Melbourne welcomes Louis de Bernières.

“Man is a bird without wings, and a bird is a man without sorrows.” Iskander the Potter.

Author of Birds Without Wings, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the new The Dust That Falls From Dreams,  Louis de Bernières, is giving the Opening Night Address at the Melbourne Writers Festival tomorrow night (Thursday August 20).

Birds Without Wings was one of the first books I read about Turkey and the aftermath of the First World War. It remains one of my favourite novels and I recall Russell Crowe saying that he read it before we began working on The Water Diviner. It paints the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire as well as the relationships between friends and lovers in a Turkish village poignantly and poetically.

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(Image source: wikipedia.org)

We also shot The Water Diviner in the abandoned village of Kayakoy, near Fethiye in Turkey, a place that inspired de Bernières‘ epic.

Hosgeldiniz! Welcome Louis!

Details for the Writers Festival Opening event at the Melbourne Town Hall are here. Tickets are selling fast!

Vale Andrew Lesnie

It is with great sadness that I heard the news this morning in Istanbul; Aussie cinematographer Andrew Lesnie died after having a heart attack on Monday. Only 59, he was a masterful lensman and artist, as well as a warm, thoughtful and enthusiastic bloke. Those who worked with him cherish the experience and are gutted. Vale Andrew.

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(Andrew Lesnie and Russell Crowe on location in Blue Mosque in Turkey, for The Water Diviner. Photography: Diviner Holdings Pty Ltd 2014)

See Karl Quinn’s article in Sydney Morning Herald here. Read The Guardian, BBC, and The Australian here.

Special Australia Day screenings for The Water Diviner

For many of us the great outdoors beckons on Australia Day with barbies, an impromptu backyard cricket game or a day on the beach. Now you can begin the celebrations with a bevy and a choc-top, seeing The Water Diviner under the Southern Cross at special outdoor screenings around the country on Sunday, Australia Day eve.

See the details for Moonlight Cinema screenings here.

For Open Air Cinema screening details click here.

For a genral roundup of the screenings see IF.com.au here.

Latest news on The Water Diviner from Seoul.

International press is reporting that fans flocked to see Russell Crowe on his first ever visit to Seoul. He signed auto graphs, took selfies with the crowd and was given a couple of special gifts. He was even presented with his own Joshua Connor Lego figurine. Alas, no one ever makes Lego figures of writers – for a very good reason no doubt!

For the full story see Daily Mail photos and story here.

Read Korea JoongAng Daily about why Russell chose this particular project and it’s relevance for Korean audiences.

See some great pics from kdramastars.com here.

Russell Crowe twitters photo of his Lego figurine.

Russell Crowe twitters photo of his Lego figurine.

The Water Diviner Premiere in Seoul on Monday

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The Water Diviner is being premiered in South Korea on Monday at a red carpet do at Lotte Cinema Konkuk. Gidday Seoul! It seems that Russell has quite a zealous fan base there, despite not having visited before. Daily Mail is reporting that he was mobbed at the airport and have published a stack of photos with a report on his arrival and upcoming promo tour. Click here for the link.

For coverage by Korea Times Us, click here.

The Water Diviner will have a general release in South Korea on January 29.

Jack Thompson reads The Water Diviner.

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If you’re like me you could listen to Jack Thompson read to you all day and night. Bolinda Publishing have new stock of The Water Diviner audiobook read by Jack (on CD of for MP3s). We were thrilled when we heard he had agreed to do this, and doubly excited when we realised The Water Diviner was the first audiobook he had recorded. How is that possible? We feel privileged. I have to confess, when I went into the recording studio in Sydney to meet Jack last month, long before I announced my arrival I sat on the couch outside the booth with my eyes closed just listening.

You can enjoy a sample too, courtesy of Bolinda Publishing, by clicking here and then clicking on the line that says, “listen to an excerpt” under the book cover image.

Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson together in The Sum of Us (Source: wikipedia.com)

Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson together in The Sum of Us (Source: wikipedia.com)

Water Divining, straight from the source.

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Russell Crowe has just recorded an interview with Jason Di Rossi at ABC Radio National where he talks about making the transition from actor to director, and what drove him to want to tell the story of The Water Diviner. There is a transcript and audio here.

For other ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ experiences on The Water Diviner, here is a great 3AW interview with Jai Courtney, who plays the head of the Imperial Graves Unit, Cyril Hughes, in the film.

Arise Sir Russell Bey?

As plans for Canakkale/Gallipoli commemorations in Turkey firm up, Hurriyet newspaper is reporting that Russell Crowe and Prince Charles will be attending the dawn service. They also mention Russell is being considered for special recognition for ‘The Water Diviner’ such is the goodwill generated with Turkish audiences by the film. What a wonderful accolade that would be. See below:

“The Turkish government, meanwhile, is considering decorating Crowe for his recent film “The Water Diviner,” which is set four years after the Gallipoli campaign in World War I and follows the journey of an Australian farmer who travels to Turkey to discover the fate of his three sons.” (Hurriyet Daily News)

This sort of decoration is not unprecedented and can go both ways. Turkish director, Tolga Ornek, was awarded an Order of Australia for his film “Gelibolu-The Front Line Experience”. If you haven’t seen his doco, it’s a revelation, and brings the Turkish experience to life like no other doco I’ve seen.

See the full Hurriyet article here.

Ciao Italia! The Water Diviner opens in Italy today.

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So many of my favourite things are Italian: cappuccino, tira mi su, Sofia Loren, La Dolce Vita, spaghetti, Scorsese(his heritage at least), the Pantheon, buffalo mozzarella, the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, Regiano, Cinema Paradiso, Mandarina Duck, Gianluigi Buffon, Umberto Ecco… the list goes on. How much richer Italy has made my life. So it is nice to be sending something back the other way. The Water Diviner movie is being released in Italy today, along with an Italian translation of the book.

Italian poster

Italian poster

Italian book cover (source: amazon.com)

Italian book cover (source: amazon.com)

Check out the e-book in Italian at amazon.com.
Written by my wife Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios and myself, the book is available in English from Booktopia (if you’re quick, they’re having a bit of a post-Chrissie sale), as an e-book from Amazon.com and an audiobook from Bolinda. Happy reading or listening.

Karl Quinn at The Age nails it.

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Karl Quinn, the National Film Editor for The Age/SMH reckons Russell Crowe has nailed it with The Water Diviner. In his article, “Rusty Nails it!” – there must have been smiles of admiration in the editorial room when he filed that one – he poses (and answers) the question: “Why have so many Australians (and Turks) flocked to see the film?” Some great industry insights in there for all of us.

See his full article here.

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