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On Wednesday (Oct 28, 2009) Peta Astbury was recovering from food poisoning (“I’m not buying take away quiche for a while…”) and packing for the morning flight to Sydney, where she jumped on the back of Tony Hill’s Harley in a bridal dress to be part of the 29-bikie parade around town (on Oct. 29) to promote The Marriage of Figaro, her (and Hill’s) debut feature, which has finally reached metro cinemas. Andrew L. Urban talks to Peta Astbury.

As she says, you have to do as much as you can yourself to promote your film. As producer, Peta has done that pretty thoroughly, first nurturing the project into production and then taking on the distribution role when no-one else would.

"a good product that played well to audiences"

“The distributors noticed us,” she explains, “but just couldn’t fit us in. We knew we had a good product that played well to audiences and I didn’t think it was an option to have it just sit on some DVD shelf, so I decided to do it ourselves.” That’s hard enough for seasoned practitioners, never mind first time filmmakers –and never mind that Peta has a full time job in broadcasting, as well as a family. Oh, and she was completing her MBA while in production, on which she also served as 1st Assistant Director.

Within three weeks of the film opening at two Wallis cinemas in Adelaide, Australian Film Syndicate was on it: and now the film is getting a national release. “These guys at AFS are amazing….they have enormous energy and passion,” says Peta.

"a very quiet guy but a very good observer and with a warm heart"

Peta also gives full credit to Chris Moon, who wrote and directed the film. “He’s a very quiet guy but a very good observer and with a warm heart,” says Peta. The film’s bikie star, a real life bikie in his movie debut, says “the boring bits of the character are mine, the interesting bits are from Chris Moon’s imagination.”

Peta was just 5 when she started acting; in her late teens she started writing, directing and producing shorts. “I promised myself that I would make a feature before I turned 35.” She turned 30 the year production started on The Marriage of Figaro. “Now my goal is to have made two features by the time I’m 35,” she laughs.

Published October 28, 2009

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Peta Astbury


Written and directed by Chris Moon.
Reg ‘Fig’ Figaro (Tony Hill) is a knockabout bikie who likes to share a beer with his mates and play pool, eight years and two kids into a relationship with Sheree (Jacqueline Cook). When Sheree puts the hard word on him about getting married, Fig goes along with it but makes a mistake about the wedding ring that undoes his best endeavours – even though he has agreed to the operation Sheree - prompted by her interfering, chain smoking mum (Nikki Fort) - proposed. Stumbling from one misadventure to the next, Fig, a piano tuner of some talent, gets a second chance, but he almost blows that too, at the hands of a lingerie model, a speed-checking cop and his friends.

Chris Moon and Peta Astbury

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