Wagga, be prepared to be bowled over – Daily Advertiser – 17 Sep.13

LIGHTS, camera, action – the stage, and the stumps, have been set.

Wagga’s very own feature film, Backyard Ashes, will hold its world premiere in the city on November 6.

The following day it will open in selected cinemas around the region before being released on the metropolitan stage on November 21 to coincide with the Ashes beginning in Australia. 

International showing also isn’t out of the question – with  a sales deal already in place.

The premiere gala event in Wagga will see close to 1000 guests – including cast and crew, along with representatives from Screen NSW and Screen Australia, Cricket Australia, Fox Sports, Channel Nine and other yet to be announced special guests – descend on the city.

As a result it is expected to use all six of the Forum 6 cinemas.

Director Mark Grentell told The Daily Advertiser last night it was only fitting the film would make its debut in Wagga.

“This was written here, shot here, will premiere here and be publicised here, that’s never been done before,” Mr Grentell said.

“All of the community of Wagga owns the film and we’re excited to bring Wagga’s first world premiere.

“We wanted the audience who helped create the film to be the first to see it.

“The best place to release the film is where it was made, it’s the only way you can compete with an independent film.”

Mr Grentell said although they weren’t “quite over the line just yet”, given the film is still in post production, it was “very exciting” to finally have a date.

“We’re confident with where it sits,” he said.

“(The metropolitan release) all depends on a strong showing in regional areas, but we’re fairly confident of that.”

After trials with up to 10 different audiences and positive results, Mr Grentell said it was up to the people to make their decision on a film with a very unique story.

“We hope the film does what Kenny did … people really connected and resonated with it.”

The film will be rated PG and has been endorsed by Cricket Australia, who Mr Grentell said “love the film and the way it promotes cricket and the Australian lifestyle”.

Last night’s Wagga City Council meeting was given the first look at the film’s 90-second trailer, which is due to hit screens this week and shortly air in cinemas.

The entire concept received visible support from councillors.

“I want to support this for a lot of reasons … it’s a home-grown product with home-grown people involved,” Councillor Garry Hiscock said.

“It’s going to help Wagga be established on the open market … it’s a real bonus for the city.

Cr Hiscock then joked if council was eligible for any royalties from its success.

“The city literally owns more of this than Peter (fellow co-writer and producer Peter Cox) and I do,” Mr Grentell said. 

More information is expected to be released in coming weeks and, despite the premiere being invite only, plans are under way for numerous promotional events leading up to it, including signings and even advanced screenings.

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