Breath rates highly for Great Southern audiences

A capacity audience gave a big thumbs-up to Simon Baker’s movie Breath at its premiere at the Albany Entertainment Centre on Saturday 21 April. Breath is based on the award-winning novel by acclaimed author Tim Winton, who attended the gala event along with Simon Baker and teenage co-stars Samson Coulter and Ben Spence.

The screening was part of a Breath roadshow taking in Albany, Denmark and Perth, and featuring Q&A sessions with the three cast members and Winton. Breath opens in 250 cinemas across Australia on Thursday 3 May.

The premiere was formally acknowledged by Minister for Culture and the Arts David Templeman, with Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan also attending.

Reactions from the Great Southern audiences reflected a wider positive reception for the film. Veteran reviewer Margaret Pomeranz described it as “a sublime adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel”. Pomeranz said: “Simon Baker’s debut feature is a knockout. It’s just beautiful.”

Breath was filmed on location in Denmark and along the Great Southern coast in early 2016. The production was supported by $1.5 million in State Government funding through the GSDC, which helped to clinch the decision to produce Breath in the region, and $800,000 through Screenwest and Lotterywest.

Simon Baker told the Albany audience that a pre-production visit to Denmark confirmed that it was the preferred location for the movie. He said the production process worked well on location. “Someone wanted us to make this film,” Baker said. “Mother nature played out in order for us to make this film, for sure.”

Winton said regional audiences would recognise the local landscape in the film. “The film’s showing … a pure, pristine, living and natural world that people can come to and live in and get nurture and sustenance from. If it interests people that there’s this incredible place at this end of the planet and that helps the region, I couldn’t be happier.”

Baker’s directorial debut saw him earn a Guild Award after a nomination for best direction of a feature film in the 2018 Australian Directors Guild Awards, against Greg McLean for Jungle, Jason Raftopoulos for West of Sunshine, Jeffrey Walker for Ali’s Wedding and Tori Garrett for Don’t Tell. The awards were announced in Melbourne on Friday 4 May and Baker’s win could not have been more timely with the film just being released in cinemas throughout Australia.


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