT featuring Colin Friels, which had its World Premiere at MIFF 2015. BUOYANCY is his debut feature film.


Samantha has held numerous senior executive positions at Australian screen agencies including Screen Australia and Screen NSW, managing the creative development and financing of projects including THE SAPPHIRES and THE ROCKET and TV series THE MOODYS and REDFERN NOW. Sam joined forces with Kristina Ceyton as a partner in Causeway Films in 2014, having consulted on THE BABADOOK. Causeway was subsequently awarded a Feature Enterprise grant and Gender Matters Brilliant Careers grant to foster female screen talent. Sam produced CARGO starring Martin Freeman, which was Australia’s first Netflix Original feature film, released in May 2018 and nominated for 5 AACTA Awards, and BUOYANCY which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019 where it won the Ecumenical Jury Prize.


Kristina Ceyton produced the award-winning psychological thriller THE BABADOOK that premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews. THE BABADOOK has won or been nominated for over 40 awards including winning the 2015 AACTA for Best Film. Kristina produced Jennifer Kent’s highly anticipated second feature THE NIGHTINGALE, premiering In Competition at the prestigious Venice Film Festival 2018, and in the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Spotlight section. She produced, alongside Causeway’s Sam Jennings, CARGO starring Martin Freeman, Australia’s first Netflix Original feature film released in May 2018 and BUOYANCY which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019.


In addition to producing Rodd Rathjen's BUOYANCY with Sam and Kristina, 2019 has also seen Rita co-produce Kitty Green’s upcoming feature THE ASSISTANT, with Green, James Schamus and Scott Macaulay. In 2018 Rita produced Jessica Leski's feature documentary I USED TO BE NORMAL: A BOYBAND FANGIRL STORY which played Hot Docs, Melbourne, Sydney, London, Rotterdam, and many others. Rita was also Associate Producer on Kitty Green's Sundance hit and Netflix Original CASTING JONBENET. Other credits include co-producing STORIES I WANT TO TELL YOU IN PERSON for Matchbox Pictures/NBCU/ABC TV, and Billie Pleffer's award-winning short films FYSH and BINO. Rita has production credits on BRIGHT STAR, SNOWTOWN, TIM WINTON'S THE TURNING, PARTISAN, KATH AND KIM, MARY AND MAX, NOISE, LAKE MUNGO and others.



Sarm Heng

Rom Ran

Thanawut Kasro


Mony Ros

Written and Directed by

Rodd Rathjen

Produced by

Samantha Jennings Kristina Ceyton Rita Walsh



Buoyancy has been made with the generous support and financing of Screen Australia, Feracious Entertainment, The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund, State Government of Victoria, Definition Films, Fulcrum Media Finance, Media Super and Anupheap Production.