Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Sapphires Come Out S(w)inging

As they say in Hollywood (note: they may never say this in Hollywood) - 24 hours is a long time. Well, don't the people behind upcoming Australian musical, The Sapphires, know that! In the span of one day the buzz for Wayne Blair's debut feature has sky-rocketed through little more than a marvellously handled parade of marketing and press announcements that seemingly came one right after the other. It was something altogether different to the usual way Australian films are handled where the release of a poster or a trailer is given minimal press and seen as little more than a prerequisite formality that not much thought truly goes into. Within the past 24 hours though we've seen the buzz for Australia's only Croisette-bound film reach some truly loud volumes, so much so that "The Sapphires" was even trending on Twitter. The film was already high on the radar of most industry watchers due to its positioning at the Cannes Film Festival that seemed to imply it could follow the previous path to success trotted by Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom in 1992 and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in 1994. It started with the announcement that The Sapphires would be the opening night gala selection of the Melbourne International Film Festival on 1 August, then a local release date of 9 August, followed by a poster, then the first footage, and culminating later in the evening with the big news that The Weinstein Company had acquired the musical for worldwide distribution (outside of countries like Australia and New Zealand that already had distribution in place).
May 15, 2012 – New York, NY – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that they have acquired from Goalpost Film worldwide rights, with the exception of the UK & Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, Israel, Portugal and airlines, to THE SAPPHIRES. The film, directed by acclaimed Aboriginal actor and theater director Wayne Blair, stars funnyman Chris O’Dowd (BRIDESMAIDS, FRIENDS WITH KIDS), Deborah Mailman (RADIANCE, OFFSPRING), who was the first Aboriginal actress to win the AFI Award for Best Actress, Jessica Mauboy (BRAN NUE DAE), an Australian pop artist who was the runner-up on Australian Idol in 2006 and breakout stars Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell. The screenplay was written by Aboriginal playwright Tony Briggs, whose mother and family members were part of The Sapphires group, and Keith Thompson. Warwick Thornton, previous winner of the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for SAMSON AND DELILAH, is the film’s Director of Photography. ...

“THE SAPPHIRES is a rare and special film, and all of us on director Wayne Blair’s team are thrilled to be working with The Weinstein Company which we know will be the very best home for this film,” said Goalpost Film’s Tristan Whalley.
Great news there. Of course, I'm not exactly expecting The Sapphires to be "the next big thing" for the company - lest we forget the fate that has befallen so many Weinstein acquisitions - but it's a big moment for the filmmakers to be in the pocket of someone as important as Harvey Weinstein. We'll see how the film goes during its "Official Selection" screenings at Cannes over the next couple of weeks, but with this flurry of activity it's nice to see a local movie finally get people talking again for the right reasons. Take a look at the first released clip of the film below as we wait for an official trailer to come down the line.

No comments: