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Culture in the Byron Shire for the Week Beginning 31 October, 2019

In My Blood It Runs, won the Best Film and Best Documentary Categories

Winners at Byron Bay Film Festival

The 2019 Byron Bay Film Festival (BBFF) came to a spectacular close with the announcement of the winners of the BBFF Best Film Awards.

The event, now in its 13th Year, attracted entries from all over the globe.

BBFF Director J’aimee Skippon-Volke said, ‘Whilst our programme featured a number of the strongest Australian titles to be in the festival circuit of 2019/20, we have decided it is important to bring BBFF back to the roots that independent festivals were born from. It is for this reason our nominees are made from independent films that are not represented here in Australia by local distributors. This allows our awards to support these filmmakers as they continue on the festival circuit, and bring more attention to the work they do.’

The winner of both Best Film and Best Documentary was the powerful and enlightening In My Blood It Runs which offers a rare and compelling insight into the life of 10-year-old Arrente and Garrawa boy, Dujuan. The audience was moved to laughter, tears and horror as they watched Dujuan navigate his role as both a traditional healer; and child beholden to the Australian education system.

The Winner of Best Dramatic Feature was taken out by Australian filmmaker Josephine Mackerras whose debut feature, Alice addressed a host of ethically fraught questions around society’s relationship with prostitution.

After writing the film in English, Ms Mackerras decided she didn’t want to wait any longer for funding, or to deal with the restrictions of the Australian Film Industry.

Ms Mackerras got the script translated into French, shot the majority of it in her own apartment, using her son and other first-time actors – who gave astounding performances – and delivered a finely tuned debut. Alice previously took out the SXSW Grand Jury Prize.

The Winner of Best Experimental Film was Continuum 01 – South in Self Exile. The visual and sonic essay drew mixed responses from the audience, leaving few people unmoved.

Directed and produced by Byron Bay landscape artist Jack Bailey the film was described by some as, ‘Mesmerising, like nothing I’ve ever seen before,’ whereas a vocal minority caused controversy amongst the otherwise appreciative audience.

The locals award for Best Byron Film went to Angus McDonald for Manus.

This short film shows the plight of refugees who have been detained on Manus Island in PNG by the Australian Government for the past six years.

Ms Skippon-Volke said, ‘The Byron Film category is awarded to a film that encapsulates the spirit of our region and the strength of our local filmmaking talent. Human rights is an important issue to our community and Angus is an artist who uses his gift well in highlighting these issues.’

Brothers Jack and Peter Thompson also received an award honouring them for their work supporting and boosting the Australian Film Industry.

The announcement of the winners was followed by the Australian Premiere of The Cave Tom Waller’s dramatisation of the rescue of the Wild Boars football team from Tham Luang Cave, in northern Thailand.

Mr Waller was in attendance to introduce the film, saying ‘I’m really excited to be showing the film to an Australian audience here at the Byron Bay Film Festival. It was a remarkable story of ordinary people, who became heroes.’


Red Rebels workshop at Brunswick Picture House on Friday ahead of the performance at Shout Pray Sing on Saturday.

Shout Pray Sing! Choirs for Climate Action

Brunswick Picture House  |  7pm  |  Saturday 2 Nov  |  $10

The world sat up in shock when we witnessed Greta Thunberg’s primal howl at the UN Climate Conference – ‘How Dare You… You have stolen my dreams’.

Shout Pray Sing was the surprise hit of this year’s inaugural Festival of the Voice, with its show-stopping voices and creative production. The Brunswick Picture House is proud to bring it back by popular demand. This time with a very poignant theme; presented by Festival of the Voice, and conceived, directed and choreographed by Janet Swain, Christine Olsen and Philip Channells.

Join this inspiring, immersive journey – much more than a musical concert – it is an extension or expansion of the protest song, featuring an eclectic group of performers, all with different styles and sounds.

Together they will perform a curated selection of powerful and personal songs. Each one exploring the conversations we find ourselves in the midst of as we slowly wake-up to some hard truths about our world, and our place in it.

When asked where the idea came from, Janet Swain said: Shout Pray Sing – A Minute To Breathe, is the first in a series of exciting and diverse musical productions to be presented by Festival of the Voice. This festival plays an important part in the wonderful mixed tapestry of musical dialogue present in our richly talented Northern Rivers community and beyond. It is a celebration of the voice, a platform for expression and an opportunity to entertain and educate. Shout Pray Sing is a fundraiser for the Festival of the Voice, enabling it to grow and prosper in the years to come.

As part of preparations for the ambitious show, Shout Pray Sing at Brunswick Picture House, Red Rebel Brigade from Lismore will be presenting their first local introductory workshop in the ways of this powerful theatrical movement. The workshop will be facilitated by Red Rebels Cindy Vallet, Cait Fitzgerald and Simon Ennew, and they will cover philosophy, costume, movement, expression and composition.

Red Rebels are a group of performers founded by Doug Francisco as part of the Invisible Circus in the UK, and now Extinction Rebellion – they are described as ‘a group of druids dressed in blood red with their faces painted in white, who advance to the space between the police and the protesters. They make no sounds, give no speech and open their hands towards the police, who seem to not know whether to be amused or irritated.’

Friday 6.30–8.30 at The Brunswick Picture House. $10 donation (to cover venue hire).

For more information contact Janet Swain, [email protected] or Red Rebel, Cindy Vallet – [email protected]

Anyone can come along to this workshop to take part in the concert on Saturday at 7pm.


Family Fun

Family Fun Day!

Ocean Shores Country Club  |  Sunday 3 November  |  1–4pm  |  Free

Enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the Ocean Shores Country Club this Sunday for their annual Family Fun Day.

With free entertainment out on the back deck for members and guests, a visit from the Brunswick Heads Fire Brigade, jumping castle, inflatable slip and slide, face painting, art and craft activities, golf (of course!) and use of the pool – with life savers in attendance. There will also be fairy floss, snow cones and popcorn for sale, and Spice it Up is open for a delicious lunch!

Ocean Shores Country Club, 1–4pm on Sunday


Steven J Whiteley at the Big Gig, Ballina RSL on Thursday

Big Gig – Steven J Whiteley, Lisa Sharp & MC Mandy Nolan

Ballina RSL  |  Thursday 31 October  |  8pm  |  Free

Originally hailing from Adelaide, with more than 20 years stand up comedy experience, and multiple television and radio appearances, Steven J Whitely has toured everywhere in and around Australia and overseas. Nicknamed The Bogan Prince of Australian Comedy, because of his laconic, fair-dinkum jokes and matter-of-fact attitude, Steven J is a crowd favourite throughout Australia and New Zealand. He has performed with the likes of Stephen K Amos, Ed Byrne, Adam Hills, Steady Eddy and Jimeoin, to name just a few. He now performs extensively on cruise ships around the world, but likes to tour Australia when he’s back on home soil.

Steven J is the writer and performer of a number of highly successful Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows, aptly named Natural Born Komedian and Natural Born Komedian 2 – Born Again, which attracted the attention of Mary Tobin, who asked him to compere one of her productions ‘The Best of the Ed Fest’, with Stephen K Amos and Ed Byrne.

After a two year break from performing, Stephen J returned to the stage in 2010 to critical acclaim. His natural style and off-centre observations on almost every topic; including facebook, Australian town names and even dinosaurs, have had audiences everywhere roaring with laughter. Regularly travelling to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and regional Australia, Steven will be sure to be performing near you soon, don’t miss the opportunity to check out this very original comedian.

He is supported by two-time Melbourne International Raw Comedy QLD finalist, and local girl, Lisa Sharpe. Lisa will surprise and resonate with you as she shares her life stories and home truths with hilarious honesty. She dishes out the dirt on those she loves the most – and that could be you. Lisa grew up in Ballina and is very excited to be performing in her home town. Lisa has been a support act for Kat Davidson, Mel Buttle, Ting Lim, Bev Killick and Ellen Briggs.

Mandy Nolan is the resident host – Thursday at the Ballina RSL, for free!


Hot Shorts at the Drill Hall

Hot Shorts

Drill Hall Mullumbimby  |  Friday (1st and 8th Nov) and Saturday (2nd and 9th Nov) 7.30pm  |  Sunday (3rd and 10th Nov) 2pm

The Drill Hall Theatre Company are proud to present another season of cutting-edge and oh-so-new shorts. So hot, we cannot wait to let go of them – to be viewed (and judged) by you, the viewing audience. Hot Shorts 2019 promises to bring comedy, drama, farce and all topics (personal, political and social) to the fore. And if last season’s performances are anything to go by, this year will be a winner for all involved!

In keeping with the Drill Hall Theatre Company’s commitment to community involvement, the plays are being produced by people from across the Northern Rivers region and showcase some of the best theatrical talent the region has to offer.

All the short plays are written by local people, each with something to say on so many levels (tempting, teasing and tantalising the imagination.) They have been carefully selected (eight finalists from thirty six entries) and are now ready to be performed, viewed and judged. As previously, audience members will get to vote for their favourite plays, and prizes will be awarded at the final performance.

Deep-diving and thought provoking, this season’s Hot Short finalists are on show at the Drill Hall 1–3 November and again 8–10 November. Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7.30pm, with Sunday matinee performances at 2pm. Tix at The Bookshop Mullumbimby or online at drillhalltheatre.org.au


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