Australian teen comedy Blurred, which is being released by Becker locally in October, and 8 Femmes, which Dendy is releasing during the peak December period, are among seven films to be screened to hundreds of exhibitors at the annual Australian International Movie Convention, to be held from August 13-17 on Queensland's Gold Coast.
Australia's specialist independent distributors get one spot for the simultaneous showing of two films at the convention. Dendy and Becker are both in the Becker Group stable but can't be accused of hogging the limelight because they were chosen by independent judges. Andrew Pike from Ronin Films, Mark Spratt from Potential Films and Emile Sherman from Ocean Pictures, none of whom had a film in contention, were asked to choose the best available examples of a wide (Blurred) and a narrow release.
The mainstream distributors that substantially fund the event get to excite delegates with one film each. Roadshow has chosen Australian comedy Crackerjack, 20th Century Fox has chosen The Banger Sisters, UIP is screening The Guru, Columbia TriStar unspools XXX, and newcomer Icon has chosen the thriller Swimfan, directed by Australian John Polson.
All players also screen a range of trailers and discuss their full upcoming slate as part of their presentation. BVI has chosen to not include a full-length feature this year but chief Alan Finney declined to comment on his reasons, saying it would ruin the surprise. Australia's second major newcomer, Hoyts, did not have a film available this time.
"It's a genre film that's going wide in the US through a major - Fox on 2,000+ prints on September 6 - and exhibitors at the convention respond well to this kind of thing," said Icon chief executive Mark Gooder explaining his choice of Swimfan. "Secondly, John Polson was available to present the film and, thirdly, I wanted to establish Icon as an independent worth supporting."
"We always try to find a film that will be either a complete discovery for the delegates or will be a great deal better than they might have been expecting," said UIP's Michael Selwyn, who has screened the then unknown Babe, Billy Elliot and Rat Race in previous years. "We have always found this strategy to work rather than to choose a really big film that everyone knows will be a success."