David Wenham and executive producer Robert Connolly are hitting the road for a series of Q&A event screenings of their innovative micro-budget feature Ellipsis.

Emily Barclay and Benedict Samuel play strangers who meet by chance in Sydney and spend 24 hours roaming the city, from bars, a park and a sex shop in Kings Cross to Bondi Beach.

As the night turns romantic, the screening schedule fittingly includes a Q&A session at Event Cinemas George Street on Valentine’s Day.

Written and directed by Wenham and produced by Arenamedia’s Liz Kearney, the film had its world premiere last year at the Sydney Film Festival and garnered rave reviews.

The Guardian’s Luke Buckmaster lauded a “high-spirited and humane dramedy with a sparkling joie de vivre and an infectious passion for people and their idiosyncrasies.”

Screen Daily’s Sarah Ward observed the film is staged and shot with energy and affection and the “naturalistically charismatic Barclay and Samuel conjure up low-key charm as they react to their surroundings and their shared dynamic.”

Following the month-long Australian season, the producers plan to make the film available worldwide on streaming platforms in deals negotiated by the international sales agent, LevelK’s Tine Klint.

Connolly’s Cinema Plus has successfully used the event screenings model, which avoids the expense of a big P&A spend, on such titles as Eva Orner’s Chasing Asylum, Tim Winton’s The Turning, Stephen Page’s Spear and Closed Circuit, the latter a collaboration with Eric Bana.

Connolly says these event screenings typically gross several hundred thousand dollars, which is a much better result than most Aussie films which take the conventional distribution route. Another advantage is that films can generate ancillary revenues much more quickly than the traditional holdback.

The upcoming Q&A screenings include the Screenwave International Film Festival in Coffs Harbour on January 25, the Gold Coast Film Festival on February 8 and Melbourne’s Cinema Nova on February 11.

In a remarkably tight schedule, Wenham and the two leads workshopped the narrative and their characters for three days. The shoot took just seven days, with no written script, all scenes shot in one take using two cameras with a 4-person crew. There was an additional day to film a sequence involving a phone repair man.

Ellipsis was Wenham’s second turn as a director but his first at feature-length; he directed one of the segments in Tim Winton’s The Turning.

Connolly says the spirit on the production reminded him of The Boys, the 1998 crime drama on which he made his producing debut with John Maynard, directed by Rowan Woods.

Last year he arranged a digital remastering of the film, which starred Wenham in his first feature lead role, Toni Collette and Lynette Curran, which was released on home entertainment by Madman Entertainment.

Connolly was so pleased with the response he plans digital remasters of other productions including Romulus, My Father, the 2007 drama directed by and starring Richard Roxburgh.

For more on the screenings and the trailer: https://www.ellipsisthefilm.com.au/

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