The Byron Bay Film Festival excitement begins tonight – heaps of Australian talent on show

Highlights of the festival’s first weekend, March 6-8 

The Red Carpet Opening Night Gala for the 9th Byron Bay Film Festival will be the go-to event in the town this Friday.

With a guest list that includes international screen stars David Wenham, Jack Thompson, Dustin Clare and Camille Keenan, and renowned filmmakers Broderick Fox, Ben Cookson, Evangelis Giovanis and Oden Roberts, the gala opening will add more than a touch of glamour to the Byron Community Centre.

The Red Carpet arrival will be followed by the festival’s first film, Will and Testament, a moving and inspiring documentary on the life of maverick UK politician Tony Benn, who fought tirelessly for the working people throughout a long and colourful career.

Saturday at the festival promises a rich feast. There’s the get-up-and-dance tribute to Stax Studios Take Me to the River, in which legendary Memphis bluesmen make a record with the younger generation of musicians; and later, Message from Mungo – the story of how the discovery of Mungo Lady offered proof of Aboriginal presence in Australia for tens of thousands of years, and led to a clash of cultures.

Topping the night’s bill – and selling out fast – is Frackman, in which ordinary bloke Dayne Pratzky takes on the CSG miners.

Sunday morning, things get arty, as Jack Thompson narrates a documentary by and about Garry Shead, and how he came to paint his famous DH Lawrence series.

Then travel around the world, to take in the story of three charismatic buskers and their struggle to survive on the tough streets of Jakarta in Jalanan, and in What the Sea Gives Me, marvel at the wonders of the planet’s oceans and the folk who play and work in them.

Sunday night we have … Sunday, the mature romantic drama starring Dustin Clare, who co-wrote and produced the film, and his off-screen partner, co-writer and co-producer Camille Keenan.

See the full program at http://www.bbff.com.au.

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