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Filmmakers and audiences rubbed shoulders, swapped yarns and clinked glasses at the 2008 Dungog Film Festival, only the second edition of the event, but which had already become the world’s biggest showcase* of Australian films. In the 50 minute doco, Doing Dungog, Urban Cinefile’s Andrew L. Urban recorded the festival for posterity. Doing Dungog first airs on TV Sydney on Sunday April 26, 6.30pm, and simultaneously on the Channel’s website at www.tvs.org.au

“This is a great way of sharing the common wealth of Australia,” says actor Chris Haywood in an interview recorded for Doing Dungog, the 50 minute documentary produced by Urban Cinefile, of the 2008 Dungog Film Festival (May 29 – June 1, 2008).

"sharing its ‘wealth’"

Haywood, one of dozens of actors and filmmakers who attended the festival, appears as the narrator in Lockout, one of the festival doco films, and pays tribute to the sponsors, like NSW Mining, which is sharing its ‘wealth’ acquired by mining in the very region of Dungog. Ironically enough, Lockout is the little known story of a major industrial dispute in the Hunter coal fields in 1929, which had massive repercussions.

Andrew interviews the Hopson family, new operators of the James, with cameraman Patrick Howlett of NSW Uni. (Photo Enzo Amato)

Benjamin Gilmour, who used a disguise and a long beard to shoot undercover in a life threatening situation in Pakistan, also talks about the making of his drama, Son of a Lion, which had a special screening at the festival.

"the birth of the festival"

Others appearing in the doco include ABC TV’s Margaret Pomeranz, Matthew Newton, Noni Hazlehurst plus several filmmakers including Bruce Petty (Global Haywire), Andrew Traucki (Black Water), and Lockout producer Greg Hall, with the film’s director, Jason van Genderen. The doco includes several film clips, and an interview with Peter Duncan, director of the opening night film, Unfinished Sky.

Festival directors Allanah Zitserman and Stavros Kazantzidis talk about the birth of the festival and what they want to achieve, while Dungog Tourism Officer Wendy Farrow explains how a town with 50 tourist beds accommodated 3,000 for the weekend. (Yes, a lot of sharing …)

"Held in Australia’s oldest, continually running cinema"

Held in Australia’s oldest, continually running cinema, The James, the festival also marked the retirement of projectionist Ken Reeves, after 27 years. Ken made the final reel change on the old carbon rod projectors prior to an upgrade, on his final day, before handing over to the Hopson family, whose young son, Luke, has worked as his assistant (Cinema Paradiso like) and will continue to help run the cinema.

The documentary was made possible by support from the festival’s presenting partner, NSW Mining (part of the NSW Minerals Council), and the NSW FTO. Dr. Nikki Williams, CEO of NSW Minerals Council, explains the rationale for the mining industry organisation’s extensive support for the Dungog Film Festival, emphasising what it sees as a cultural investment.

Published April 23, 2009

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DOING DUNGOG (50 minutes): $20 incl P&P

Money Order (with your name and postal address) to:
Urban Cinefile
PO Box 173 Seaforth NSW 2092

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*Including several premieres, the 2008 Dungog Film Festival presented 18 feature films, 10 documentaries, 52 short films, 5 In the Raw scripts and 2 work in progress screenings – all Australian, plus Apple and Adobe workshops and several seminars.

Andrew L. Urban’s
PRACTICAL GUIDE for Dungog 2009

Andrew L. Urban’s
CLOSING REPORT on Dungog 2008

Dungog Film Festival 2009: May 28 – 31

Festival director Allanah Zitserman

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