US audiences embrace ethnic Australian rom-com Alex and Eve
Richard Brancatisano and Andrea Demetriades in Alex and Eve.
Peter Andrikidis’ quirky ethnic romantic comedy Alex and Eve is making waves in the US and has played to sold out screenings at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
The festival is now putting on additional screenings of the film, which is a love story between a Greek Orthodox school teacher and a Lebanese Muslim lawyer – both Aussies.
The film has now had three sold out screenings and festival organisers are now putting on additional screenings due to the popularity of the film.
Director, Peter Andrikidis, told IF US audiences responded well to the film after screenings and a Q and A session with Alex and Eve star, Richard Brancatisano, who is working in Los Angeles.
“The responded fantastically,” he said. “We had three screenings and they were all sold out. There were queues to get in and they actually got it. They laughed in different places, but they certainly responded to the film.
“It was the first sold out screening for the festival.”
Andrikidis said the questions at the Q and A mainly revolved around the portrayal of the Muslim family in the film.
“A lot of the questions were pretty much: was it an accurate portrayal of a Muslim family? Because we presented a muslim girl who wasn’t wearing the full Muslim garb. It portayed another side of the life of Sydney that they don’t necessarily see.”
The Q and As also featured questions around the social challenges that often come with multiculturalism.
“At the Q and As people in the audience asked do we have social problems (as a result of multiculturalism in comparison to the US) as well.
“I said yes, but we don’t have guns.”
Andrikidis said US audiences were well versed in this style of comedy after the success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
“They don’t get the word 'root' and there were other jokes as well, but there were also some of the less obvious ones that they laughed at incredibly. The balance of drama and humour in the film they got.”
The international sales agents, Shoreline, are now on the hunt for US distributors and are positive about the outcome.
“The feedback has been good and our sales agent is saying in terms of distribution it’s looking good,” Andrikidis said.
“Santa Barbara isn’t a sales market like Cannes or Berlin, but it’s still a good place to launch into the main market. We got a couple of good reviews as well which helps.”
In Australia, the film, with $1.6 million budget, has also met expectations.
“For a small film it’s done well. We got all our P and A back and we have already paid that back. There are a lot of bigger budget films with $20 million at the box office which haven’t done that,” he said.
“Our budget was $1.6 million and that will fix up investors for the next film. P and A is a huge cost.”
With a bulging CV, Andrikidis, is now working on channel nine series Hide and Seek, but is keen to do more film and has two comedies in the works, to be shot in Queensland and Western Australia.
“I have two films in the planning and Shorline have confirmed they are on board with the same producer as Alex and Eve, Muray Fahey.
“On one of the films the script is finished and we are in financing, they are both comedies. The other one is in Western Australia.”