A COMING OF AGE TEEN COMEDY GIVESCINEMATIC VOICE TO AUSTRALIAN YOUTHSECURING A NATIONAL RELEASE WITHEVENT CINEMAS ACROSS AUSTRALIA
“Huge congratulations on the movie … Hal was amazing and I thought the whole movie was so funny and it had such great charm, heart and wit” – Hugh Jackman
A lot can happen to a teenage boy in one night: he can discover true friendship, treachery, the joy of chaos, what his future holds, the meaning of life and whether he is cool enough to get the girl.
Set in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, where ridiculous wealth nestles alongside struggling single-parent families, Bilched is the astonishing writing, producing and acting debut feature film by 19-year-old Hal Cumpston.
Ahead of its Australian release Bilched competed in the highly respected Chelsea Film Festival in NYC. It scooped the pool, spectacularly winning three awards: Best Screenplay (Hal Cumpston), Best Supporting Actor (Fred Du Rietz) and the Grand Prix Best Feature Film.
The raw audacity of the making of this film, combined with the undeniable authenticity of the writing and performances of the forty strong under 20’s cast has created an Aussie teen comedy with the potential to become a cult classic in the vein of Bruce Beresford’s Puberty Blues (1979) and John Duigan’s The Year My Voice Broke (1987).
Bilched was conceived and written by Hal when he was aged 18, having just finished his HSC.
“I wrote Bilched after complaining to my Dad about the lack of quality Australian teen films around. There was this golden era in the 80s and after that, the seminal coming of age films - the really great ones like ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Superbad’ – have only come from the US. Aussie teens are pretty funny, and I wanted to capture that. I wrote the film because I wanted to create a story that was representative of my age group and my culture at this particular moment in time”, said Hal.
Honest, hilarious and heart-warming, Hal’s striking writing perfectly captures the banter and laconic humour of Australian youth on the cusp of adulthood.
Bilched was directed by Hal’s father Jeremy Cumpston, the founder and creator of the legendary Old Fitzroy Theatre and Tamarama Rock Surfers Theatre Company and his mother, Rachel Lane, was one of the Producers.
Shot in just 21 days, Bilched features stand-out performances by a majority of mostly untrained and unknown young Australian actors. Alan Dukes, Jeremy Sims, and Rhys Muldoon played the minor adult roles and have been exceptionally generous and helpful in the film’s production. The outstanding emerging acting talent featured in Bilched includes Mitzi Ruhlmann, Fred Du Rietz, Juliet Lochrin, Ewan Wall, Will Johnston, Nicholas Bakopolous–Cooke, Jack Walton, Reilly Hatwell, Holly White, Paloma Bolton-Brito and Otis Pavlovic. Almost all of these young actors had never acted before this film and were personally cast by legendary Casting Agent, Ann Fay of Maura Fay Casting. Ann is widely credited with discovering Heath Ledger, Hugh Jackman and Isla Fisher among hundreds of other well-known TV and film stars over her 30 years as one of the most respected casting agents in Australia.
The performance of Bilched writer, producer and lead actor, Hal Cumpston, drew the attention of an international talent management agent in Los Angeles who asked for a showreel of Hal’s work. Hal subsequently landed, with his first American audition, a lead role in the US mega-franchise, The Walking Dead 3.
Bilched has gained support from cinema exhibitor heavy–weights Claire Gandy and Alison Deboo of Event Cinemas who have backed a limited national release of Bilched from 21 November 2019 to coincide with “Schoolies” week events across Australia (see below for list of cinema locations) with more locations to be announced.
Bilched also features a soundtrack from arguably some of the hottest Australian musicians / bands working today including Violent Soho, Skegss, Dune Rats, Hockey Dad, City Calm Down, Ilan Kidron, Jonathan Zwartz, Drunk Mums and Los Tones.