Taking risks is something no filmmaker should be averse to; making risky films is something every filmmaker should aspire to.
This ethos holds true for writer/director Nicholas Verso’s first feature film Boys in the Trees. It was a risky move independently financing the film, securing silver screen distribution in a digital world and writing characters set in a universe that exists outside the perceived traditional Australian cultural norms.
Nick’s characters appeal to the young Australian audience because they are the same person. Raised on American culture, “Aussie kids these days would rather listen to Kanye West than Hunters and Collectors, and while I might think that’s sad, that’s the reality.” he says.
In the path to our culture’s current state of conservatism, Nick feels the true art of Australian cinema has been lost in that contemporary Australian cinema has become cold; filmmakers have forgotten that sometimes audiences want to escape to a world away from their day-to-day reality.
Boys in the Trees trailer:
It seems a pretty safe strategy for content creators to go straight to digital platforms these days however after meeting with distributor Mushroom Pictures, Nick went for the silver screen instead, insisting cinema isn’t dead as long as the content is there to draw an audience. “The internet is a great tool to find your audience, although I don’t think we’ve quite figured out how to deal with long form content on there yet” he explains.
Obtaining private financial backing isn’t usually the way forward in the crowd-sourcing era, especially since backing requires a return on the investment. The distribution deal through Mushroom meant Boys in the Trees could be screened in cinemas, tickets sold and funds on the investment returned.
Nick Verso on Boys in the Trees:
Taking risks has obviously paid off for the talented team behind Boys in the Trees, it was an essential element that projected the film into the international spotlight garnering worldwide attention and notable acclaim.
It’s a lesson for filmmakers to be bold in their endeavors and proves that first time feature length directors can get their films funded and into cinemas and festivals. While some of the time that path might not be easy, the end result is always worth it.
Boys in the Trees won Best Feature Film at the Austin Film Festival in 2016 and Best Narrative Screenplay (Unproduced) at NewFest in 2011. It was also accepted into the Venice Film Festival (2016), Toronto International Film Festival (2016), Busan International Film Festival (2016), Festival de Rio (2016) and the Stockholm International Film Festival (2016).
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