FORUM FILMS INKS FIRST-LOOK DEAL WITH ANUPAM SHARMA’S TEMPLE TO EXPAND THEATRICAL DISTRIBUTION OF DIVERSE AUSTRALIAN FILMS
The first two projects confirmed for distribution include Melbourne-based thriller Honour and factual feature Bollywood Downunder, which were both announced in Mumbai last year at a ceremony hosted by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklan and AACTA’s Asia International Engagement Program.
Other projects in the deal include Bill Bennett’s Defiant (developed with assistance from Screen Australia and Screen NSW) and Grant Scicluna’s Honour (developed with assistance from Screen Australia, Film Victoria, MIFF Premiere Fund and Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum).
Producer/director Anupam Sharma said: “The distribution and production space has changed dramatically particularly in relation to diverse Australian content, which has historically struggled for theatre space. It is a boon to have a major distribution company like Forum Films, which specialises in niche cinema, on board to take these films to more audiences through the big screen. My crew will now be working with even more enthusiasm!”
Forum Films is expanding to provide more independent, diverse Australian films with theatrical exposure in the region. The lucrative distribution deal will see Temple’s forthcoming slate of features released by Forum Films in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea via the distributor’s relationships with an extensive network of cinemas including Event, Village, Reading, Wallis, Dendy, Palace and United.
Managing director of Forum Films, Pritesh Raniga, said: “Forum was founded by my father in Fiji due to his great interest and passion for the movies. Because of this it was only natural that I watched movies from a very young age. From hiring theatres to run dedicated shows on weekends, today we have access to mainstream theatres with more and more theatre owners interested in screening Asian movies. With a rapidly growing diverse population in Australia, Forum found it natural to take the next step and look at distributing diverse Australian films particularly those related to Asia/India.”
Forum Films is well known for distributing niche movies with strong B.O. office potential. Less than 24% of Forum’s films have taken less than $100K at the B.O,
while other comparable distributors in this space have a sub $100K B.O. performance rate as high as 81%.
Australian Head for Forum Films, Kartik Mohandas, said: “It’s imperative that we branch out and exhibit the diversity that we see in our communities. There are some very diverse and exciting films being made in Australia today by talented independent film makers like Anupam. We would love to collaborate with these professionals and bring their products to the cinemas.”
Writer/director Bill Bennett said: “We have been developing this gripping story – Defiant – a fast paced thriller based on real life events, and with each year passing the age-old practice of so-called “honour” killings doesn’t abate with the growing modernity and wealth of India, if anything it’s got worse, and consequently Defiant is even more timely. It will be film that must be seen in a cinema to get the full sensual and emotional onslaught that is India – and so we are delighted that Forum Films has agreed to theatrically distribute.”
TV producer Claire Haywood (The Pink House, Kings Cross ER) said: “I am delighted to be producing Bollywood Downunder with Anupam. With the planned theatrical and event screenings via Forum Films, this story of Australia’s love affair with Bollywood will reach an audience of Australians of all backgrounds.”
Jannine Barnes (Downriver), producer of Honour, said: “All Australian filmmakers should feel encouraged by Forum’s expansion and it is exciting to be working with a distributor that is both opening up the market in Australia and New Zealand and who has a focus on diverse content and storytelling. Forum are uniquely placed to support local films with an international focus and are well positioned to deliver to an audience hungry for this content.”
About Forum Films
Forum Films is a leading name in cinema distribution specialising in Bollywood and Punjabi (a.k.a Pollywood) movies in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji Islands and Papua New Guinea. It won the award for highest box office in Australia for foreign films at the Australian International Movie Convention in its first year of Australian operations. Forum Films has consistently delivered great B.O. results year on year and its partnerships with major exhibitors such as Event Cinemas, Village Cinemas, Reading Cinemas and Wallace Cinema are one of the key strengths in being able to give a solid B.O. performance.
About Films & Casting TEMPLE
Established in 1998 and based out of Fox Studios Sydney, Films & Casting TEMPLE is one of Australia’s leading production companies providing consultation and production services for feature films and high-end TV commercials worldwide. Widely credited as pioneering Australia’s film industry links with India, TEMPLE has been championing diversity in the Australian screen sector and promotion of Australian films in non-traditional and emerging markets through its projects and initiatives, such as the Australian Film Initiative, for the last 21 years.
Previous titles include: The Run, UnINDIAN, Indian Aussies – Terms & Conditions Apply, among many others.
Current slate includes: Defiant, Honour, Bollywood Downunder, Didn’t We Shine.