Wednesday, June 21, 2006


WOW!! That's about all we can say about Australia's premiere festival -- the Sydney Film Festival. We just got back from a very long round trip to the land down under. The film's in competition at the festival and we can now put the Sydney audiences at the top of our list as the best so far. The response was so moving for us and really affected us a lot. The film opened on Saturday, June 17 at the State Theatre, an amazing old venue that recalls a time when going to the movies was a big deal. The decor is part Victorian opera house/part early 20th-century kitsch. One person remarked it felt like being inside Prince's brain. The theatre holds 2000 people and we were completely shocked when about 1500 people showed up on opening night. But the most exciting part was the fact that Jane Campion, our Executive Producer (a Kiwi by birth but a longtime resident of Australia) joined us on stage at the end of the opening night. It was the first time that all three of us (Chris, Patty and Jane) had been together to show the film. It was also the first time Jane had seen the film on the big screen and with an audience. She was absolutely moved and could barely speak when she got up to answer questions at the end. Aussies poured their hearts out in our guest books for Megumi's family. Others, unable to sign the book because of the long lines, left letters for the family or sent emails the next day. The second screening proved to be more proof of the incredible hearts of the Australian people. Another 1000 + audience and a lively Q&A afterwards. We could only stand back in awe. The festival itself was an extremely well-organized affair with every detail taken care of and every need looked after. Thank you Sydney for making our first foray into your country an extremely memorable one! Off to Japan next to show the families, the Japanese government and the Japanese media the film. This wil, no doubt, be our toughest audience yet.


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