By Simon de Bruyn

The second feature from criminal lawyer turned writer-director Chris Nyst opened in 36 cinemas across the country yesterday, following a nifty marketing campaign orchestrated by the producers’ own distribution company Pictureshow Distribution.

Nyst, who built a career as one of Queensland’s leading criminal lawyers before turning his hand to writing – first books, then films – made his screenwriting debut in 2004 with Gettin’ Square. He made his directorial debut with this second film, Crooked Business.

After deciding to self-distribute Crooked Business, he formed Pictureshow Distribution with the film’s executive producer Jason Murakami, and they worked closely with producer Scott Corfield and associate producer Cherie Orevich to devise a marketing campaign that resonated with their target audience.

Initially targeting 50 cinemas nationwide that were equipped for digital projection, the team launched a trailer for the film in June along with a MySpace website featuring the film’s soundtrack – featuring an array of indie bands from the Gold Coast and Brisbane. Aiming to capitalise on the success of Underbelly, Nyst screened the film to Melbourne underworld figure Mick Gatto who provided them with a poster quote.

Some clever casting of Gold Coast Titans player Scott Prince and dual international Mat Rogers ensured the trailer was shown before rugby league home games, and in the months leading up to the release the filmmakers also released several promo clips and specialised trailers on the website and YouTube.

Yesterday the film opened in 36 cinemas nationwide; 16 cinemas in Queensland, six in Victoria, eight in NSW, two each in Western Australia and South Australia and one each in Tasmania and Northern Territory. The producers opted to only distribute digitally, with no film prints made for the $2m budgeted film.

Check out the MySpace site for the film here. To watch the "character promo" click here. To watch the "swearing promo" click here (warning: offensive language).

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