The North West Film Festival leaves 'em in the aisles at Bingara | video

BINGARA’S Roxy theatre was buzzing on Saturday night for what Sandy McNaughton described as “the most brilliant, the most fabulous, the most awe-inspired, the most seat-of-its-pants, the most how-does-it-happen, against all odds, brilliantly, dazzlingly dynamic film festival anywhere in the world”.

Sandy, who has been involved in the North West Film Festival for many years, represented Carers NSW, who co-funded the event with the Schizophrenia Fellowship as part of the government’s Drought Assistance Package.

Sandy was just one of many who were pleased to see the festival “rise from the ashes” after its cancellation last year.

After a month of training workshops throughout the region and two days of workshops with a long list of industry professionals, the finalist films were finally screened on Saturday night.

“The most brilliant, the most fabulous, the most awe-inspired, the most seat-of-its-pants, the most how-does-it-happen, against all odds, brilliantly, dazzlingly dynamic film festival anywhere in the world”

Sandy McNaughton

From a furious animated stickman battle made by Jono Gaukroger to a heartfelt documentary on local intellectually disabled couple Chris and Lesley Voysey’s struggle to have their marriage officiated, stories of all kinds were shared.

Ebony Romer’s horror flick Broken Glass took the big prize on the night, following on from her success in Ohio’s International Horror Festival two weeks previous.

The struggles women face in a harsh media climate and the meaning of feminism was the focus of judges’ selection winner Reveal, by Courtney Hoskins.

Courtney thanked the women who appeared in her documentary-style film for being brave enough to appear on camera in plain clothes, with no make-up.

“I was asking them to open up about themselves, and they all did that brilliantly, and they’re the real winners tonight, they did the hard work,” she said.

Eloise Collins made audiences think differently about their trauma in her powerful film, judges’ selection To the Bully, We Say Thank You.

She said she found herself telling her story through the words of others as, in a unique twist, participants thanked bullies for shaping their lives.

Audience members flocked to vote for their favourite films, with Tom Bishop’s quirky Wes Anderson-esque Murder, Apparently named people’s choice winner.

Sascha Estens’ High Flying Beer, a visually stunning piece on a Moree barley farm, sole supplier of malt barley for Peroni, was another crowd favourite.

Moree Elder Noeline Briggs- Smith touched audiences with her impassioned story on the history of segregation in the area.