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by MATTHEW EELES
The Legend of Ben Hall will become an even bigger spectacle with the possible release of a three hour director’s cut if things go to plan for the filmmakers behind the ambitious bushranger epic.
On December 4, The Legend of Ben Hall director Matthew Holmes posted to the film’s Facebook page asking fans if they would support a crowdfunding campaign for an extended director’s cut which would restore almost an hours worth of unseen material back into the film featuring thirty new scenes and forty-eight expanded scenes.
“If we get 500+ votes for ‘Yes’ then we have a real shot at making it become a reality!!!,” the post read.
Twenty days later Holmes’ dream to release his original vision for the film came one step closer to reality with another Facebook post announcing he had received over 500 votes in support of his ambitious venture.
“In early 2020, we will be launching a crowd-funding campaign so we can make the definitive director’s cut of this film,” the post announced.
The Legend of Ben Hall is based on the true story of Australian bushranger Ben Hall, played by Jack Martin, who reforms his old gang with newcomer John Dunn in tow. After killing two policemen in a botched holdup the government declare the gang outlaws and they’re now outrunning do-gooders eager to fill them full of bullets in return for an attractive cash reward.
If the crowdfunding campaign is to meet its target, it wouldn’t be the first time for Holmes. In 2014 the director launched an ambitious Kickstarter campaign to raise $75,000 for a short form version of The Legend of Ben Hall. The film went on to raise over $145,000 using crowdfunding. Six months later the project had secured an international sales agent, an Australian distributor and multiple private investors, including state funding and The Legend of Ben Hall was expanded into a two hour feature film.
In September Holmes received public support to release a digitally remastered version of his sophomore feature film, Twin Rivers. That campaign saw $7906 pledged of a $4000 goal.
Unfortunately, not all of Holmes’ crowdfunding campaigns have been realised. Glenrowan, a feature film about the infamous last stand of Ned Kelly with Walking Dead actor Callan McAuliffe tipped to star, was not successful. The project is now being developed into a 6-part mini-series.
As one of Australia’s most eager filmmakers, Holmes is also working on a remake of Blue Fin based on Colin Thiele’s story of tuna fishing in Port Lincoln. Holmes is also developing a new horror film called The Artifice, based on his short film of the same name. You can watch that short film here.
Keep an eye on Cinema Australia and The Legend of Ben Hall’s Facebook page for more announcements regarding the 2020 crowdfunding campaign.
Cinema Australia wishes Matthew and his team all the best.