Motorkite Dreaming follows two amateur adventurer mates and their fiancés as they complete a daring flight across 4000kms of outback Australia in ‘microlight’ aircraft (essentially a hang-glider with a lawn-mower engine). The journey takes them through 20 Aboriginal language nations offering the opportunity to share their unique journey with the oldest living culture on Earth.
Motorkite Dreaming is one of two Australian features on the bill for the premier Australian edition of Hot Docs, one of the world’s leading documentary film festivals. Following festival screenings in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, the film will tour select cinemas nationally in August. Later in the year, a five-part television version of the film will broadcast on SBS 2 and NITV, while Red Bull Media will screen it around the world.
“Motorkite Dreaming is a new way of story-telling using a new model to bring it to audiences,” says Screen Impact founder Simon Nasht. “It will be available in many formats, for many screens, when and where people want to enjoy it.”
As well as its national cinema release, Screen Impact will be making the film available globally to digitally stream and download. Shortly afterwards, Red Bull will be screening the TV series on its branded internet channel globally.
“It is unusual for an independent Australian documentary to have a global release simultaneously across multiple platforms in multiple formats. It shows how technology has completely revolutionised film financing and distribution,” says Nasht.
The film’s producer, John Cherry of Intafusion Films and executive producer Marcus Gillezeau of Pavillion Entertainment have assembled a hybrid funding model. By bringing in domestic and international production partners, and federal and state screen agencies, Cherry and Gillezeau were able to finance both the feature film and spin-off television series, expanding the scope of the project to reach new audiences.
Screen Impact is a recipient of funding from Screen Australia’s Enterprise Industry Program to pursue a pioneering approach to distribution that brings together the opportunities of the digital space with a grassroots approach to theatrical release.
“We have several projects coming down the pipeline where we expect to bring a global audience to films that might otherwise never make it beyond a few festival screenings,” says Nasht. “These are exciting days and its now possible for filmmakers to build a global audience of fans they can carry with them to future projects.”
“We believe the future of distribution is about breaking down the traditional release path: theatrical, SVOD and digital all have a part to play.”
Motorkite Dreaming appeals to Screen Impact because it celebrates Aboriginal Australia. As well as taking a pioneering approach to distribution, Screen Impact is committed to leveraging the power of documentaries to inspire social change, bringing together several ‘impact producers’ with a track record of using Australian documentaries to create change on a range of social issues.
The filmmakers hope the mass appeal of Motorkite Dreaming’s adventure narrative will engage audiences with the lesser-told stories of Aboriginal Australia. Says director Charlie Hill-Smith, “In many ways it’s a Trojan horse narrative; a story that smells like an adventure, but which takes audiences deep into the beautiful bush of Aboriginal Australia, opening their eyes to a culture of mind-boggling complexity and beauty.”