Aussie thriller set to follow Mad Max

Australian thriller Touch is set to launch in five Australian cinemas on May 21, just one week after George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road  blankets the nation.

The timing may not seem ideal but the distributor, ScreenLaunch CEO Ross Howden, tells IF that’s the only date he could get after months of negotiations with exhibitors.

Still, Howden is confident that writer-director Christopher Houghton’s film, which stars Leanne Walsman, Matt Day and newcomer Onor Nottle, will find appreciative audiences after premiering at the Sydney Film Festival last year.

Produced by Triptych Pictures’ Julie Byrne, the film follows Dawn (Walsman) and her daughter Steph (Nottle), who are on the run across the Adelaide Hills, pursued by mysterious man John (Day).

Howden has bookings for Event Cinemas Bondi Junction, Regal Theatre and Trak Cinemas in Adelaide and the Classic and Cameo Cinemas in Melbourne, and he hopes a roll-out in regional areas will follow.   It will premiere on Sunday May 17 at the Regal attended by Houghton and key cast, followed by a Q&A.  Other Q&As are planned in Sydney and Melbourne.

Underlining the challenge of securing screens for most Australian films, Howden says that by the time he confirmed those sites, he has just six weeks to mount marketing campaigns, primarily using social media.

The thriller builds up to an unexpected twist, which the filmmakers hope audiences will not divulge to others.

Houghton said, “Touch is a story about love, but not in the way you expect. It’s a mystery of the heart as much as it is a thriller about a mother on the run, protecting her child.

"We scouted everywhere for the best locations and found a landscape you don’t normally see in Australian films. It’s both exquisite and heart wrenching, and serves the story internally and externally.”

ScreenLaunch, which is handling international sales, screened the film to potential buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin. Howden says he got some promising “bites,” particularly from Northern Europe, which he hopes to convert to deals at the Cannes Film Market.