Samuel Goldwyn Films continues to show a greater appetite for Australian films than any other North American distributor, with Jeremy Sims’ RAMS as the latest acquisition.
WestEnd Films negotiated the deal for the remake of the cult Icelandic pic Hrútar, which stars Sam Neill, Michael Caton, Miranda Richardson, Wayne Blair, Asher Keddie and newcomer Will McNeill.
Roadshow will launch the comedy-drama produced by WBMC’s Janelle Landers and Aidan O’Bryan and scripted by Jules Duncan on more than 240 screens on October 29.
This year Goldwyn released Mirrah Foulkes’ Judy & Punch, Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding, Paul Ireland’s Measure for Measure, John Sheedy’s H is for Happiness and Gregor Jordan’s Dirt Music, mostly on VOD.
Stephen Johnson’s High Ground will premiere next year after its Australian release via Madman Entertainment.
Landers tells IF that two US distributors made bids for RAMS and Goldwyn won out with a higher offer and also due to its track record in handling Australian films.
WestEnd Films had already licensed the film to multiple markets including the UK (Signature Entertainment), Germany and Italy (Koch Media), Russia and the Baltics (Paradise), Poland (Canal+), the Middle East (Phoenicia Pictures) and China (Jetsen Huashi Media.
Janelle is confident of its commercial prospects after the film earned a tidy sum from previews, with more advance screenings this weekend. “The absence of Hollywood titles means there is more room in the market for films like ours,” she said. “The audience appetite is still there.”
Neill and Caton star as estranged brothers who live on adjourning sheep farms. When a rare disease threatens their flock, they have to work together to save their sheep, their small town and their family’s legacy.
Richardson is Kat, an expat Brit who works as the veterinarian in the sheep farming town. Blair plays the best mate of Neill’s character with Keddie as the town’s matriarch whose husband died in a previous bushfire. McNeill is her son who is in love with the local veterinary nurse.
Leon Ford portrays a government official who is ordered to slaughter the sheep. Travis McMahon and Hayley McElhinney are a financially struggling, working class couple and Kipan Rothbury is a young guy who represents the future of farming through biodiversity.
The producers raised the budget from Screen Australia, Screenwest and the Western Australian Regional Film Fund.
Meanwhile, Landers and O’Bryan are close to securing the financing for family comedy Drone Racers, scripted by Jules Duncan.