My Mistress and Rise run the release gauntlet
The case for flexible release windows for Australian and other independent films has been reinforced by the weekend debuts of My Mistress and Rise.
Transmission launched My Mistress, Stephen Lance’s debut feature about the affair between a vulnerable teenager (Harrison Gilbertson) and a French S&M mistress (Emmanuelle Béart), grossing $8,029 at seven Palace locations and $1,329 from the Canberra International Film Festival. Including receipts from Melbourne International Film Festival, the total is $19,020.
“My Mistress is a brave debut feature which has sold well internationally to a number of key territories including the US, UK, Russia, Hong Kong and Japan (somewhat of a coup for an Australian film),” producer Leanne Tonkes tells IF.
“We had our world premiere at MIFF where screenings were sold out. It is a well-known fact that distributing independent films is challenging – getting the word out about a film's screening schedule and creating a groundswell to encourage audiences to see a particular film with so much engagement on offer.
“Transmission and Palace really backed us and we are very proud and appreciative of their efforts in supporting us and our film.”
The drama written by Gerard Lee (Top of the Lake) will be subject to the outdated and commercially unviable 120-day holdback for home entertainment release.
First-time writer-director-producer Mack Lindon’s Rise opened at 11 screens, making $9,240 on very limited sessions, distributed theatrically by his Vision Films.
The autobiographical drama, which cost just $371,000 and is based on Lindon’s experiences as a young nurse when he was falsely accused of rape, is having a staggered roll-out on about 40 screens.
Lindon, who has hosted Q&A screenings in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, is not dismayed by ticket sales, telling IF, “I am stoked we got theatrical release and the cinemas agreed to take it on. We’re having a second week at Cineplex Nerang and Victoria Point.”
The holdback means the title won’t be available on DVD and VoD, handled by Pinnacle Films, until February 4. Lindon hoped Palace and Hoyts would play the film and was disappointed when both rejected it.
Nathan Wilson plays the protagonist Will, who is accused of drink spiking and rape after a one-night stand. Found guilty at trial, he’s sentenced to six years in prison. He is incarcerated in a maximum security prison where he meets Jimmy (Martin Sacks), a hardened inmate who was responsible for a spate of armed robberies. Jimmy is inspired by Will’s courage and determination. Erin Connor plays the QC who appeals his case in the Supreme Court, Gemma Laurelle is his chief accuser Constable Rossi and Linda Millar is the chief warden.
Lindon is already developing his next film, a sci-fi tale set 60 years in the future, which he wryly likens to a cross between Romeo and Juliet and Mad Max.
Geoff Davis’ WW1 drama William Kelly’s War has grossed about $15,000 from limited screenings at The Backlot Studios and indie cinemas including Reading and CMAX.
“Ours was a targeted, profile-raising release with contained spend to drive ancillary and a further rural roadshow the director is undertaking in the lead-up to the Anzac Day DVD, digital,airline etc day-and-date release,” said the distributor, IFM Filmways’ Antony I. Ginnane. “We are in the zone for what we anticipated. Older audiences love the movie as we expected.”
The 3D animated Maya the Bee Movie directed by Alexs Stadermann has rung up $158,000 after its second weekend of daytime sessions, distributed by Studiocanal.
As an alternate content title the holdback convention does not apply so Maya will be released on DVD/VoD on December 1 by Beyond Entertainment