Sunday - Interview with actor/producer Dustin Clare and director Michelle Joy Lloyd

Channel: Jim Schembri

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BRAVE NEW WORLD: The Melbourne people behind the small independent film Sunday have a big agenda.

A year after Christchurch was devastated by the 2011 earthquake, an estranged couple walk about the city, trying to see if they have a future together.

Eve (Camille Keenan) is pregnant; Charlie (Dustin Clare) still loves her, but is too devoted to his dangerous job as a convoy driver to commit to her. She wants him to make a decision. He wants to make one, too, but is paralysed by choice.

In the conversational style of Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise trilogy the two joke, bicker, prod and insult each other, hoping to find a middle ground where their relationship and impending careers as parents can survive.

Deftly directed by Kiwi Michelle Joy Lloyd, Sunday is a modest, neatly etched character study of two people in transition.

An Australian/New Zealand co-production, Clare (Spartacus; Anzac Girls; McLeod's Daughters, for which he won a Logie in 2007) co-produced and co-wrote the film with Lloyd.

His Kiwi partner Keenan (Underbelly, Packed to the Rafters, Satisfaction), who was actually seven-months pregnant during the shoot, also co-wrote and co-produced the film.

Lloyd's husband Ryan Alexander Lloyd co-produced and was the film's cinematographer.

They all live in Melbourne.

The film, modest as it is, will be making some history: it'll be the first in Australia to be released simultaneously in theatres and digitally, having already done so late last year in New Zealand.

Sunday will screen on 19 screens across Australia - including the Cameo Belgrave and Classic Elsternwick in Melbourne - and on a raft of digital platforms including: Stan; DVD; iTunes; Fetch TV; Vimeo on Demand; Reelhouse; Dendy Direct; Sony; Xbox; and Google Play.

In this lively interview, Dustin Clare and Michelle Joy Lloyd discuss the themes in their self-funded film and unpack the reasons behind their bold release venture.

As the first to test the waters of a new film distribution model - other local films, such as The Mule and Wyrmwood, have been released primarily as digital and DVD releases - they identify piracy as one of their main motivators.

By offering the film to everybody simultaneously and at a reasonable cost, they hope to pull the carpet out from under movie pirates.

They subscribe to the common anti-piracy belief that if you make your film legitimately available when people want to see it, you deny piracy its chief appeal.

They also hope to somewhat "disruptive" to the traditional means of film distribution that has held sway for so long.

As a young actor with a swelling profile both here and in Hollywood, Clare is especially driven and committed to this cause in particular, and to the general one of backing Australian films.

And he likes to speak frankly.

"There are great independent [exhibitors] out there who are really supportive of Australian film, but there are also people who control programming right across Australia who are not interested in taking American content off their screens for Australian films," Clare says. "To me, that's criminal."

Despite his success internationally with the Spartacus TV series, Clare - who has also produced short films and was an executive producer on the documentary In Bob We Trust - is deeply committed to local film, as you'll see.

Please enjoy.

Sunday opens Saturday 2 May.

To watch our interview with Michelle Joy Lloyd & Dustin Clare, please click here:
http://youtu.be/xWGwkkPVQxQ

To view a trailer for Sunday, please click here:
http://www.getlinkyoutube.com/watch?v=-MnzYI1uO_4