Feature documentary Paul Kelly – Stories of Me has grossed an impressive $118,344 at special pre-release event screenings in Sydney and Brisbane.

The film, which had its world premiere at the 2012 Melbourne International Film Festival, charts the life of one of Australia’s most respected singer-songwriters.

The two screenings (which grossed $56,640 in Brisbane and $61,704 in Sydney) were staged as events, with Paul Kelly and director Ian Darling appearing on stage after the film was shown. It is a tactic which has recently worked well for another local feature documentary, Storm Surfers 3D, which included appearances by its stars (surfers Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones) at screenings.

Madman Entertainment managing director Paul Wiegard said the audience response to Paul Kelly – Stories of Me had been stunning. "The tour virtually selling out before the first screening is a testament to the talent involved and initial critical response,” he said in a statement.

Director Ian Darling added: “When we embarked on this film project we wanted to create an intimate portrait about this remarkable Australian artist, that would entertain, educate and engage audiences across the country. To see audiences singing and crying in their seats and connecting with the film at every level is truly satisfying.”

Paul Kelly – Stories of Me begins its official theatrical release on October 25.

Australian films at the box office 2012

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