‘Lion’ helps propel Transmission Films to a record year

31 August, 2017 by Don Groves

‘Lion’. (Photo: Mark Rogers)

Defying the steep decline in the independent film market, Transmission Films is enjoying its most successful year in its near 10-year history.


Driven by Garth Davis’ Lion and a raft of solid performers, 2017 will eclipse the distributor’s previous record in 2011, the year of The King’s Speech from See-Saw Films, which owns a stake in Transmission.

Lion is the stand-out, grossing $29.5 million. Viceroy’s House, which made $3.5 million, Their Finest ($2.85 million), Churchill ($1.85 million) and Paris Can Wait ($1.55 million), the latter two titles still in release, all over-delivered on the original forecasts, according to Transmission’s co-founder Andrew Mackie.


“We are being more selective, by necessity,” Mackie told IF. “We are still releasing the same number of titles, just being more selective in what type of films they are.

“As always, it involves being responsive to the market – and a little bit of luck.”

Mackie is optimistic about the 2018 line-up which includes director Andy Serkis’ Breathe, a drama based on the true story of a brilliant man who is paralysed by polio and is cared for at home by his devoted wife, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy.

One of the titles in official selection at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival, the film will launch in Oz on Boxing Day.

Garth Davis’ Biblical epic Mary Magdalene, which stars Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix and Chiwetel Ejiofor, opens on January 18.

The slate also includes Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country, which premieres in official competition in Venice; Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale; Dominic Cooke’s On Chesil Beach, a romantic drama set in 1962 England, featuring Emily Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Anne-Marie Duff and Billy Howle; and Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete, a drama starring Charlie Plummer, Chloe Sevigny and Steve Buscemi, which also debuts in Venice.

Mackie expects to confirm several more titles in October.