Black Balloon US Release

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marguerite, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    husband was just looking at the film's website and spotted that "The Black Balloon" was released in the US in four cinemas each in New York and CA on 5 December.

    It looks like they might have been waiting for the AFI Awards because the release date coincides with the awards almost to the hour.

    As I posted on the Good Morning thread yesterday (Saturday evening, Aussie time), "The Black Balloon" got Best Supporting Actor (Luke Ford, as the autistic brother; Luke was most recently the adult Alex in "Mummy III"); Best Supporting Actress (Toni Collette); Best Screenplay, Best Director (both Elissa Down, the story is her own life); Best Film.

    The film is the story of a teenage boy growing up with a profoundly autistic brother, the stigma of it all, the problems with having to keep changing schools (his father is in the army and gets posted to different locations) and of in the midst of all this, finding love in surprising places. There is an important segment in the film, at the climax of the film, which is a school production of "Noah's Ark" at the autism school. Elissa wanted autistic teens and their siblings to do this. We heard about it through the email network attached to difficult child 3's drama class for kids with disabilities. As a result, a lot of the kids who turned up to the audition were kids we already knew. difficult child 3 didn't want to go, but I knew easy child 2/difficult child 2 and difficult child 1 DID want to be involved. Besides, they have prior film experience but could always do with more on their CV. We didn't expect much - it had been 'sold' to us a something low-key, a student film perhaps. We had no idea it was such a big deal!

    difficult child 3 kept whining that he didn't want to be in it. The choreographer and director of this segment was actually quite taken with him and begged him to try out anyway. He said, "I don't want to dress up as an animal, I hate dressing up as anything. I just want to be me."
    So she said, "That's OK, you can be Noah if you like." She sold him on the idea of Noah as the ultimate wildlife warrior, a good guy. At the time difficult child 3 was having a great deal of trouble portraying anybody who wasn't good. difficult child 1 on the other hand happily took on the role of Rainbow Lorikeet, the soccer hooligans of the bird world. And they REALLY wanted easy child 2/difficult child 2 with her stiltwalking talent, as a giraffe on stilts. It took a lot of effort but they did eventually get a second stiltwalker, because of course every animal had to have a pair.

    So the film went ahead - and reluctant difficult child 3 got the only speaking part in the "Afloat!" segment and also had to begin the scene, take after take. He was the linchpin of that day's filming. Once it was explained to him, he was up there right on cue every time, delivering his line with meticulous timing fitting it in with the music cue and the sound cue (a set of pips). Amazingly he was patient with the need for many re-takes, even when a plane went overhead, or another technician made a mistake.

    After the "Afloat!" segment was wrapped, they had to do reverses on the audience. Again the kids went through their paces, but this time without needing full costume. By this time difficult child 3 wasn't permitted to perform, he had reached his time limit (along with a couple of others under 15). But afterwards during a break, some of the big stars did autographs for the kids. difficult child 3 told us that a nice lady had said he had done well with his cue and he had said thank you.
    "Nice lady" turned out to be Toni Collette - when SHE says, "job well done!" then it really WAS well done!

    So if you get to see it, look for Noah, the giraffe on the left (as you look at the stage) and the moustached Rainbow Lorikeet with leather belt, biker boots and studs.

    The film itself can be harrowing to watch, it's funny at times (in ways we will probably all relate to, the sort of embarrassing things our kids do to us in public) but overall, REAL. difficult child 3's therapist came to see it with us, she was in tears for most of the second half, even when laughing. But you come out of it feeling positive, uplifted, motivated.

    It's not "Rain Man." It's not "Gilbert Grape". It was also filmed around Christmas two years ago, so if you want a feel of Aussie summer, you will get that as well.

    There are some scenes filmed at a swimming hole - that is ten minutes' drive from where we live, it's a beautiful place where a waterfall cascades into a saltwater lagoon. The army camp scenes were about half an hour from our house.

    So go to see it, especially if you have any connection with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in any form. Autism, Asperger's, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) not otherwise specified. It is a good film for older teens especially, although there is a fair bit of strong language in it (it is what people use in times of duress). It also is VERY good at how it portrays bullying - it pulls no punches there which I think is a good thing.

    As the mother of a hyperlexic, I especially loved the opening credits.

    If you get to see it, do let us know what you think.

  2. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I have it on my permanent waiting list for Netflix.

  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    It's opening in New York and LA, from what I can tell.
    I am hopping up and down and crossing my fingers that it makes it to Toronto as well.

    Maybe I'll badger my cousins in NY to get me the DVD as soon as it's available.

    Thanks Marg.
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    I'm really looking forward to this!
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    It's showing at a theater about 45 minutes from my place.... I'll have to see if I can make a point of going over there. I'd love to see it!
  6. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    The DVD is available here in Australia from any number of on-line stores but BEFORE you buy it check you have a machine that can play it.

    We use a different TV system here (PAL, the US uses NTSC) and we are in a different DVD Region Code (4). Most modern equipment can handle the PAL/NTSC problem but you will need a multi-region DVD player to handle the region problem.

    Golly!! I HATE that region business. It means we often cannot see stuff available to you, I'd like to perform slow surgery in painful places WITHOUT anaesthtetic on the genius who dreamt up that idea. Grrrrrrrrr.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I saw an interview this morning with the writer/director, Elissa Down, on morning television. She still seems to be running on adrenalin, totally hyped about it all. She mentioned the US release, she's really excited about how it's going.

    I really hope she gets interviewed in the US about the film, she's a great character, loads of fun and a ball of energy.

  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, how neat! That is awesome, Marg!!!!
    I will keep my eyes open.