ACMI’s Content Development crew were on the road again in early December showcasing films shot in the Indigo Shire in Victoria’s North East. Featuring the towns of Beechworth, Rutherglen and Yackandadah, these nine short docos were filmed in early September as part of our ongoing ACMI in the Regions project.
All three screenings were held in halls that required a full AV set up. The crew were assisted by the Shire Council Arts and Culture Development Officer, Susan Reid, and community volunteers, who worked hard to create a ‘cinema feel’ at all locations, complete with red carpet. In Yackandandah, Aiden, a young local, helped out lifting, moving and generally entertaining us with facts about space: the final frontier.
The first screening took place in Beechworth at the Memorial Hall, where the sound of heavy rain was surpassed only by the sound of more rain. Despite the weather, over 120 brave (though slightly wet) locals turned out for the premiere of their films. People brought along food and wine to enjoy throughout the screenings, and members of the Beechworth Historical Re-enactment Society charmed us all by appearing in authentic period costumes, many of which were handmade.
The following day we moved on to Rutherglen, where over 220 locals attended the screenings. Now, for most people Rutherglen means winery tours, rolling hills and a giant wine bottle, but for ACMI’s David Withers, Rutherglen means pies. Specifically, Parker Pies. Our community liaison at the Rutherglen Memorial Hall was Brendan Smith, who features in one of the films and is also the most generous bloke you are likely to meet. Knowing Dave’s love for Parker Pies, and that we would be working through dinner, Brendan had four hot pies waiting for us upon arrival. If you haven’t had a Parker Pie before, it’s worth the four hour drive.
Our final screening took place in Yackandandah, with over 220 locals and a few of out-of-towners coming along. The weather had cleared up, the sun was shining, and the views along the road from Beechworth were incredibly beautiful. We were lucky enough to have the screening in the newly renovated Yackandandah Public Hall (so newly renovated that we could smell the fresh paint). Initially we placed 130 chairs and then spent a frantic 15 minutes adding more chairs as the people kept flowing in.
These return screenings allow people to see themselves, their towns and their neighbours in a way that may be quite surprising and often heartwarming. The screenings are also an amazing experience for us, the ACMI crew, as we get a chance to see firsthand the impact that our work has on the people and places we visit, if only for a brief, hectic moment.
It never ceases to amaze us that people we have never met or at best have spoken to on the phone for a few minutes, will open up their homes, their lives and their hearts to us. It shows that the true strength of this project is in its ability to connect people, to challenge perceptions, and to bridge the gap between communities.
Thank you Beechworth, Rutherglen and Yackandandah.
– Csilla Csongvay, Content Development Project Coordinator