Cover Piece : Byron Bay International Film Festival 2010

“Civilisations come and go. The only things that remain are the history of that civilisation and the art of that civilisation. Everything else crumbles and is sacrificed in the end.”

Festival patron Paul Cox from his statement in the official programme guide. A fitting choice of words I thought and well worth having as an opening to a written piece on BRWC.

Famous for being the most easterly point of Australia, Byron Bay is both a travellers and residential paradise. I myself have been coming to Byron for socialising for the last 10 years. Quaint little shops, cute cafes, fantastic pubs, a myriad of markets, golden beaches, lush rainforest hinterland and great surf is just some of the perks on offer. I was once informed from a very good source – a pastor who had lived there for a decade or two – that 10 thousand backpackers go in and out of Byron every week. This will give you an insight to the town’s staggering popularity.
The fourth Byron Bay International Film Festival took place at the local community centre from March 5th through to March 13th. Festival Director J’aimee Skippon-Volke says there were more than 850 submissions to this year’s festival from countries as far as Kazakhstan and Mongolia, of which the official selection came down to 172. So the fact that I had the pleasure of only seeing 6 short films and 2 documentaries on Saturday March 6th leaves my over all view and opinion of this 8 day extravaganza, probably a little thin. The venue itself is a multi-purpose facility that hosts exhibitions, functions, performing arts and the Bay FM community radio. I found it to be quite impressive for a small town film festival with all the staff and workers very friendly – who I should mention were all volunteers. The scene was set – now was the time for some documentary and short film makers to unveil their work. Here are 6 of the best…



I’m Gonna Do it Until the Day I die (USA) 28 mins. This doco centred on the mysterious disappearance of Detroit rock band Mog Stunt Team. Bizarre approach from Directors/Producers Dale Peterson and Coleman Weinberg with more conspiracy theories than the murder of JFK ! The editing team were clever enough to ‘slide’ Robin Williams and Billy Crystal into their finished product.

Parkway Drive (Australian) 69 mins. Director/Producer Ben Gordon was in attendance prior to its screening, where he expressed how much time and effort went into this music documentary – and it certainly showed by the time the credits started rolling. Gordon’s film shows the journey of the now world famous heavy metal band (from Byron Bay) Parkway Drive. From their rise in Australia to the bands sheer determination to promote themselves overseas. Full of interviews, great shots of Byron, bridge jumping madness, snippets of real Aussie humour and some great photography from around the globe, including Denver Colorado. Long – perhaps a little too long but certainly entertaining with the highlight being the sequence on the introduction to all the band members. The audience was richly rewarded with a deep and meaningful understanding toward their characters and personalities.

4 (French) 17 mins. Classified as an experimental short, this would have to be an understatement to say the least. The animated world of Director Edouard Solier is all about the number 4 and possibilities that surround the number. Dream like twisted adult mystery but always compelling with a POV camera for most of its journey. Think of a mix between film makers David Lynch and Abel Ferrara and your only about 25% of the way there !

Monsieur Selavy –The Way It Is (Switzerland) 10 mins. We follow one man’s journey through time – Monsieur Selavy. From an elevator to moments where space and time become tangled… Director Peter Volkart’s short film is dark and eerie but not without comedic touches to lighten the mood along with some good cinematography. Although experimental, the finished product was meticulously made.

DIX (French & British) 7 mins. Extremely creative and entertaining short film from Jules Janaud, is about a man’s fear of touching the lines whilst walking on paving stones. Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets (1997) anyone ? With the help of a psychologist he begins the process to overcome his phobia. Well edited with special effects some Hollywood film makers would envy.

Miracle Fish (Australian) 17 mins. Now famous for a richly deserved Academy Award Nomination for Best Live Action Short Film. Director Luke Doolan delivers an eerie drama, which is well acted with an utterly compelling finale followed by the atmospheric use of slow–motion for maximum effect. The young boy played by Karl Beattie is reminiscent of Danny Lloyd from The Shining (1980). The stand out film of the evening – terrific short.

Thanks again to Festival Director J’aimee Skippon-Volke and Sledge from BRWC who made it possible for me to attend for media purpose. Roll on the next Film Festival !

© BRWC 2010.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

2 COMMENTS
  • walt 19th March 2010

    I know you’ve been championing Miracle Fish since you saw it last year, but what was the next best film on show? Any people going on to have similar success?

  • Tim 19th March 2010

    We need festivals like this all over the world.
    Ones where the focus is on the FILMS?

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