The First Fagin film still (actors Ryk Goddard and Carrie McLean as Ikey and Ann)

The Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA) has announced that the docu-drama The First Fagin, shot entirely in Tasmania, will have its first Tasmanian screening at the Festival in November.

Produced by Hobart based Roar Film in partnership with Queensland production company Wild Fury Productions, and supported by Screen Tasmania, the film is based on the book “The First Fagin- the Story of Ikey Solomon” by Judith Sackville-O’Donnell, and was filmed in Tasmania with an all Tasmanian cast and a largely Tasmanian crew.

Narrated by British actor Miriam Margolyes, best known for the Harry Potter movies, it tells the extraordinary colonial story of Jewish convict and career criminal Ikey Solomon, said to have been the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ immortal character of Fagin in Oliver Twist.

Graduating from pickpocket to London’s most successful receiver of stolen goods, Solomon, played by Tasmanian actor Ryk Goddard, spends six years on a convict hulk on the Thames, and acquires folk-hero status through his spectacular escape from Newgate Prison, and flight to New York in 1827.

When his wife Ann (Carrie McLean) is transported to Van Diemen’s Land, Ikey follows, to be mercilessly pursued by disciplinarian Governor Arthur.

Reconstructed dramatic sequences are seamlessly blended with narration and historical analysis, with Tasmanian historical locations a feature of the production, including Dysart House, until recently the home of Leo Schofield.

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction in this sweeping and romantic tale set around the transportation system and early Van Diemen’s Land.

Directed by Alan Rosenthal and Helen Gaynor, The First Fagin had its World Premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August.

Released to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth, The First Fagin will have its Tasmanian premiere at the BOFA Film Festival on Friday, November 9 at the Tramsheds Theatre at Inveresk. The film will be released nationally in cinemas by Ronin Films on November 15.

Early Bird Festival passes are now available through the Festival web site at

In 2012, BOFA plans to showcase over the Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 November, international and Australian feature films/documentaries, short films, cinema related exhibitions (in partnership with Queen Victoria Museum), master-classes and parties, but, as well, is adding a new Make a Difference Day (Sunday 11th November) incorporating a free community open day, screenings of a Make a Difference Day short film competition, features/documentaries, several master-classes run by industry experts, and writers’ festival speakers all on Make a Difference themes. The Make a Difference Day will be the culmination of the festival and will highlight the purpose of inspiring “positive change”.