Platform release for Ben Hackworth’s ‘Celeste’ after film festivals exposure


Curious Films launched Ben Hackworth’s Celeste on six screens in the capital cities last weekend after screening at a dozen international film festivals.

The international sales agent, Tine Klint’s LevelK, has sold the romantic drama, which stars Radha Mitchell, Thomas Cocquerel, Nadine Garner and Odessa Young, to HBO Central Europe, 15 territories in Eastern Europe and China’s DD Dream International, which plans a theatrical release.

Unicorn Films’ Lizzette Atkins, who produced with Raphael Cocks, tells IF a North American deal is in negotiation.

Co-written by Hackworth and the late Bille Brown, Celeste grossed $6,000 and $22,000 including advance screenings.

The regional roll-out will begin on May 9 and Curious Films’ Stephen Fitzgibbon aims to expand to 15-20 screens in the regions through May/June. Fitzgibbon is finalising streaming and other ancillary deals which he hopes to soon announce.

Mitchell plays the title role, a retired opera star who plans one last comeback 10 years after the mysterious death of her lover. Cocquerel is her brooding, hot-headed stepson Jack. Garner is Grace, handmaiden, protector and perhaps lover of Celeste, with Young as Rita, a shop assistant who becomes Jack’s quasi girlfriend.

Co-funded by Screen Australia and Screen Queensland, the film had its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival, screened in official competition at the Adelaide International Film Festival and opened the Brisbane International Film Festival.

It had its international premiere at the BFI London Film Festival and played at fests in such diverse places as Cork, Manchester and San Francisco as well as the European Independent Film Festival.

Atkins says: “It has had an amazing response and Radha, Ben and Tom have been special guests at many of the festivals.”