In what will probably be the biggest coup for indie filmmakers in Australia this year, major Australian distributor Roadshow Films has picked up Zak Hilditch's apocalyptic thriller These Final Hours
for a wide release - expected in 2014. The film was produced by Liz Kearney.
To put this in context, Roadshow hasn't picked up an Australian film after it's completed for as long as I can remember, and I've been writing about the industry for six years (a relatively short time, but a long and varied one in the annals of distributing genre films in Australia).
These Final Hours is an intense genre exercise, respecting the best of its kind whilst imbuing the film with truly original and meaningful characters and implications. It has just been awarded The Age newspapers critics choice award over strong contenders like The Turning, Mystery Road and Patrick, and it's not hard to see why.
[Nathan] Phillips plays James, a strung-out, conflicted mess who aches to travel to his girlfriend's party and lose himself in drink, drugs and debauchery. Going by the festival guide's program notes, I did not expect to see burning cars and strewn out bodies in Perth suburbia as machete wielding maniacs stalked areas blocked by makeshift supermarket trolley fences.
Frankly, this came as a relief, as These Final Hours could have been a contemplative, low-budget slow burn on what it means to be a part of the final day on Earth. Thankfully, the film has it both ways, through organic character development and the trials and tribulations the last hours bring.
Roadshow's local slate for 2013/14 boasts just about the best line-up in years for Australian films, not to mention Aussie genre. Upcoming films include Joel Edgerton and Matt Saville's cop thriller Felony, Greg Mclean's hotly anticipated Wolf Creek 2 and David Michod's Animal Kingdom follow-up The Rover, another dystopian thriller. Anyone loudly opining that genre doesn't get made or supported in Australia will soon be yelling into a vacuum.
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