Ben Hall’s story ready for release

Exactly 151 years since Ben Hall met his end at Billabong Creek, the film which sets to bring the bushranger’s story to the big screen was finished.

After two years in the making, The Legend of Ben Hall is finally finished and, coincidentally, the completion of the film happened on the anniversary of Ben Hall’s death - May 5.

The film’s director, producer and writer, Matthew Holmes, said it wasn’t planned at all and in fact it only occurred to him the day before that the film would be finished on May 5.

“It was a total coincidence and quite surreal because we were mixing the film chronologically and one of the last scenes we had to mix was his death … it feels like fate to me,” he said.

“Of all the days in the year to finish it, it happened to be May 5.”

Two years ago, The Legend of Ben Hall was going to be a short film about the final days of Ben Hall and now, after a highly successful crowdfunding campaign and plenty of support, it is a 137 minute feature film which has surpassed all expectations.

“At 137 minutes, this once small production has grown into a sweeping epic and we cannot wait to reveal it to the people in Ben Hall country,” Holmes said.

On top of the relief at having finally finished the film after two long years in the making, Holmes said he is also very excited to show it to the world.

“I’m quite relieved because it has been such a huge job, more than a full-time job for me for the past two years,” he said.

“I’m very much excited and chomping at the bit to show people.

“I’m eagerly awaiting the moment we can release it.”

At this stage the dates for the premiere and theatrical release of the film are yet to be decided, however Holmes said the aim is for it to be released sometime this year, depending on when a combination of other factors falls into place.

While dates are unknown, Holmes said Forbes residents will definitely be among the first people to see the highly-anticipated film.

“We’re still very much committed to making sure Forbes is one of the first places in Australia it gets premiered,” he said.

“It will certainly be the NSW premiere.

“We will of course be bringing as many of our cast and crew as we can and make a big deal out of it.

“We’re very much looking forward to the Forbes premiere - it’s a special place to premiere it because of Ben Hall’s connection there.”

Holmes said the plan is to screen The Legend of Ben Hall at a number of film festivals with market screenings booked in for Cannes Film Festival, where distributors from around the world will have the opportunity to view the movie before deciding to buy it for their countries.

It has already been sold to three countries internationally, as well as to the Australian distributor, Pinnacle Films.

“We hope that it’s going to capture the imagination of the Australian public,” Holmes said.

“We’re hoping it’ll connect with an international marketplace as well; it’s a very human story, a very emotional story that everyone can connect to.

“It really shows off parts of the Australian landscape that international audiences haven’t seen much of. It shows a landscape that’s a lot more lush and green.”

Holmes said he’s confident that everyone who loves Australian history and has an interest in Ben Hall, will love the film.

A new trailer will be released shortly to coincide with the premiere and theatrical release dates.

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