ACMI goes bush: Moyne Shire Premiere Screenings

Port Fairy Theatre

Reardon Theatre

As part of our In the Regions program ACMI were out and about in south west Victoria recently to showcase films created in local communities. It was a celebration of the diversity of people found in these regions and the unique approach of the local area to telling stories about Australian identity.

Now Showing

The ushers await

The Moyne Shire Council rolled out the red carpet for ACMI’s premiere screening, which was held in Port Fairy at the Reardon Theatre on the 13th of August. Over a 170 locals braved the cold weather and flood warnings to come out and see nine films.

The theatre was packed full of VIPs including ACMI Director Tony Sweeney, Moyne Shire CEO Brett Stonestreet, Acting Mayor Jim Doukas, Director Community & Corporate Support Steve Dawkins, Small Towns Community Engagement Officer Craig Midgley, Regional Arts Development Officer Jo Grant, Regional Arts Victoria (South West partnership) Susie Kewley and community committee members Essie Warmuth from Port Fairy and Tom Dickson from Caramut.

Tony Sweeney Introduces; Kim Montgomery, Tony Sweeney and ? compare notes

ACMI Director Tony Sweeney Introduces; Kim Montgomery (ACMI Content Development Manager), Tony Sweeney and Brett Stonestreet (Moyne Shire CEO) compare notes

The screening started with some archival footage of Port Fairy from 1947; the audience were full of oohs and ahhs when they saw the steam train pulling into the station (a station that is no longer in use and is now part of the Port Fairy  Information centre).

The nine short documentary films that showcased the towns of Port Fairy, Yambuk and Caramut were received with great enthusiasm and joy. The ACMI crew conducted vox pops following the screenings and the overwhelming feeling was one of pride and appreciation in seeing themselves and their towns on the big screen.

The enraptured crowd

The enraptured crowd

Participants in the films were thrilled to receive their own DVD copy and everyone was excited that these films become part of a growing community archive in ACMI’s collection. Many locals commented on the effect a project such as this has on galvanising small communities and giving them a voice. It was also noted that locals had travelled from Yambuk and Caramut further strengthening the connection between the towns in the Shire.

The crowd favourites included the film about the Yambuk Slide. Everyone agreed that the new beachside slide is not as good as the old slide as it doesn’t have as much “slideability”. The film about Ted Mellor, Port Fairy’s kite man, was also well received; a touching and inspirational story about following your heart and putting a smile on people’s faces. Another highlight was Tales from Caramut Footy which provided a glimpse into the life of a small town and the connections between people who rally around their football club.

Caramut Footy Club

Caramut Footy Club

The second screening was on Saturday the 14th of August at the Caramut Football Club house. Once again there was a great turn out in the triple digits. It was the final day of the football season which made the screening of Tales from Caramut Footy all the more appropriate as it was filmed there on the first day of the season back in April.

Tom Dickson, a Caramut local, was the MC for the evening, and the room was full of kids running around, occasionally stopping to marvel at the magic of the moving image and make shadow puppets over the films.

Tom introduces; Caramut crowd

Tom introduces; Caramut crowd

Going back to these towns to screen the finished films for the community is an honour and a privilege that we don’t take lightly. The people of these towns open their hearts and in most cased their homes to us, they trust us and for that we take the utmost care with their stories and we thank them for allowing us the opportunity to have a glimpse into their lives.

Coming Up…

ACMI’s Content Development crew are about to head off to the Shire of Indigo and the towns of Beechworth, Yackandandah and Rutherglen. We will spend five days from Monday August 30 until Friday Sept 3 capturing the essence of what life is like for people living and working in this region. From Yackandandah we have stories about a community that banded together to save the only petrol station in town. In Beechworth we will be taken on a tour of the hidden cellars and tunnels that exist under the town. And in Rutherglen we find out about the story of the water tower that became a much loved town icon.

Csilla Csongvay, ACMI Content Development Project Coordinator

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