Producer-exhibitor Blake Northfield and filmmaker-actor Saara Lamberg had never met until they joined Cinegar Bar, the new independent filmmakers co-operative founded by Heath Davis.
It was a fortuitous meeting for both as Northfield agreed to screen Innuendo, the Finnish-Australian’s debut feature as a director, at his Byron Bay cinema Pighouse Flicks.
In the psychological thriller she plays Tuuli, a nude art class model who moves to Melbourne from Finland and endures a string of broken relationships. Andy Jans-Brown plays Lucky, whose friendship with Tuuli goes sour, with Andy Hazel as Thomas, a sensitive uni student and Brendan Bacon as charismatic chainsaw sculptor Ben.
It will premiere at Pighouse Flicks on March 15 with a Q&A session attended by Lamberg and Jans-Brown, and will play for at least a week.
Distributed by Umbrella Entertainment, the film screened last year at Melbourne’s Cinema Nova, has been released on VOD and played on 9Gem.
“It was amazing news; getting theatrical release for independent art house films seems so difficult,” Saara tells IF. “We had our initial cinema run at Cinema Nova, which was fabulous, but I always wanted to bring this film to other cinemas too. I believe audiences are hungry for alternate content everywhere.”
Northfield’s Bronte Pictures is preparing to make PJ Hogan’s The Calligrapher, a UK-set comedy adapted from the novel by British writer Edward Docx, as a co-production with MGR Films’ Cecilia Cordeiro.
Blairwood Entertainment’s James Dudelson is handling foreign sales on Innuendo and Lamberg’s two subsequent films, Westermarck Effect and The Lies We Tell Ourselves.
The first follows Lamberg as a woman named Sally who gave up her son Sam for adoption 20 years ago. When they meet again, Sally and Sam (Jayden Denke) fall in love.
The filmmaker agrees incest is a confronting subject but says genetic sexual attraction is a worldwide phenomenon which she wanted to explore.
In The Lies We Tell Ourselves she portrays an eccentric art house director who travels to the Cannes Film Festival, the German countryside, New Caledonia, England and Australia to shoot her latest film.
Along the way she encounters uninvited naked auditions, promoters who want her to sleep with the “right people,” washed-up stars that have ridiculous requests and make-up artists-turned coke dealers.
Jane Badler, rising British actor Xander Turian and French veteran Gérard Darmon play fictionalised versions of them. The cast includes Ezel Doruk, Kristen Condon, Andy Hazel, Brigitte Jarvis, Colin Donald, Heidi Salander and Sandy Mowbray-Clarke.
Lamberg got the idea when Innuendo was invited to various festivals including Cannes, New Caledonia and in England.
Both films are in post. She self-finances her films with a bit of private investment as well as crowd-funding after her applications to funding agencies were turned down.