TheAustralian drama Look Both Ways may become the country's long-awaited international breakout after taking $230,000(A$300,000) on home soil in its first week from only 17 screens.The film, which has its international premiere at Toronto, has beenthe number one film in every cinema in which it opened and was the seventh highest-grossing film in the week to August 24.
Dendy/FootprintFilms has now widened the local release to 50 screens, including selectedmultiplexes, and international release will follow.The film, handled internationally by Fortissimo, is in competition in the new directors' section of San Sebastian. It opened the Adelaide Film Festival, where it was voted most popular film, and won theFIPRESCI film critics' award for Asia Pacific film in Brisbane.
At the Australian box office, the only films that have bettered it were on between eight and 23 times more screens.
Thishelped writer/director Sarah Watt's debut record a screen average of $13,500 (A$17,773)well ahead of its Hollywood rivals.
"Thefilm is life-affirming and speaks to people emotionally and directly," saysDendy joint general manager Andrew Mackie.
"Anhonest and heart-felt film stands out in a sea of films that are similar andformulaic, with style over substance."
Thefilm screened at major chain Greater Union for the first time last night.
Filmgeneral manager Peter Cody does not always agree with the philosophy ofdistributors but did not have a problem not being in the opening wave given itis "a small film without star power".
LookBoth Ways is getting particular attention because of the poorperformance of local films at the box office in the past couple of years. Sotoo is another local hit Oyster Farmer.
Despitebeing in the top 20 chart for the past eight weeks, it increased its gross inthe last seven days. It is released by Dendy sister company Becker and ShermanPictures, and will reach A$2 million shortly.LookBoth Ways is in competition in the new directors' section of San Sebastian. It opened the Adelaide Film Festival, where it was voted most popular film, and won theFIPRESCI film critics' award for Asia Pacific film in Brisbane.
Look Both Wayswas produced by Bridget Ikin, whois now one of the executives making decisions on the Film Finance CorporationAustralia's slate. Beyond is handling sales on Oyster Farmer.