Dark Lurking to screen in Sydney

Greg Connors’ low-budget sci-fi film The Dark Lurking will debut in Sydney this weekend but it has already been a victim of piracy, even though so far it has only been screened at festivals.

“It’s a kick in the guts; a lot of people are downloading it. A friend in Shanghai went to a video store there, and they had two shelves of our film on DVD, stacked between Transformers 2 and Transporter 3,” producer Bret Connors told Encore.

“A lot of the people that have seen the movie are from territories where there have been no sales, so we’re losing potential sales,” he added.

Piracy is indeed a bigger problem for an independent film that has struggled for years to become a reality.

The Dark Lurking is set in 2017, and something has gone wrong at an underground research facility, where a dangerous horde of creatures is on the loose. Eight survivors will try to get to the surface.

It was equally difficult for the filmmakers to get to the surface and make the film; like most low-budget projects, The Dark Lurking had a long gestation period.

In the beginning, Connors and Kennedy (Filmwerx77) even took the project to Seven’s defunct reality show The Dragon’s Den, where people could pitch investment opportunities to the millionaire judges, who would then decide whether or not they’d provide funding to make the participants’ ideas come true.

“The audience were so interested that they shot two endings to the show, just in case they decided to come on board. In the end they aired the negative response, ‘we love what you’re doing, but it’s just not for us’,” said Kennedy.

That didn’t stop them, and Connors, Kennedy and their partner Stuart Wall put together $80,000 to shoot part of the film in early 2007. They shot a two-week block and came back three months later to shoot for another two weeks. With that footage they put together a reel that they showed to potential investors, raising a further $100,000 to complete the film.

Production took place over a two-year period, creating problems of continuity for the filmmakers, who had to deal with changing locations and actors gaining or losing weight between shooting blocks. They also had to recreate lighting conditions and constantly go back and look at what they’d already filmed so they could match it.

The film required sophisticated VFX, provided by Sharp FX.

“Very early in the development phase, Sharp knew what kind of money we were looking at. They came on board pretty much at cost… it might have actually cost them a bit more than it cost us to get them, but they were excited about what we were trying to achieve,” said Kennedy.

Although the film is signed up with Kristijana Maric ‘s new distribution company MediaKin for Australia, it will be released on DVD on July 1 without having an official cinema release. Instead, The Dark Lurking has been screening as part of the Supanova pop culture expo, with April shows in Brisbane and Melbourne, and Sydney and Perth on June 18-20 and 25-27 respectively.

“It’s a big help with marketing, with ordinary screening costs that would be incurred. People who go to this type of conventions are sci-fi, horror fans, and we can talk to them and get them to check out the film, merchandising, and buy tickets on the go for any of the screenings in that state,” said Kennedy.

Supanova has also been an opportunity for Connors and Kennedy to reconnect with Queensland filmmaker brothers Michael and Peter Spierig.

“Our creature FX man, Steven Boyle, worked with them in Undead and Daybreakers. The Spierigs are the two guys that made us go ‘we should be doing it as well’ and prompted us to go into production,” said Connors.

“The Gold Coast filmmaking network isn’t that large, so everybody knows each other and yes, I’d love to work with the Spierigs.”

US-based sales agent Multivisionnaire Pictures has sold the film to IPA Asia Pacific for territories such as Thailand and Vietnam, and Lightning Media in the US.

The Dark Lurking will screen at 6:30pm on June 20 at Hoyts Entertainment Quarter, in Sydney. Tickets are on sale at


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