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November 30, 2022

See Mandy Run all over again at Byron Film Festival

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A documentary about Goddess of Everything, Mandy Nolan’s quest for a seat in Parliament.

A documentary about Goddess of Everything, Mandy Nolan’s quest for a seat in Parliament will screen next week as part of the Byron Bay Film Festival.

The film’s director Brett Stephens says the film, See Mandy Run is a unique hybrid of stand-up comedy and political documentary. ‘It is an intimate behind-the-scenes portrait of charismatic comedian and community activist as she runs a hugely popular campaign as Greens candidate in the Federal seat of Richmond during the worst climate change crisis her beloved Northern Rivers has ever faced.’

Director Brett Stephens, who lives in Bangalow, has followed Mandy for 14 months prior to the May 2022 Federal election.

‘It’s been an amazing journey and Mandy has been incredibly generous in letting us into her world.

‘We did a 27-minute cut for ABC Compass which screened nationally but the feature version is the real deal. You get to see everything. If you never thought you’d see Kerry O’Brien and Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedys in the same documentary, you’ll be surprised.’

Losing the election was hard

It took me a long time to say Yes to being a candidate because I didn’t feel legitimate.’

Mandy Nolan says that revisiting the film has its challenges. ‘Losing the election was hard. The film reminded me that this is a journey, and that you don’t get anywhere without perseverance and belief. It made me fall in love with my community all over again.

‘It took me a long time to say Yes to being a candidate because I didn’t feel legitimate. But I realised legitimacy is about listening, about action and about service. I know I have that in buckets. I don’t lead from the top. For me, change happens when people you elect get on the ground floor, roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

‘This film reminded me that this is the ethos of The Greens, of my campaign team, my family and friends and my community.’

Mehreen Faruqi and Mandy Nolan during the lead-up to the election. Photo Tree Faerie.

Mandy lays bare her own personal struggles

Stephens says that in the film Mandy lays bare her own personal struggles with domestic violence and takes us on a journey from her childhood deep in the heartland of right-wing Queensland to her rise as a local celebrity in the Byron Bay region, an Australian beacon of counterculture and activism.

‘She may not have won the seat, but she won over many hearts and minds. As climate change threatens our very future, this is an inspiring, beautiful, funny, emotional feel-good story of love and family and explores who our decision-makers should be.’

Nolan hopes that by watching the film people will see her heart. ‘I hope they realise why I’ve stepped into the inauthentic, bullying, duplicitous world of politics. Because I’m not that. And change only happens when you change who sits in those seats. I hope people who didn’t vote for me next time. Because there will be a next time. And I hope more people join us!’

‘I am the subject’

Arakwal Bundjalung woman Delta Kay, Greens MP Tamara Smith and Mandy Nolan during Mandy’s campaign. Photo Tree Faerie.

Nolan says that she is not comfortable looking at herself on screen. ‘But, I didn’t choose the edit. This is Brett Stephens’ film about me. I am the subject. He is the creative. The choices are his, not mine to make.

‘As a creative myself I would never dictate what can and can’t be used. So it’s nerve-wracking. I have only seen the 30 min version on ABC’s Compass – not the 90 min version. I will be watching it for the first time with the audience.

‘Watching people watch me on screen is going to be very confronting. I hope I can handle it!’

See Mandy Run will screen at the Palace Byron on Monday, October 24 and Tuesday 25 along with short films and a Q&A with Mandy Nolan and Brett Stephens.

For more information visit: bbff.com.au.

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