Brisbane-based producer Cathy Overett directly witnessed the “electric” reaction to Iron Sky at the Berlin Film Festival and is now carefully considering the Australian cinema release.
The science fiction comedy with Hollywood blockbuster-sized buzz is about a group of Nazis who return to claim Earth in 2018 after moving to the moon during World War II.
“It was a real hoot,” said Overett of the world premiere this month. “We were the most talked about film and the second most popular in terms of ticket sales.”
Iron Sky is an Australian/Finland/Germany. The film's notoriety began in the sci-fi community with Finnish director Timo Vuorensola and his collaborators building and engaging with an online fan base during the production of the 2005 film Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, which did not screen in cinemas. Sales agent Stealth Media has already sold theatrical rights to Iron Sky, however, to more than 20 countries including North America.
Overett, one of several producers, understands that about 600,000 people worldwide are engaging each week online and more than 6 million people have watched the official trailer, also launched during Berlin.
The film will be in many cinemas worldwide from April but, probably, in May or June in Australia.
“I would like to see a traditional release, in that we screen at (local) festivals initially, but we will also be tapping into the fan base here and into (the pop culture expo) Supanova.”
She estimates there's about 2,000 engaged fans in Australia, including boys aged 15-20 who have particularly loved it in test screenings, but hopes to capture a broad spectrum of people.
“It is not going to win any Oscars, doesn't take itself too seriously and draws heavily on popular culture and political events, but at the same time it is sophisticated storytelling.”
Iron Sky was filmed over 45 days, 20 of them in Australia, principally at Warner Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast. The Australian scenes are set in the spaceships and moon base. One day of filming happened outside Brisbane's Tribal Cinema but the second on-location day was washed out, it being around the time of the Queensland floods.
Australian actors Christopher Kirby and Peta Sergeant have key roles. Kirby, one of the three leads, plays a US astronaut, while Sergeant is campaign manager for the US president, played by New Zealander Stephanie Paul.
A mutual friend introduced Overett to the project and, subsequently, about $2 million of the $10 million budget was raised in Australia via Screen Queensland, a presale to Hoyts, and a tax rebate. Another $1m came from fans. Those fans also contributed ideas and props for the filmmaking process, acted as extras, and will now buy tickets.
“I feel privileged to have learnt about social media and crowd funding through this film,” said Overett, who is now very keen to develop projects anchored in cinemas but told across all platforms.
“Showing a film in a cinema can often not make money but what it gives you is publicity. And Iron Sky will continue to have a life way beyond the cinema.”
Find out more at www.ironsky.net