Friday, 4 December 2009

Stingray Sam comes to Melbourne - on screen and in person

Stingray Sam premieres at ACMI this January
"Leaves one begging for more at one unflaggingly delightful hour" Variety

The director, writer and star of cult hit The American Astronaut, Cory McAbee, will come to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in January for the Australian Premiere of his follow-up film, Stingray Sam, a sci-fi western musical comedy.

McAbee, who wrote and directed Stingray Sam (2009), also stars as the title character, a lounge singer on Mars, who teams up with a long-lost accomplice and former jailbird buddy, the Quasar Kid (Crugie) on a dangerous mission. The two space convicts aim to earn their freedom by rescuing a now-rare and adorably winsome little girl (5 year old Willa Vy McAbee in her film debut) who is being held captive by the genetically-designed Fredward (Joshua Taylor), a figurehead of a very wealthy planet.

Narrated by the fabulously droll four-time Emmy Award-winner David Hyde Pierce (Dr Niles Crane, Frasier) Stingray Sam comes embedded with the same quirky sensibility and undeniable artistry that that made The American Astronaut (2001) a hit and, just like The American Astronaut, McAbee's musical outfit The Billy Nayer Show provides the catchy cabaret-comedy soundtrack.

The film is presented in six 11-minute episodic 'nuggets' designed to offer different viewing flexibility (in parts or as a feature) as well as multi-platform viewing (from cinema to mobile phone). McAbee has been championing the ability of film to harness new-frontier technology since he made Reno (2007), one of five multi-platform shorts commissioned by the Sundance Film Festival. The episode structure leads to an exciting and unpredictable viewing experience with cinema audiences finding themselves clapping after each chapter and singing along to the show tunes.

Since its premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, Stingray Sam has appeared at over twenty festivals around the USA, UK, Europe (including Iceland), South America and Taiwan.

ACMI will hold the Australian theatrical premiere, accompanied by an in-person Q&A with McAbee on Friday 15 January, moderated by ACMI's Head of Film Programs Richard Sowada. The film will also screen in Freaky Fridays the following week and The American Astronaut will follow on Friday 29 January.

McAbee's trip down under coincides with the second anniversary of The American Astronaut at ACMI.  Since January 2008, the film has screened as an ongoing feature of the Freaky Fridays program, curated by Roberta Ciabarra, and has garnered a loyal following.

"The American Astronaut is a film we've actively championed and we're delighted that audiences are still discovering Cory McAbee's bona fide cult classic in its exclusive ongoing engagement at ACMI," says Ciabarra.

For The American Astronaut, McAbee plays ruggedly handsome, hard-boiled interplanetary trader Samuel Curtis who is on a journey through space in search of a male 'offering' for the toy boy-challenged female denizens of Venus. Along the way he finds time to drop into a saloon on Ceres and enter a dance-off with his old drinking buddy, the Blueberry Pirate, all while trying to evade the deranged Professor Hess who is intent on doing him in.

Ciabarra says this audience favourite is a must-see. "Everyone should be initiated into this ingeniously lo-if indie gem with its Three Stooges-esque humour, flinty black and white photography and intrepid frontier spirit."

McAbee is excited about his first Australian visit. "I'm really looking forward to talking with ACMI's audiences and meeting the fans of The American Astronaut when Stingray Sam premieres," said McAbee.

Stingray Sam is a rollicking cinema experience packed full of swash-buckling, foot-stomping, hand-shaking action (as well as plenty of dancing) and is not to be missed in ACMI's state of the art cinemas.

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
Facebook icon   Twitter icon   Contact Us Terms of Use Privacy Site Map   Share and Print   Victorian Government Website