Ritz Cinema in Randwick.

Western Australian independent distributor Halo Films is set to bring its slate to the east coast after partnering with Eddie Tamir’s cinema business Moving Story.

The collaboration provides Halo titles with a pathway to screen at Melbourne’s The Classic in Elsternwick, Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn, and Cameo Cinemas in Belgrave, as well as The Ritz Cinema in Sydney’s Randwick.

It’s another step forward for the company, which was launched in September 2020 as a way to support WA filmmakers by releasing films and documentaries that don’t have an existing distribution deal or theatrical release in place.

In the past 12 months, Halo has released Steven J. Mihaljevich’s The Xrossing, Julius Telmer’s Greenfield, and Garth De Bruno Austin’s documentary The Last Horns of Africa.

This year’s schedule includes Adam Morris’ Albany-shot romance Edward and Isabella, Tim Baretto’s upcoming feature Bassendream, and social impact documentary, Black Cockatoo Crisis from 2021 Brian Beaton award winner Jane Hammond.

Managing director Ian Hale, who also operates purpose-built screening facility and post-production studio Back Lot Perth, said the agreement was a welcome boost for WA’s indie film sector.

“HALO Films are committed to giving independent films a voice and after receiving wonderful support from Luna Palace and the other independent cinemas in WA we are excited that we can now share these films to be seen in these beautiful cinemas in Victoria and NSW and we thank Eddie and Benji Tamir for supporting our vision,” he said.

Halo Films managing director Ian Hale.

“After the films’ theatrical screenings we will be releasing them through Revelation Film Festivals RevStream so more people can enjoy them.”

Moving Story programming manager Benji Tamir said Hale had been on the company’s radar long before this year and that while details of the upcoming partnership were still being worked out, event screenings were likely.

“We were going to work on Last Horns of Africa and few of his other films before the pandemic hit but it didn’t eventuate because of what happened,” he said.

“We can see Ian’s passion for cinema and he’s obviously doing some great things, so we are always open to opportunities like this when they come our way.

“People love Q&As and events around Australian film, so we feel we can eventise that kind of stuff.”

Edward and Isabella will be the subject of a special event screening later this month when it is shown as part of the second CinefestOZ Albany Festival.

Morris, who made his feature directorial debut with the film, likened Hale’s involvement in the project to “having a great actor on your team or a great DOP”.

“Film is such a collaborative art form, from the very first casting call to the final theatrical release and finding that elusive ‘pathway to audience’ through intelligent and passionate distribution,” he said.

“The fact that Edward and Isabella, our tiny $15,000 feature film, that on paper shouldn’t have even been completed, has now found a home in cinemas in WA, Victoria, and NSW, all due to Ian’s hard work, is a testament to his vision, and to his commitment to that vision for Halo Films.”

Hale and Morris will next collaborate on the latter’s second feature, Frank and Frank (or The Valley and The Walrus: Ruminations on the Mystery from Soup to Nuts), which will be Halo’s first project as a co-producer.

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