Patrick, In Bob We Trust wow MIFF audiences, critics

The producers of horror/thriller feature Patrick and documentary In Bob We Trust are finalising Australian release plans after their well-received world premieres last Saturday at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Patrick, Mark Hartley’s re-imagining of Richard Franklin’s 1978 psychological thriller, will open in Australia in October. Producer Antony I. Ginnane said distributor Umbrella Entertainment is tossing up between October 17 and October 24.

”A skilfully made genre piece, Patrick is a very satisfying movie meal, well done with a garnish of dark humour,” opined Radio 3AW’s Jim Schembri.

The Guardian’s Luke Buckmaster sparked to a “high-powered genre film that works fiendishly hard to satisfy its target demographic of squealers, thrill seekers and horror buffs. They won’t leave disappointed.”

The film, which got an MA rating last week, stars Sharni Vinson as Kathy, a nurse who takes a job at a private hospital for the clinically comatose in a remote seaside town after the mysterious disappearance of another nurse. She’s assigned to care for a patient named Patrick under the watchful eyes of the matron (Rachel Griffiths) and a renegade neurologist (Charles Dance). It emerges that Patrick has telepathic powers and his affections for Kathy turn into a deadly and bloody obsession.

“The film had an extraordinarily enthusiastic reception on Saturday from a sold-out 700- plus audience, with 500-plus staying for the Q&A,” Ginnane told IF. ”One has to be careful about drawing too optimistic a conclusion for the theatrical release from a festival audience, but for Mark, (writer) Justin (King) and me it was a great evening.”

Hartley said, "We set out to make an old-fashioned Gothic chiller, a type of film that certainly isn't made in Australia any more. The film announces that style from the first frame and first note of Donaggio's Herrmann-esque orchestral score. Thankfully, the premiere audience embraced the film's sensibility, went along for the ride – and from the feedback I received, very much enjoyed it."

London-based sales agent Bankside is arranging a private screening for international distributors on the eve of the Toronto International Film Festival in September and the film has been invited to two international festivals in September and October, whose names Ginnane can’t disclose until they make formal announcements.

Ginnane produced the original film, which starred Robert Helpmann, Susan Penhaligon and Robert Thompson.

In Bob We Trust profiles Father Bob Maguire, the South Melbourne priest who was forced to retire and evicted from the church he called home for 38 years after battles with the church hierarchy.

Director Lynn-Maree Milburn and her Ghost Pictures colleagues, producer/director Richard Lowenstein and producer/cinematographer Andrew de Groot, spent three years following Father Bob, capturing unique footage to tell this David versus Goliath story.

Schembri hailed the documentary as an “outstanding, hugely entertaining, funny/sad profile of suburban legend Bob Maguire aka Father Bob…. a bristling, enlightening, inspiring journey.”

Lowenstein told IF the film will premiere in Melbourne exclusively at Melbourne Cinema Nova on October 17. He said a cinema release in other capital cities is in negotiation. Madman Entertainment will distribute the title on DVD/Video-on-Demand.

The international sales agent, Odin’s Eye Entertainment’s Michael Favelle, said, “As the film was only finished on the eve of the festival, we are yet to screen to buyers and are currently working on an international festival launch.”