Film lovers flock to Inverell for North West Festival launch

Cinephiles were enthralled at the official opening of the North West Film Festival last week, as filmmakers shared the secrets to their craft. 

Professional and local filmmakers joined enthusiasts at the Inverell Cinema on Thursday, to screen their short films and answer questions on the creative process.  

AFI award-winning actress, and former local Annie Byron, known for her work on The Sullivans and Muriel’s Wedding, showed off her comedy chops with a pair of shorts called EPK and Ruby.

EPK, which stands for electronic press kit, poked fun at filmmaking, as a series of mock interviews for a fake but lovingly over-the-top Australian vampire movie; while Ruby found the humour in an elderly woman’s paranoia over the motives of her son and daughter-in-law.  

Ms Byron said EPK was an example of what could be done on next to no budget, with the director convincingly faking a red carpet scene with a small background set piece and several close cropped shots.

She enjoyed the physicality of her role in Ruby, which she said was tightly written.

Locals Michael Clarke and Phillip joined Stephanie Marshall to talk about Genie, a fun film following Michael’s quest to get to Newcastle despite the ineffective efforts of his newly acquired genie, and Phillip’s dream to ride in the Grafton to Inverell.

The pair encouraged locals to look out for familiar sights like the Pioneer Village, Sportspower and the Salvation Army.

“The North West Film Festival has been a great encourager of all filmmakers and of people getting out and being part of it,” Mrs Marshall said. She said the final product was testament to Inverell’s generosity, with so many local businesses allowing filming and lending equipment. 


Composer Damien Lane had the audience in tears as he shared 1919, an emotive glimpse into life after war for an amnesiac, which won an APRA/AGSC Screen Music Awards in 2015.

“It was particularly challenging from a musical perspective because there’s no dialogue. So the whole story has to be told just with sound, music and image,” Mr Lane explained. 

“It was a project that I wasn’t paid a lot for, and I confess there was times when I was questioning ‘Why am I doing this? It’s taking all my time. It’s not going to be worth it.’ And then after it was finished, it got picked up by ABC, it was screened and ended up winning an award and was kind of a turning point in my career.

“So it goes to show that it’s not always about the money.”  

Following the launch, on Friday Ms Byron and Mr Lane led local students a pair of film making workshops in preparation for their participation in the festival. 

Known as an innovator in smartphone filmmaking, Jason van Genderen led youth through a free workshop, co-hosted by the Inverell Shire Council, the following day. 

Entering your own film

To enter your short film into the festival, upload it to Youtube and paste the link to the North West Film Festival Facebook page (@nwfilmfestival) with your name, age and category by Friday, October 19.

Categories include documentary, narrative, purely creative and animation. A key creator must reside or formerly reside in the north west region. The festival will run from November 16-17 at the town hall.