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Wednesday 18 May 2011

The Tunnel - World Premiere - TONIGHT!

Are you watching The Tunnel tonight?

If not, you're seriously missing out.

If you're not at the Popcorn Taxi world premiere at Bondi Junction, nor watching the pay-TV premiere later tonight on Showtime at 10.30pm (I am IQing it in HD - cannot wait!), then make sure you get your hands on a copy of the DVD right here: The Tunnel

So, what's the story?

Here's the gist (taken from the film's site):

"In 2007, the New South Wales government suddenly scrapped a plan to utilise the water in the disused underground train tunnels beneath Sydney's St James Train Station.

In 2008, chasing rumours of a government coverup and urban legends surrounding the sudden backflip, investigative journalist Natasha Warner led a crew of four into the underground labyrinth.

They went down into the tunnels looking for a story – until the story found them.

This is the film of their harrowing ordeal. With unprecedented access to the recently declassified tapes they shot in the claustrophobic subway tunnels, as well as a series of candid interviews with the survivors, we come face to face with the terrifying truth.

This never before seen footage takes us deep inside the tunnels bringing the darkness to life and capturing the raw fear that threatens to tear the crew apart, leaving each one of them fighting for their lives."

Here's more of the back story:

"Under every big city around the world are networks of hidden and often unknown tunnels. Sydney, Australia's largest city is no exception. The most mysterious are the rail tunnels that lie beneath the very heart of city. Their centrepiece is a flooded tunnel known as Lake St James. The tunnels were meant to be part of a new rail line but construction was abandoned part way through. Two decades later they were briefly used as an air raid shelter and U.S. General Macarthur's headquarters during the Second World War. Then they were left deserted for decades and all but forgotten.

A couple of years ago, the New South Wales Government proposed a plan to use the water in Lake St James to help with water shortages in the city. After much fanfare the proposal mysteriously vanished… and so the story begins… Sound far-fetched? Google it."

Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi from Distracted Media are the two filmmakers from Sydney behind the project (they've been working in film and TV for over a decade) and 'The 135K Project' is their brainchild.

Since they first dreamed up the idea, they've been joined by actors, an award winning director in Carlo Ledesma, Zapruder’s Other Films (Andrew Denton's innovative production company), and their online team, the fabulously talented Ahmed Salama and Valeria Petrenko from DLSHS, all of whom have have joined the project.

Described as a horror flick, The Tunnel is set in the disused railway tunnels and bunkers below the city of Sydney, and its release on DVD and as a free BitTorrent download embraces the same underground online community often shunned for peddling pirated movies - by getting them to fund and distribute The Tunnel.

For the trailer, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u47cTpo70EE

"There is a lot of evidence that suggests that people who download films and music illegally actually buy more than those who don't," Tedeschi has said.

"We figured if we allowed them to download it in the first place and made the DVD available to them, then they might decide to buy it."

The film was shot around St James station, the Garden Island navy base, and old bunkers at Signal Hill and Georges Head, and is centred on around reporter Natasha Warner, played by Bel Delia, who leads a TV crew of four into the city's underbelly which harbours a horrific secret.

You've got to admire the film-makers of this ambitious project; instead of begging a studio or producer for money, they decided to auction off each of the 135,000 frames they expected to shoot in the 90-minute film - for $1 each.

"The frame selling idea came out of a chat Jules and I were having about a 35mm frame of a Star Wars print that I was given," Tedeschi has said. "When the film is released, the frame buyers will each receive a digital version of the frames they own at film resolution that they will be able to print out and hang on their wall should they be so inclined."

The auction created enough cashflow for director Ledesma to start making the film, and built an instant online fanbase in the process.

Even Tedeschi has conceded of the unusual way to fund the film: "It didn't seem to add up to us to ask people for money in order to help us make the movie, then ask them for more to be able to see it when it was done."

After the initial funding, Denton's production company - as well as and Paramount Home Entertainment - has backed the project.

For more info, see: http://www.thetunnelmovie.net/

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