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Director Ben Young on set between shots with Emma Booth

Director Ben Young (left) on set between shots with Emma Booth

Earlier this month Ben Young’s feature film debut HOUNDS OF LOVE screened to sold out audiences in Perth at special Q&A events ahead of its Australian theatrical release on Thursday, 1 June.

This follows its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival where it met with critical acclaim and it has since gone on to screen at 30 film festivals in Australia and abroad.

Following its premiere screening Young secured management and representation in Hollywood.  Young is currently in Serbia filming a sci-fi thriller called EXTINCTION, which has a budget of US$20 million, a significant departure from his low budget debut film.

HOUNDS OF LOVE was developed, filmed and post-produced completely in WA.  Shot over 20 days in the suburbs of Perth, 72 of the 75 crew employed were Western Australians, demonstrating the strong capability of WA crews and the valuable employment and creative opportunities WA can provide.  The film was produced by Melissa Kelly at Factor 30 Films, a Fremantle based production company.

The project participated in the Screenwest script and talent development initiatives Feature Navigator and eQuinoxe, and first attracted international recognition when it was pitched at the 2015 European Film Market in Berlin.

The film’s journey from development to production embodies the spirit of Screenwest’s West Coast Visions Fund, which aims to uncover, inspire and develop local emerging filmmakers.

Critics overseas and locally have recognised the film’s artistic merit and praised the superbly crafted filmmaking. Young has been credited with creating a charged psychological thriller that is also a powerful performance piece.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Craig Mathieson said “Like the best Australian debuts of this decade – Animal Kingdom, The Infinite Man, The Babadook – Young’s film matches a director with a definable style to a familiar genre to create something uncompromising and original.”

“I left the cinema clutching the walls and breathing deeply, wondering whether the guy should be locked up or declared some kind of genius.I decided on the latter.”, wrote Luke Buckmaster of The Guardian.

Actor Ashleigh Cummings (Vicki) said “the film’s refusal to conform to genre expectations was purposeful, Young choosing instead to focus on the truest way to tell the story, which was ultimately about the psychology of three women; three parallel stories of three different women who are trying to escape their entrapments – literally and figuratively.”

“The film ultimately portrays the power of love and how it can either destroy us, or help us live to see another day,” said Young.

HOUNDS OF LOVE is currently on screens across the US with theatrical releases for the UK and France in July.

Catch it at Luna cinemas in Perth or check your local listings.