On December 2, 1999, Picnic At Hanging Rock is re-released theatrically for limited
seasons in Sydney and Melbourne, prior to a new video re-issue, in its new Director's Cut
version - the one that impressed Melbourne Film festival audiences this year, including
producer Pat Lovell and Anne-Louise Lambert, (Miranda in the film), who joined Lovell in
the stalls - and wept with her as the film's final act played out.
"this is like a last hurrah for me"
After 23 years of administering it, says Pat Lovell, "this is like a last hurrah
for me, and very pleasing." Lovell, who is currently Head of Production at the
Australian Film Television and Radio School, has also shown Picnic to the students, who
gave it "a very warm welcome," reinvigorating interest in a new generation of
The film's re-release has been triggered by a new sale to US distributor Janus Films,
which paid far more for the rights than the original distributor's US$60,000 20 years ago.
"That was a bit if a disaster," Lovell recalls, "and Peter Weir has been
wanting to re-cut the film ever since." The film seemed plagued with distributor
problems: the original US distributor went bankrupt and it has taken a decade to extract
the rights from the legal mess.
The UK distributor also went bankrupt in the 1980s, and the film had to be rescued; it
was also in trouble with the French distributor, and it had to be "levered away"
from it, says Lovell. "But Peter Becker at Janus is impeccable to deal with and it's
a real delight to see the film being treated with such care and attention."
Lovell also praises the Australian Film Commission, whose assistance in recovering the
US rights was instrumental in getting the film out of the quagmire, and to Atlabd and
Spectrum, where Weir did much of the re-cutting and colour grading.
"this has enhanced the film no end"
"Peter has been keen to cut the third act a bit," says Lovell, "and this
has enhanced the film no end. The final act now goes like a rocket and it has become
exceptionally moving. It's more accessible now, and we're not taken aside by pretty little
Roadshow Home Video is re-issuing the new cut on video in the wake of its theatrical
re-release, but the DVD rights for Australia are still available.