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Laughter on a Dish

Laughter on a Dish

What: The Dish
Author: Anthony Scully

AUDIENCES will love THE DISH, the second feature film from the producers of THE CASTLE, judging by reaction to previews in Newcastle last week.

Opening nationally in cinemas tomorrow, The Dish stars SAM NEILL and SEACHANGE actors KEVIN HARRINGTON and TOM LONG as technicians based at the Parkes radio telescope in rural NSW.

Based on a true story, The Dish revolves around television coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.

Pictures of the moon walk, broadcast to an estimated television audience of 600million, were relayed via the Parkes facility in a joint operation with NASA.

In The Dish, tensions flare when an American NASA official played by PATRICK WARBURTON (SEINFELD) aggravates the Australians with his attention to detail.

Much of the humour comes from the portrayal of the laidback Aussies who, at one stage, are depicted playing cricket in the dish during a smoko break.

Actor ROY BILLING who portrays Parkes Mayor Bob McIntyre visited Newcastle last week for the preview.

Billing agreed that part of the film's charm was its portrayal of ordinary Australian townsfolk, bursting with pride as the attention of the world seemingly descends upon them.

'My character, who's got the Australian prime minister and the American ambassador coming in, is headed for Parliament and he's totally in control of everything,' he said.

TOM GLEISNER, a co-producer and co-writer of The Dish along with JANE KENNEDY, SANTO CILAURO and ROB SITCH, was also in Newcastle to promote the film.

Gleisner said the team, which also produces THE PANEL on Channel 10, was conscious of not 'falling into the trap' of 'treating everybody as a country bumpkin and kind of going for cheap comedy based on the small parochial views of the people'.

'We wanted to have pride in the town,' he said.

'We love the characters, and the place we created, and wanted to celebrate their pride.'

Gleisner said the film was written before The Castle, a film which was shot in 10 days and which grossed $10million at the box office in only six weeks in 1997.

'We decided to put The Dish aside, and go and write a smaller more easily filmed movie, which was one that we could go and make without having the backing of a big multi-national,' he said.

'The Castle provided the impetus to return to The Dish some years later.' TE

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