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March 3, 2021

Assange comes to Byron

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Christine Assange, Julian Assange’s mother, will be a special guest at Palace Byron Bay Cinema on April 5 for a one night only screening of Underground: The Julian Assange Story.

Joining Ms Assange for a post-film Q&A will be the writer/director Robert Connolly (Balibo, The Bank), lead actor Alex Williams, and Samantha Castro, co-founder of the WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance, who is also working closely with Julian on his bid for the Senate.

Julian Assange is one of the most significant figures of the twenty-first century. But before he was famous, before WikiLeaks, before the internet even existed, he was a teenage computer hacker in Melbourne. This is his story.

In 1989 Assange, then known as ‘Mendax’, and two friends formed a group called the ‘International Subversives’. Using early home computers and defining themselves as ‘white hat hackers’ – those who look but don’t steal – they broke into some of the world’s most powerful and secretive organisations. They were young, brilliant, and, in the eyes of the US government, a major threat to national security.

At the urging of the FBI, the Australian Federal Police set up a special taskforce to catch them. But at a time when most Australian police had never seen a computer, let alone used one, they had to figure out just where to begin. Police ingenuity and old fashioned detective work are pitted against nimble, highly skilled young men in this new crime frontier. What follows is a tense and gripping game of cat and mouse through the electronic underground of Melbourne.

Underground stars Rachel Griffiths as Christine Assange, with Anthony LaPaglia, Alex Williams, Callan McAuliffe, Laura Wheelwright and Jordan Raskopoulos. It was invited to screen at the Toronto and London international film festivals where it received rave reviews. Broadcast on Network Ten in October 2012 to critical acclaim, Underground drew over 1.3 million viewers nationwide.

All patrons at the screening will receive a package containing a DVD-ROM with special features, including behind the scenes featurettes, screenplays, extracts from Suelette Dreyfus’s eBook of Underground, music from the soundtrack and production photographs. The package will also include a code to stream Robert Connolly’s director’s commentary and patrons are encouraged to bring headphones to listen to the commentary during the screenings.

Palace Byron Bay is one of just nine cinemas around Australia hosting this unique event, under the CinemaPlus platform, a new initiative from Connolly’s production company Footprint Films.

A number of films will be released under this umbrella in the coming months, including The Turning, a bold cinematic event based on Tim Winton’s bestselling collection of short stories featuring performances and directorial debuts by a number of leading Australian performers and artists across a diverse range of art forms.

‘CinemaPlus is simply a new way at looking at the theatrical release of films,’ said Robert Connolly. ‘We want to be able to provide a different experience for cinema goers, to support the film with talks, Q&As and take home content. To not only give people a film to watch, but a context.’

Tickets for Underground are available now at Palace Byron Bay Cinema box office. Phone bookings 6680 8555 or book online at www.palacecinemas.com.au. Regular ticket prices apply.

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