[Press Release by Tamarch Productions]

The Australian film Heron’s Story from Tamarch Productions has won first prize from 6,000 film entries in Paulo Coelho international “Experimental Witch Film Competition” Film makers were required to base their story on 1 of the 14 narrators in the novel with the concept being their perception – ‘who really is Athena?’ Through the eyes of different people she is a different person – this will be reflected in the final edited film version which will include 14 various film makers telling different sides of their story.

The fictional book primarily set in London follows the story of a young woman, Athena, from childhood to adulthood and her awakening of her inner divinity, the rise of the feminine goddess in modern times. Australian Actor and budding Director Aaron J March’s winning entry was chosen from the perspective of Ryan Herron, a London journalist who falls in love with Athena. The character of Heron Ryan makes up two thirds of the book. For the die hard Coelho fan there will be a ‘380 minute’ unabridged version of the entire film screened on the internet in 10 episodes in the last two weeks of this year.

The perspective of Heron Ryan reveals a stunning portrayal of one mans recollection of his journey of unrequited love for the beautiful and mysterious Athena. Despite the minimal budget of a mere $20,000 dollars and a cast of over 250 people (almost 50 crew worked for free) the final product is beautifully shot and professionally crafted. The entire casting for the film was cast using Face book, scouring existing actor and film maker groups and seeking out people with the right talent, look, and passion for acting.

“As soon as I heard about the competition, I knew it was something I had to do, I knew that my film was going to win, this was just a simple knowing.”

What ensued has been 12 months of total dedication. Exactly one year ago Mr March arrived back in Sydney from New York, where for the last four years he has been working regularly as an actor and designer. He knew that due to the cost factor he would not be able to make the film in New York, and intuitively knew that Sydney was the right place to make it. Aaron has sacrificed much of his time and effort working 18 hour days and sleeping for months on friends couches to bring Heron’s Story alive.

“The pressures of creating the film has literally been non-stop for a year, the obstacles that needed to be overcome every day were immense. It was such a massive project to pull off with no budget and I was so blessed to have Tamar Crane as my producer – has done a brilliant job – she was crazy enough to pull this off with me!”

Mr March has appeared as a co-lead in his first feature at the age of 21, also appearing in AFI award winning films Wolf Creek and Look Both Ways, both films have enjoyed international success. Now on the eve of his 30th birthday, Aaron has another good reason to celebrate. Paulo Coelho’s 140 minute “Experimental Witch Film” will feature aspiring actress Amelia Beau Kaldor with her roles in the soon to be released feature The Nothing Men with Colin Friels and the upcoming suspense thriller A Perfect Life. March says of Ms Kaldor “The choice was easy, I remember she was the last person on the first day of casting to audition and before she had even spoke I just knew she was the one”

Another local actress Helen Sutermeister plays the disgruntled long term girlfriend of Ryan Heron. Music was produced by composer Jonathan Talbot in New York, with the extraordinary talented Australian music producer Onserve, and talented young Australian singer/songwriters Caitlin Duff and Sasha March.

The film has already been recognised with the Cinema For Peace Special Prize awarded at a special ceremony in Frankfurt last month and will be promoted at various International Film Festivals. Worldwide Cinematic release is scheduled for May 2009.

Paulo Coelho has sold over 100 million books worldwide, and have been translated into 57 different languages, a massive achievement given that most publishers are happy if a book is translated into 6 or 7. Paulo is an avid internet blogger and it is through this stream that he used Word of Mouth advertising to spread the word of the “Experimental Witch Film Competition” on both on MySpace and YouTube as well as hundreds of other sites across the world. All entrants were required to upload their films to MySpace and YouTube for judging.

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