Mystery Road bound for the US

07 June, 2013 by Don Groves

The good news keeps coming for Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road. The crime thriller received mostly positive reviews after opening the Sydney Film Festival and now the producers have announced a US deal.

Boutique distributor Well Go USA plans an early 2014 release. Typically Well Go distributes films to a limited number of cinemas simultaneously with DVD and Video-on-Demand platforms. 


The deal was negotiated by Arclight Films’ Gary Hamilton, who’s also an executive producer on the film, at the Cannes Film Market. He described it as ‘significant,’ which could imply Well Go is putting up a minimum guarantee of five-to-six figures. 

“We are delighted to hear of Mystery Road being picked up for a US release”, said producer David Jowsey. “Ivan Sen’s murder mystery feature has a great cast and its genre roots should deliver to audiences around the world.” 

The film opens in Australia on August 15. Aaron Pedersen stars as Aboriginal detective Jay Swan, who returns to his small rural town after a stint in the city and is called on to investigate the murder of a teenage Aboriginal girl. The ensemble cast includes Hugo Weaving, Jack Thompson, Ryan Kwanten, Tony Barry, Tasma Walton, Damian Walshe-Howling, David Field, Robert Mammone and newcomer Trisha Whitton.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Garry Maddox observed, “With a cast of entertaining outback characters, plenty of dry humour and stunning landscapes, the slow-burning murder-mystery has had a warm reception at its world premiere, opening the Sydney Film Festival.”

Screen Daily’s Frank Hatherley said, “Sen’s dark tale of drugs and murders is wonderfully captured by his own camerawork. He’s also editor and composer. It’s a considerable achievement, not least for the quality acting he has harnessed, though the pace is often too measured for modern multiplex tastes.”

The Guardian’s Larissa Behrendt opined, “As the town's secrets are unravelled, a sometimes awkward plot is eclipsed by Sen's cinematic craft, stellar performances and insights about the intricacies of race relations in rural Australia.”

Last year Well Go acquired US rights to Peter Templeman’s romantic comedy Not Suitable for Children, also handled by Arclight Films.