Perth kidnap thriller selected to screen at Venice International Film Festival

Post by Larry Gleeson

By Heather McNeill

A Perth film based on a disturbed couple with striking similarities to David and Catherine Birnie has been selected to premiere at the Venice International Film Festival – one of the top three international festivals in the world.

The kidnap thriller, Hounds of Love, began shooting in Western Australia earlier this year, drawing its storyline from a number of infamous local and international crimes.


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Emma Booth and Stephen Curry in Perth film, Hounds of Love. (Photo: Australia on Screen/Jean-Paul Horr)


Award-winning Perth film maker Ben Young created the film, which stars Emma Booth, Stephen Curry and Ashleigh Cummings.

It is the second WA film to ever be accepted into the Venice International Film Festival.


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A scene from Hounds of Love. (Photo: Australia on Screen)


The storyline is understood to centre around a teenage girl who is abducted from a suburban street by a husband and wife couple in the mid-1980s – but producer Melissa Kelly has previously denied the film is inspired by the Birnie murders, claiming it is fiction.

David and Catherine Birnie kidnapped, raped and murdered three women and a teenager in the 1980s – holding their victims captive in their Perth home.

The pair were sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in jail after a teenager they abducted from a Nedlands street escaped and alerted police.

Mr Young did not directly address the rumours of the Birnie connection on Wednesday, but said he was thrilled to have worked with such a talented group of people.

“I’m so thrilled that all the wonderful and talented cast and crew, who took a risk on this West Australian film, are being recognised on the international stage,” he said.

According to Screenwest, which partly funded Hounds of Love, the feature film is one of the first to be developed, filmed and post-produced entirely in WA.

“It attracted international recognition when it was pitched at the European Film Market in Berlin last year, and its selection for Venice Days is a coup for the local film industry, and a testament to the talent development programs implemented by Screenwest,” Screenwest said in a statement.

The Venice International Film Festival runs from August 31 to September 10, 2016 and is the oldest film festival in the world.

Hounds of Love will premiere during Venice Days – the equivalent to the Cannes Director’s Fortnight.

The film is due to be released in early 2017.



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