Dungog students to shine at film festival

AUSTRALIAN film production, like the wine industry, might be struggling but there’s no doubting Dungog’s commitment to keep the dreams of cinema alive.

The sixth annual Dungog Film Festival, with more then 100 films ready to roll, begins today. More than ever before organisers have made an effort to include the Dungog community.

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This year young people’s cinema leads off the program.

Scriptwriter John O’Brien, who has worked on Australian television features including Fireflies and Water Rats, says he has called in some favours from old film friends to make this festival a memorable one.

Mr O’Brien has created a ‘‘kind of rural-themed’’ Out of the Shed, the festival’s fringe program and worked with students at the Dungog High School to help them realise their world premiere of UnCarOrdinated.

The eight-minute feature screens today at 1pm.

It follows the trials and tribulations of Penny, played by Camilla Lambert, who can’t get enough hours into her log book to get her P-plates.

‘‘It is rather gorgeous, very sweet,’’ says Mr O’Brien.

Penny tries to teach herself to drive on the family’s ride-on mower and by playing Nintendo.

‘‘I love working with young people because they are so clever and fresh,’’ he said.

‘‘P-plates are a big issue. Driving is a life passage and without wheels in the bush you are stuck.’’

Highlights of the Out of the Shed program are an early film by the great Australian director George Miller, a look at violence on film, a little-known documentary about art called Who Killed Paris Hilton and In the Dark, an exploration of sound without images.

Australian actress Jacqueline McKenzie is the guest star for the festival, which runs until Sunday. Angel Baby, which helped make her career, screens today at the Cockatoo Theatre.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY:

Student Day, short films and the Australian classic Dot and the Kangaroo; UnCarOrdinated 1pm James Theatre. Features: Angel Baby, 4.30pm Cockatoo Theatre; Not Suitable For Children, 6.30pm James Theatre. Documentaries: Despite the Gods 4.30pm James Theatre. Opening night party.

TOMORROW

Features: Redd Inc, 5pm James Theatre; Careless Love 7pm James Theatre; Crawl 9.30 pm James Theatre. Documentary: Grammar of Happiness 1pm James Theatre. Dowling Street Parade.

Full program www.dff.org.au.

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