Danielle Hall captured the hearts of Australian’s when she appeared as Lena, in Ivan Sen’s first feature film, Beneath Clouds. With no prior experience, Hall was literally plucked from obscurity and thrown into the limelight by Sen.
Beneath Clouds, which many argue is a fleshed out version of Sen’s acclaimed short film Tears, was released in 2002 and was the first time Danielle would appear on the big screen. Sen uncovered Hall in her home town of Wee Waa after a yearlong search to find his perfect Lena. Hall’s portrayal of Lena, an indigenous teen on a journey to meet her Irish father and escape the small town she lives in, was widely acclaimed. She was even awarded the Best Female Newcomer Award at the 2002 Berlin Film for her performance.
Her ability to portray real emotion captivated the audience, but unfortunately Danielle Hall has not appeared in any works since Beneath Clouds. Once the film debuted and the media circus surrounding its release died down, Danielle returned to Wee Waa before moving to her partner’s home town of Quirindi and giving birth to her first child in 2005, aged 21.
2002 saw the release of Beneath Clouds, Rabbit Proof Fence and Australian Rules and ultimately sparked criticism about the number of young aborigines receiving leading roles without any advice on how to pursue their career. This criticism is one that must ring clear with Hall, who has all but disappeared from the Australian film community since her debut performance in Beneath Clouds.