17.7 C
Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Locals enriched by exploration of wide, wild world

Latest News

Join Clarkes Beach paddle out this weekend to stop massive oil and gas field project

Hundreds of local surfers and water-lovers will paddle out at Clarke’s Beach over the weekend to protest against a massive oil and gas field proposed for the NSW coast.

Other News

On-farm restaurant’s sustainable vision

Frida’s Field is an on-farm restaurant based in Nashua, just ten minutes from Bangalow. Hosting three long lunches per...

Cartoon of the week – 5 May, 2021

Letters to the editor We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters...

Search for a home

Jules Claydon, Ocean Shores I helped a friend move to a new rental property last week, relieved that a stressful...

More money for Byron Shire roads and bridges

The NSW government has announced almost $5 million dollars in funding for Byron Shire infrastructure.

Why do we destroy what we love?

Nan Nicholson, The Channon I have been an environmental activist for over 50 years (I started when I was a...

Dam doesn’t give a damn about koalas

The proposed Dunoon Dam is still a possibility, though it has been voted against twice by the members of Rous County Council. Now information has emerged which presents another reason to shut down the threat of the dam once and for all.

A scene from the documentary Around the World.

Digby Hildreth

With the Great Disco Dong Debacle of ’18-19 behind us (raised eyebrows, bruised egos, rapped knuckles and all), we can refocus on the things the Byron Shire community is famous for, like getting behind unmatched home-grown cultural marvels such as the annual Film Festival, the most respected event of its kind in regional Australia.

BBFF, now in its thirteenth year, is one of the Shire’s great unifying forces, like the iconic Blues and Writers festivals. It was established and run by locals (with a solid base of volunteers stepping up), for locals (who continue to make up the bulk of its audiences), and in support of local filmmakers (many of whom get their first break at the festival).

As much as possible, Northern Rivers filmmakers are included in the BBFF programme, invited to talk about their work, share screenings with their friends and family, and welcomed to the rich and fertile networking events that occur over the 10 days.

Locals – such as Blake Northfield and Tom Byrnes of Bronte Pictures – may be responsible for making possible bigger budget, foreign-made films such as Around the World; a fun and inspiring documentary that’s likely to ignite a craze for freestyle football.

A scene from A Different Gallery, Jacqui Doran’s sculpture Wanderlust in Brunswick Heads. Photo Lyn McCarthy

Or, like Festival perennial Susie Forster, they may be finding, and filming, uplifting events in their own backyard: events such as the Brunswick Nature Sculpture Walk which connects artists and the community through sculpture in a much-loved environment. Susie’s 10-minute film A Different Gallery perfectly captures the joy of that community connection.

And it is the environment that drew most Byron Shire residents to the region in the first place – or kept those lucky enough to have been born here from leaving. The ocean, in particular, nourishes us all, and it is the ocean – and specifically surfing – that inspired Byron Bay residents Christian Gibson and Chris Gooley to embark on a two-year journey through Latin America.

When they set off they never intended to make a film, Christian says. ‘It was just something we had to do.’

Pacifico

The result is Pacifico, which evolved from a road trip into a conversation on friendship, alternative lifestyles, and how long-term travel broadens the mind and can change the trajectory of a person’s life.

Byron Bay’s slogan ‘Slow down and chill out’ could also be the motto of this happy, mellow, candid film, which opens with a monologue from Buddhist philosopher Alan Watts and follows roads-less-travelled to show the benefits of taking time to observe the world mindfully.

Christian is a passionate photographer and filmmaker, and founder of Gobe – a conscientious photography accessories brand. Some of his still and time-lapse photos are at the quiet heart of the film, showing the magnificent Andes mountain ranges, volcanoes and deserts in all their monumental glory.

The surf that rumbles through Pacifico was rough and cold at times, but nothing compared with the harsh bone-chilling waters of the North Atlantic explored in Nordurland, made by born-and-bred local Ishka Folkwell.

Nordurland

Like Pacifico, Nordurland is the story of friends travelling to remote places in search of waves, this time Northern Rivers locals Torren Martyn and Laurie Towner, as well as needESSENTIALS founder and designer Ryan Scanlon.

The isolated, snow-covered coastlines they seek out and surf at are beautifully captured by Ishka, while Torren’s narration offers a personal reflection on the trip.

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

Byron Bay landscape artist Jack Bailey has a similar need for the ‘raw, rugged, elemental’ regions of the world, and seeking them out has become something of a mission for him, summed up in a favourite quote of his, from the acid pioneer Timothy Leary.

The motivation behind Jack’s 30-minute film Continuum 01 South in Self Exile is to provide a cinematic meditation, a chance, he says, to ‘disconnect from the demented devices’ that distract us constantly. ‘Lift your head beyond your lap and witness the unfiltered wonder of the natural world. The more time we spend removed from the mediocrity of society, the less we depend upon it. Turn on, tune in, drop out.’

It is a manifesto that will resonate with many in the Bay, including those who are growing tired of its being over-loved.

Jack takes that fatigue a few steps further: ‘I find solace in empty landscapes, void of human interference. I find the company of the wild far more affable than that of modern man,’ he says.

Recorded during a six-week journey in South America, South in Self Exile traces clouds crossing the sky, or flowing around rugged mountainscapes, accompanied by entrancing electronic music. It is a film to gaze at, rapt, like watching the ocean.

Audiences will lose themselves too in ‘Black Moon’ Trent Mitchell, a visually stunning and emotive short film by Northern Rivers-born Robert Sherwood that focuses on the passionate Australian photographer Trent Mitchell and his experimental pursuits with his camera. It expresses both men’s creative efforts to capture the essence of nature – and bodysurfing.

Meanwhile, Bangalow’s Poppy Walker zeroes in on remoteness in the desert, in Dust Devil, a short film with a big heart, about the life of a former Broadway dancer, and how she brought her dream of freedom to life in a Death Valley ghost town.

The Byron Bay Film Festival is an international event: filmmakers come from all over the world to attend. But it is proud to highlight the work of local people, including those who journey beyond our shores and return enriched. They share their experience of the big wide world, and remind us that there’s no place like home.

BBFF flexi-passes and gift vouchers make it easy for you to join us in celebrating our home-grown talent and share your pride in being local with family and friends.

• The Byron Bay Film Festival runs from October 18–27. For details and tickets, visit bbff.com.au. 


More on Byron Bay Film Festival 2019

Weaving, Leunig among the stars on screen at BBFF

Digby Hildreth With just four weeks to go until the Byron Bay Film Festival’s Red Carpet Gala Opening, excitement is mounting over the stunning selection of dramas, documentaries, short films, workshops and virtual reality experiences on offer. Actors, directors, and film...

1


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Man dead after boat capsizes near Yamba

Police say a man has died and a second has been taken to hospital after a boat capsized south of Yamba this morning.

Jonson Street bus shelter gone and an era ended

Byron Shire Council says that the wooden bus shelter on Jonson Street outside the Byron Visitors Centre is being removed today with all bus services operating from the new bus interchange on Butler Street in Byron Bay

Upside down river

Tim Harrington, Lennox Head Letter contributor Richard White (letters 21/4/21) quite correctly identifies the Richmond River as an ‘upside down river’ and nowhere is this more...

Ballina Dragons’ great results at Urunga

The Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club is a group of paddling people from all walks of life who enjoy being out on the water having fun and keeping fit.