The Turning could be one of the few local independent feature films to make its run at cinemas a profitable one.
This is pure speculation of course but the first look at footage (below) shows a high-level drama with an impressive array of talent both behind the camera (directors: Marieka Walsh, Warwick Thornton, Jub Clerc, Robert Connolly, Anthony Lucas, Rhys Graham, Ashlee Page, Tony Ayres, Claire McCarthy, Stephen Page, Shaun Gladwell, Mia Wasikowska, Simon Stone, David Wenham, Jonathan Auf Der Heide, Justin Kurzel, Yaron Lifschitz, Ian Meadows) and in front (actors: Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Miranda Otto, Richard Roxburgh, Hugo Weaving, Callan Mulvey, Brenna Harding, Dan Wyllie, Susie Porter, Harrison Gilbertson, Robyn Nevin, Matt Nable, Wayne Blair).
An event-style screening with even a few of those names would be quite a drawcard for audiences. Robert Connolly’s CinemaPlus distribution venture, which employs just that strategy, showed much promise with the re-release of Underground: The Julian Assange Story which, despite being initially shown on Channel Ten, still attracted a wide cinema audience.
Event-style cinema screenings tap into a sense of community and appear to be a far more positive cinematic avenue than attempting to replicate Hollywood studio-style distribution on just 20 screens or fewer with a miniscule marketing budget.
Using film distribution as a loss-leader which is then (hopefully) recouped through DVD sales is no longer working as the home entertainment market dries up. And given that film is given a substantially higher government subsidy (40 per cent via the Producer Offset versus 20 per cent for TV) it’s always nice if audiences actually show some vague demand for it on that platform (rather than the subsidy just reflecting the higher costs of production).
Event-style screenings have also worked strongly for documentaries such as I Am Eleven, Storm Surfers 3D and Paul Kelly – Stories of Me. A key test will be which talent will tour in support of The Turning‘s cinema release (it will first premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival).
The Turning‘s first trailer can be viewed below or at the film’s Facebook page.