Multi-platform release for Oz/NZ drama
Cross-Tasman drama Sunday will test the potential for simultaneous multi-platform release when it launches on May 2 in nine cinemas and on DVD and on-demand services.
The feature directing debut of Michelle Joy Lloyd, the film co-stars Camille Keenan and Dustin Clare, who co-wrote the script with Lloyd.
Set in Melbourne and Christchurch one year after the earthquake that devastated the latter, the plot follows Eve and Charlie, who are about to have a baby although they are no longer together. After months of separation they have 24 hours to find their way forward.
Keenan, whose credits include Underbelly, Packed to the Rafters and Satisfaction, was pregnant with the couple’s son during filming.
Actor-turned-producer Clare said, “As independent filmmakers we want to make our film accessible to the widest possible audience and we need to respond to the changes taking place in our industry. A multi-platform release responds to these opportunities in an innovative way, with audiences being the ultimate beneficiary.
"We created this film to be viewed on the big screen and hope that audiences respond to that in the cities and town where we have secured theatrical screenings. But in the many parts of Australia where the film is not playing in cinemas, we invite audiences to ‘watch it your way’ by providing so many options.”
Sunday will premiere at the Golden Age in Sydney and Classic Elsternwick and Cameo Belgrave in Melbourne and in six regional locations on May 2, and simultaneously on SVOD platform Stan and VOD services iTunes, Sony, Xbox, Google Play, Fetch TV, Dendy Direct, Vimeo on Demand and Reelhouse. It will screen later this year on GEM. Madman Entertainment helped aggregate the online deals.
Clare says this is an Australian first in releasing a film theatrically, on demand and on DVD via the film's website. In December he orchestrated a multi-platform release in New Zealand, playing on 35 screens as well as screening on the Rialto channel, VOD and DVD.
(Last year The Mule had event screenings before being launched on download-to-own platforms and later on VOD and DVD).
The upfront payment from Stan, which gets exclusive SVOD rights in Australia, is helping to pay for marketing and publicity. The self-financed film had its Australian premiere last month at the Byron Bay International Film Festival.
"What we have found is that a good number of independent exhibitors in Australia and New Zealand welcome working this way and the chance to play content that is different from the mainstream," he says. "We're giving the power to the exhibitors to decide where and when to play the film."
After the Australian release he plans to issue a White Paper to the industry, setting out the revenues and costs in both countries, which he hopes will encourage other filmmakers to embrace multi-platform releases.
The actor made his feature debut opposite Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis in Fred Schepisi’s The Eye of the Storm. He was a regular in Starz’s Spartacus franchise and played Lieutenant Harry Moffitt in the ABC’s ANZAC Girls.
This year he appears in the final season of the Cinemax/HBO series Strike Back with Sullivan Stapleton, and in Jim Lounsbury's feature Love is Now.
He got the idea for Sunday while he was working on Spartacus in New Zealand. He chose Christchurch as a backdrop for the story as a metaphor for the couple's relationship being destroyed and their efforts to rebuild it.
Christchurch-born Lloyd, who also serves as a producer on Sunday, created and produced the open source film project Stray Cinema and has 10 years of digital production experience.
Her husband Ryan Alexander Lloyd is the film's DOP and co-producer.
Here are the regional locations, with others to be added:
Gunnedah: Civic Cinema – May 2
Narooma: The Kimena – May 2
Kingsclliff: Cinemax Cinemas – May 2
Warrawong: Gala Cinema – May 2
Murwillumbah: The Regent Cinema – May 2
Glenn Innes: Chapel Theatre – May 3
Tumut: Montreal Theatre – May 10
Bowraville Theatre – May 16
Ballarat: Regent Cinema – May 2
Melbourne: Croydon Cinema – season opens June