Screens sell out ahead of The BBQ’s world premiere in Albury

For six years Stephen Amis has been thinking about barbecues, metaphors and tomorrow’s red carpet.

Co-writer, director and producer of The BBQ, Mr Amis has been nervously awaiting the film’s grand premiere since he first dreamt up the concept in 2013. 

But little did he know the film would take him, and famous names like Shane Jacobson and Magda Szubanski, to Albury-Wodonga bringing more than $1 million to the local economy.

“The film originally had a lot of mythical roots, to me the barbecue represents the myth of the watering hole – where everyone comes together at sunset drinking without conflict,” Mr Amis said.

“That’s like the barbecue where people gather and talk openly and work through conflict or all manner of things. 

“It seemed like a fantastic metaphor to underpin a future film.”

Tomorrow the movie’s stars will take to the red carpet, with three cinemas already sold out for The BBQ’s world premiere in Albury, and a street festival after-party following the screening. 

Mr Amis said a chance Albury-Wodonga visit uncovered fantastic sites for filming and “star”, Albury-born Frederick Simpson. 

The 13-year-old stars as Jayden, the son of lead character, “Dazza”, Shane Jacobson.

“Freddie is a real major talent, he doesn’t have a small appearance, it’s a major role and he’s absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“I can’t believe we found him in Albury.

“It’s an amazing synchronicity.”

The film follows Darren “Dazza” Cook whose passion for a neighbourhood gathering over his ancient run-barrel barbecue sees him into the competitive international arena, after his employer signs him up for a barbecue festival.

Son Jayden is challenged to prove the family’s rum-barrel barbecue came from Captain James Cook’s Endeavour, as his father claims.

Mr Amis said he wanted to premiere the film on the Border, where more than 55 per cent of the film was created.

“The film will be released nationally on February 22 with some advanced screenings before, but half of it was shot in Albury-Wodonga so I wanted to do the premiere there,” he said.

“The councils and the public were incredibly supportive so I wanted to pull out all the stops and have a big premiere in the region.”

Despite the star comedy cast, Mr Amis said the film had real depth.

“I’m hoping people will sit back and have a really fantastic time,” he said.

“It was never going to be an out-and-out comedy, I wanted it to be feel good but it’s quite emotional.

“I think people will be surprised by the tone.”