★★★★ ½ “…tense, twisty, stylish noir featuring an A-list ensemble of Australian
character actors…” FILMINK
★★★★ “A modern-day western with a slow-burn pulse…” Screen Space
“A fantastic piece of pulp film I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys a thriller…” Film Bunker
Following its critically acclaimed world premiere at the Gold Coast Film Festival in 2019, and a series of high-profile festival outings including Festival de Cannes’ Marche du Film and the Newport Beach Film Festival in the US, Australian outback crime-thriller LOCUSTS will be released in cinemas across the eastern states on October 17.
LOCUSTS follows estranged tech entrepreneur Ryan Black (Ben Geurens) who returns to his post mining-boom hometown for his father’s funeral, and is reluctantly reunited with his ex-con brother (Nathaniel Dean). When the pair become entangled in an extortion scam at the hands of desperate small-town criminals, Ryan is forced to resort to extreme measures, exposing the dark underbelly of the sleepy mining town.
The film was written, produced and created by radiologist Angus Watts (Legacy, The Blacksmith) who spent 5 years developing the film. Watts and director Heath Davis (Book Week, Broke), first connected at the Gold Coast Film Festival in 2016 and quickly discovered a mutual passion for gritty 70s and 80s genre cinema. A creative partnership was formed and the two began collaborating on this modern day western paying homage to the classic Ozploitation era.
LOCUSTS was partly inspired by Watts’ upbringing in the NSW town of Quirindi, which experienced hard times in the 1970s with drought and erosion ravaging the area. Watts also drew inspiration from the boom-bust impact of the mining boom on regional Queensland communities, which he witnessed through his work as a radiologist. Watts comments “it’s been a five-year journey bringing this film to the screen, and I’m really looking forward to audiences coming along for this wild outback ride.” Director Heath Davis adds “working with such an esteemed cast and crew has been a privilege. Seeing stalwarts of the Australian film industry sharing their knowledge with young and hungry crew members resulted in an incredible dynamic on set. I know the team is excited to see the film on the big screen.”
Ben Geurens (Reign) and Nathaniel Dean (Alien: Covenant) are joined by a knockout cast including Jessica McNamee (The Meg), Justin Rosniak (Animal Kingdom), Steve Le Marquand (Two Hands), Andy McPhee (Sons of Anarchy), Ken Moraleda (Lucky Miles), Peter Phelps (Lantana), Alan Dukes (Last Cab to Darwin), South Sydney NRL star George Burgess in his debut big screen role, Caroline Brazier, and a cameo by Angry Anderson. LOCUSTS is also the final role for the late actor Damian Hill who tragically passed away shortly after production, the film is dedicated to his memory.
LOCUSTS was shot in frosty Broken Hill in winter 2018, with the entire cast and crew taken by the breathtaking landscapes and the impact it had on the film and narrative. Nathaniel Dean reflects “You go out to Broken Hill and it’s a kaleidoscope of stars at night, coupled with the vastness of the land. These are the things that you can’t possibly get in the city. The idea of going to Broken Hill and driving a 1972 Mach 1 Mustang on the same roads that Mel (Gibson) would have at sunset, with the dust flying through the air, is absolutely amazing.”
The moody score was crafted by Golden Globe-winning composer Burkhard Dallwitz (The Truman Show), and was released worldwide in July on all major streaming platforms through Closereef.
LOCUSTS picked up numerous awards at the 2019 Cult Critic Magazine Awards including Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actor (Justin Rosniak) and Best Producer. The film was nominated in 4 categories at the 2019 Ozflix Awards including Best Film under 2m and Best Original Screenplay, received multiple nominations at Austin Revolution Film Festival, and is in contention in 15 categories going into round 1 voting of the 2019 AACTA Awards.
Other Official Selections this year have included Revelation Perth International Film Festival, Sydney Underground Film Festival, Festival of Cinema NYC, London Australian Film Festival, Nottingham International Film Festival and Cape Town International Film Festival.
LOCUSTS was produced by Watts’ production company Closereef Productions in association with Estranged Films, and will be distributed by Bonsai Films with international sales rights held by Cannes based Fizz-e-motion.
LOCUSTS will be released in selected cinemas across QLD, NSW and VIC from October 17, 2019.
SYDNEY: Randwick Ritz Cinemas
MELBOURNE: Lido Cinemas, Hawthorn
BRISBANE: Event Cinemas Indooroopilly
GOLD COAST: Reading Cinemas, Harbourtown
ADELAIDE: Event Cinemas Marion
REGIONAL LOCATIONS: Wagga Wagga, Orange, Tamworth, Bathurst, Port Macquarie, Nambour, Mornington, Lorne.
*Additional locations to come.