Aussie prison drama to debut in January

07 December, 2013 by Don Groves

George Basha in Convict. 


David Field in Convict. 

The producers of Australian prison drama Convict aim to cash in on the growing trend to stage special screenings with key cast conducting Q&A sessions.

They’re so confident the film will resonate with males aged 18-35, the nationwide release begins in the highly competitive January corridor.

“We’ll be the only Australian film showing on Australia Day,” says executive producer John Tedesco, forgetting Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man, which bows on Boxing Day and, based on the reviews at the Toronto festival, should have a long run.

Tedesco’s Gold Marquee Films is co-distributing the film with The Backlot Studios. The primary outlet is United Cinemas in Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and WA.

Pinnacle will release the film on DVD and VOD on April 1, departing from the customary 120-day holdback between theatrical and home entertainment. Tedesco says United’s management has no problem with the shorter window because “they know we need to make money as soon as we can after theatrical.”

Convict is co-directed by George Basha and David Field and scripted and produced by Basha, renewing their collaboration after The Combination. Basha plays a war veteran who is sent to prison where he is brutalized by the warden (Field) but befriended by an Aboriginal man (Richard Green). An encounter with an Arabic drug lord ensues.

The privately-financed film was shot at Parramatta Gaol. Tedesco says the target audience is men aged 18-35 “who want to see a gritty Australian film; that age group has been ignored for a long time.”

The premiere will be at United’s Warriewood cinema on January 20 and it will screen on United’s circuit from January 23. There will be a two-week season at Parramatta’s Riverside theatres from January 21. Bassa and Field will stage Q&As at Narellan, Rockingham in WA and Eldorado in Queensland.

The international sales agent, Galloping Films, screened the film for potential buyers at the American Film Market. Tedesco says he fielding offers from three UK distributors.

Field tells IF he enjoyed co-directing the film with Basha, observing, “”We see films and acting the same way.” He says he’s “very appreciative of the flexibility that United Cinemas has given us.”

Field played a supporting character in David Michod’s Apocalyptic thriller The Rover, with Robert Pattinson, Guy Pearce and Scoot McNairy. He’s just been cast in The Inbetweeners 2, the sequel to the UK hit comedy that featured Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison as gawky teenagers on a disastrous holiday to Crete, inspired by the TV series. He’’ll play the Australian uncle of one of the quartet, Jay (Buckley), whom he describes as a “”disgusting piece of work.”

Field says he wasn’t inclined to take the role until he flew to London to meet the creators and decided they’re fun guys and he wanted to work with them. Shooting starts in Australia this month, then switches to the UK.