Still, get a release it shall (into 8 cinemas, more than some other more acclaimed films) and good on them for doing so. Just getting a film completed and out there is a win in this day and age, and if the cinematic release acts as nothing more than a token gesture before DVD (a much more forgiving arena for Australian films, I assume) then so be it. The film is being distributed, I believe, by the co-director (Kate Whitbread) and co-star/co-producer (Spencer McLaren), although I may be wrong on that detail, and a recently released trailer didn't exactly set the world on fire - two unrelated Twitter followers labelled it "abominable" within minutes of each other. Take a look for yourself and think "would I rather see this or A Heartbeat Away?" Hmmm, that's a tough one!
So far, so ordinary. It may look bad, but not offensive and barely worth a second glance. Sad, but true. Nevertheless, something about this trailer piqued my curiosity at the time (I saw it play before The Help and promptly forgot all about it), but it wasn't until I received an email from a "Jarrod Sturneiks" just yesterday that it really clicked. In between the many moments of inept acting displayed by star Holly Valance ("you've got to be bloody kidding me" is a snorter, that's for sure!), the dunderheaded title cards, grating budget music choices and the entire film being laid out in front of us, there is a moment of unexpected curiosity when a four star review from The Guardian is referenced.
Considering even Australian critics hadn't had much of an opportunity to see Surviving Georgia at the time, it was curious that this tiny Australian film starring Holly Valance (of all people) managed to secure a 4-star quote from a well-known source such as The Guardian website. Alas, what they have done is in fact used a user review posted by somebody on the film's default Guardian page. Looking at the website in question and it becomes quite clear, rather quickly, that this review by "Lutherfilm" is not an official review by any means and that the producers have misrepresented The Guardian as somehow endorsing Surviving Georgia.
How do they get away with it? The same star rating and quote is featured on the poster, too. One must assume that they figured their film is so small that nobody would really notice and that by not including the actual name of the person who wrote "...touches your heart and leaves you with a smile" they can feasibly get away with it. But, then again, that's like saying CNN endorses radical alternative therapies simply because they feature an interview with somebody who does. Who on Earth knows who this "Lutherfilm" person is, anyway. The comment was posted way back on 18 May, which is coincidental since the film's original release date, according to IMDb, was 29 May. This person's profile features no other activity; they may as well be a stock standard Anonymous and be done with it. There's even a typo in there to look unofficial.
It almost feels like I'm criticising a puppy for peeing on the carpet, but this sort of blatant false advertising does nobody any favours. Not the Surviving Georgia filmmakers, nor any other filmmakers who work hard and get their film out there just to see it fail. Australian films are currently doing quite well at the box office, what with Red Dog and The Eye of the Storm, but this much smaller film obviously didn't have the resources at their disposal, which is hardly their fault. Nevertheless, so much Australian film marketing is grass roots, especially for a film like this, and perhaps I was just looking in the wrong place, but I never heard a peep out of this film trying to get itself out there and raising its profile. If they thought slapping a fake quote on their dodgy trailer was going to cure their film's ills then they were sorely mistaken. If they don't even trust their own product then why should we? I like to try and see as many local films as possible, but for Surviving Georgia I'll make an exception. This one I'll skip.