Just back from London, where Gene-X was very well received at the London Australian Film Festival, alongside features with twenty times the budget, such as Jindabyne, Candy, and Ten Canoes.
The HDCam movie looked fabulous on the big screen, projected with the state of the art digital projection in place at the Barbican.
Feedback from both the audience and the festival organisers was really good, with many comments on the strength of the storyline, the great performances, especially of Ayse Tezel, and the production values of the show.
Good reviews were had, and I particularly liked the one from Paris-based writer John Baxter, whose biographies of Spielberg, Woody Allen, Fellini, etc. are standard film reference works, and whose seminal Science Fiction in the Cinema is stated by Peter Jackson to have inspired his first film. Baxter’s review is quoted below.
Leading lady Ayse, who is now based in England, was featured in a full-page spread in the glossy In London magazine, and is generating quite a buzz in the UK scene. It was great to catch up with her.
A lot of networking was done, and one of the highlights was dinner with Terry Gilliam of Monty Python/Brazil/The Fisher King/Twelve Monkeys fame, who as an independent filmmaker was very supportive.
All in all the event was a tremendous success, and all cast and crew are to be congratulated on their achievements in getting Gene-X to the screen.
— Martin Simpson
Anyone who has ever nodded off with terminal tedium over a medical novel from the likes of Robin Cook will respond to this genially sarcastic take on the cliché tale of young-medical-researcher-who-goes-too-far.
Director Simpson — also, like George “Mad Mad” Miller, an MD — has read every one of these tedious tomes, not to mention seeing the films adapted from them (e.g. Coma, Looker), and comes to the director’s chair fully armed with the scalpel to dissect them.
Addressing tropes familiar to readers of contemporary SF novels like Greg Bear’s Blood Music, he explores them with the same gleeful imagination that Peter Jackson brought to his pre-Lord of the Rings films like Bad Taste. Viewers savvy enough to tune into Simpson’s wavelength will find Gene-X a diverting experience.
— John Baxter (March 2007)