THE world premiere of a film made by a Newcastle production company was the toast of the Toronto Film Festival where it provoked a rousing ovation.
Quartet, which tells a moving and funny story set in a residential home for retired opera singers, not only stars a foursome of thespian heavyweights Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins, but also marks the directorial debut of legendary actor Dustin Hoffman.
The screenplay was penned by Oscar-winning writer, Ronald Harwood.
The film’s producer, Stewart Mackinnon, of Newcastle-based Headline Pictures which made the film, said he was unsure how the film would be received.
“You’re never sure,” he said yesterday before boarding a flight from the Canadian city to Boston. “We knew the film had worked, but until you show it to an audience... it really was an extraordinary evening though.
“The response was amazing. I’ve never been in a cinema like it – there were maybe a thousand people in there. And the film is getting really great reviews, so we’re very happy.”
As well as burgeoning collection of critical acclaim, the film, which is scheduled for a gala premiere in Leicester Square in December and a nationwide UK release in January, is also fuelling the some early awards season buzz.
But Scotsman Stewart, who has made the North East his home for 30 years, is keen not to get swept up in any plaudit prediction excitement. “The reaction the film is getting is fantastic, but we’re on to the next movie, so I’m not thinking about that.”