Telemovie Underground: The Julian Assange Story will have a brief theatrical run as part of a new distribution initiative run by director Robert Connolly.
Underground was screened on Channel Ten last October and attracted an impressive 1.33 million viewers, winning its prime-time Sunday night slot. It was also screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival.
The theatrical edition of Underground will be distributed by Footprint Films' new CinemaPlus initiative, which will broaden traditional theatrical screenings into live events, including director and cast Q&A sessions, live musical performances, and political action forums.
"CinemaPlus is simply a new way at looking at the theatrical release of films", Connolly, who is also a director of Footprint Films, said in a statement. "We want to be able to provide a different experience for cinema goers, to support the film with talks, Q&As and take-home content. To not only give people a film to watch, but a context."
It a strategy which has found success in the past with art-house or highly audience-specific films. Last year, Madman Entertainment documentary Paul Kelly: Stories of Me opened with an impressive $118,344 at two special pre-release event screenings which featured Paul Kelly and director Ian Darling on stage. Another documentary, Storm Surfers 3D, also performed well, in part due to appearances by star surfers Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones at screenings.
Audiences which see Underground at cinemas will receive a package containing a DVD-ROM with special features, including behind-the-scenes featurettes, screenplays, extracts from Suelette Dreyfus's eBook of Underground, music from the soundtrack and production photographs.
CinemaPlus will also release Connolly's The Turning, based on Tim Winton’s best-selling collection of short stories.