Gil Scrine delivers Pandora’s Promise

Wearing multiple hats, Gil Scrine is arranging a national cinema tour for controversial film Pandora's Promise, distributing Australian and international documentaries on DVD and Video-on-Demand, and selling films and docs direct to consumers.

Cinema Ventures, Scrine’s not-for-profit distribution company, is launching Pandora’s Promise in Melbourne on October 8, followed on consecutive days by screenings in Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.

US director Robert Stone’s feature-length documentary, which premiered at Sundance, argues that nuclear energy should be reconsidered as the primary source to meet the country’s energy needs while limiting emissions that contribute to climate change.

Pandora’s Promise is a fascinating documentary about nuclear power that argues it is the true green energy,” said Austin Chronicle critic Louis Black. “It would be hard to imagine a film more controversial than this one. Sure to push opponents of nuclear power into all kinds of rages, the film insists that the strengths of nuclear power are underestimated and the weaknesses overstated.”

The Los Angeles Times' Sheri Linden opined, “At its worst, Stone's flawed and provocative film takes cheap shots at the no-nukes movement; at its best, it poses compelling questions on the drawbacks of renewable energy and the very urgent matter of climate change.”

The filmmaker will attend each screening except Hobart. Scrine tells IF the tour is possible thanks to a $50,000 donation from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The venues include the Classic Cinema Elsternwick, Adelaide’s Mercury Cinema, Perth’s Luna Palace Cinemas, Canberra’s The Arc Cinema and Hoyts EQ Moore Park. Scrine notes it costs up to $2,700 to hire each cinema.

It’s the largest release yet from Cinema Ventures, an organisation initially supported by Screen Australia, Screen NSW, Screen Victoria and Screen Queensland. Two years ago Scrine raised $20,000 to release A Good Man, Safina Uberoi’s documentary on a NSW farmer who opened a legal brothel to support his quadriplegic wife and two children.

Early next year the venture will launch More than Honey, German director Markus Imhoof's investigation into why bees, worldwide, are facing extinction. He hopes to raise enough money to enable the director to tour with his film.

Scrine’s distribution banner Antidote Films will release Pandora’s Promise in December on DVD and numerous VoD platforms including Quickflix, BigPond Movies, Beamafilm, Fetch and Google Play.

In January Antidote will launch Sophie Huber’s Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, a tribute to the actor, singer and musician featuring David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Sam Shepard, Kris Kristofferson and Debbie Harry.

Scheduled for February are This Ain’t No Mouse Music!, Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling's profile of the founder of Arhoolie Records, home to New Orleans jazz, roughneck blues, Creole, Cajun, zydeco, Tex-Mex and Mexican-American norteño sounds for more than 50 years; and Ryan White’s Good ol’ Freda, which documents Freda Kelly, who was The Beatles' secretary for 11 years.

Scrine is partnered with Louise van Rooyen  in Beamafilm, the streaming site which has a library of more than 140 independent films and Australian docos. The site relaunched two weeks ago, progressively offering the top 20 titles from Madman Entertainment including Searching for Sugarman, Buck, The Queen of Versailles and Paul Kelly: Stories of Me.

Subscribers pay $12.99 per month for unlimited streaming. Bought a la carte, new release titles cost $4.99, with library titles at $3.99. To sample the service, there is a free 7-day trial.