WEST OF SUNSHINE (WoS) is an independently produced Australian film by debut feature film director Jason Raftopoulos. The film was invited to hold its world premiere in Official Competition at the 74th Venice Film Festival (Orizzonti).
WoS is produced by Exile Entertainment, a Melbourne based production/ distribution company, in association with Small Village Films. The film is based on the award winning short film by Jason Raftopoulos: FATHER’S DAY.
WoS was shot entirely on location in Melbourne, Australia in 18 days. Featuring over 30 locations the film provides audiences with one of the most unique and detailed depictions of the urban environment of Melbourne seen in cinema. The film was financed independently through private investment and cast/ crew deferrals. The production value of the film is testament to the filmmaking abilities of the key creatives.
The strength of WoS lies in the director’s execution of his vision and the authentic performances of the actors. To achieve this authenticity, we cast a combination of actors and non-actors: Jim’s (Damian Hill) son, played by Tyler Perham in his first on-screen appearance, is Damian’s real life step-son. This real life relationship created an on screen chemistry and dynamic between the two most important characters.
WoS sits in the drama genre and will place the audience in the world of realism made famous by Italian Auteurs, through the experience of its main protagonist. Comparable films are THE BICYCLE THIEF and THE WRESTLER - both films show a protagonist’s struggle with his own shortcomings, both as a parent and a human.
The critical success of social realist films in 2016 such as MOONLIGHT (Best Film – Academy Award 2017) and MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Best Actor – Academy Award 2017) shows that this genre of filmmaking is becoming increasingly appreciated and celebrated by festivals and critics.
WoS has been critically acclaimed by top critics around the world and the film is currently rated 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the most well reviewed films at the Venice Film Festival. The film has received favourable reviews in Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Screen Daily and The Guardian.
Since its success at the Venice Film Festival, WoS has gone on to play at the following highly respected international festivals: Tallin Black Nights, Thessaloniki IFF, Bratislava IFF, Cleveland IFF, Sedona IFF, East End Film Festival and BAFICI.
The film has been sold to distributors in the USA, France and China, with theatrical release scheduled for September / October 2018. Rarely does an independent Australian film achieve international critical and commercial success at this level.
Exile Entertainment is handling the Aus/NZ release and intends to theatrically release the film in late August 2018.