It’s been a decade since the Australian audience has seen the likes of a gritty, no-holds barred western across our dusty, harsh environs in The Proposition (2005).
Come 2015, writer/director Matthew Holmes’ bushranger epic The Legend of Ben Hall not only stands out in a starved genre, but begs the question – why is the Australian film market not flooded with more westerns given the country’s rugged, sun-drenched landscape and rich bushranging history?
The Legend of Ben Hall trailer:
Strictly adhering to historical fact, The Legend of Ben Hall focuses on the tumultuous last six months in the life of the bushranger played by Jack Martin in the titular role.
‘When it comes to telling the Ben Hall story, I’m not interested in presenting fiction’.
It’s been Holmes’ filmmaking passion to make an ‘Australian version’ of the cowboy movies he soaked up in his teen years. Dedicating several years to his infatuation with the notorious outlaw, Holmes felt it was only proper to re-create every element from shootouts and robberies to wardrobe and weaponry as recorded in the historical documents, abiding by the ethos that truth will always trump fiction.
Watch part 1 of our interview with Matthew and learn more about the origins of Ben Hall, writing this beast and shooting in regional Victoria and New South Wales.
Matthew Holmes Part 1:
Period dramas cost big money, period! So how do you secure big money when your story dwells in a genre that hasn’t been tried and tested to any great extent, or to any great success?
For The Legend of Ben Hall, it was a proof-of-concept short film funded via crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, which happened to strike the fancy of producers at Odin’s Eye Entertainment and Greg McLean of Wolf Creek (2005), who have been instrumental in the project’s evolution to feature status, not to mention the dedication and hard work of a talented film crew.
Check out part 2 of our chat with Matthew to hear more about the hurdles, how you learn from failure and the future of Ben Hall.
Matthew Holmes Part 2:
“You really need to love what you do. This is what I want to do with my life come hell or highwater” the energetic Holmes proclaims, brimming with an infectious attitude the Australian western genre has long hungered for.
And it is with this sheer drive the young writer/director saddles up for not only his ambitious second feature in The Legend of Ben Hall, but for a slate of proposed films in a ‘Legends Trilogy’ – an epic saga of the New South Wales bushrangers.
The Legend of Ben Hall is due for release in late 2015.
Wanna know more about The Legend of Ben Hall? Comment below or on our facebook page and we’ll hit up Matthew for more info.