May 25, 2011
Australian screenwriter David Williamson says the Dungog Film Festival is a perfect example of how great locations make for great festivals.
From Thursday, the tiny town of Dungog in the NSW Hunter Valley will be transformed into a film mecca for four days, with this year’s program set to screen a record 194 films.
It will be Williamson’s first visit to the festival, which is now in its fifth year.
The writer of Gallipoli and The Year of Living Dangerously said he’s heard ‘very good reports’ about Dungog.
‘I phoned Bruce Beresford (director of Driving Miss Daisy), who said I’d have a great time because he went to the first one and said it was terrific,’ Williamson told AAP.
‘I mean great locales make great festivals, plus the spirit of the people living in that locale, for instance Sundance in America.
‘The festivals that have a distinct location and a distinct identity tend to be the ones that last and Dungog has become one of those.’
Williamson will be at the festival to host QA sessions following the screenings of two of his films, Gallipoli and The Club, and present an Australian Writers’ Guild masterclass on screenwriting.
‘They’re doing a bit of a retrospective of my work which is very nice of them,’ he said.
This year the Dungog Film Festival is set to screen 12 features, 16 documentaries, four TV sneak previews and 159 short films.
The world’s biggest festival of Australian films will also feature 10 world premiere features and documentaries in its line-up from May 26-29.
Williamson said he was looking forward to seeing films like Oranges and Sunshine which stars Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham.
Oranges and Sunshine is part of the festival’s opening night celebrations on Thursday while The Wedding Party director’s cut with Isabel Lucas will screen at the closing night gala on Sunday.
Oranges and Sunshine director Jim Loach said he was ‘chuffed’ when he heard that the film had been asked to screen at the festival.
‘I’m really, really chuffed and I wish that I could go,’ he said.
‘Lots of people have told me brilliant things about the festival and I was speaking to Hugo (Weaving) last night and he was saying great things about it.’
Williamson said the festival shows how far Australian filmmaking has come.
‘We really have got a genuine film industry,’ he said.
‘When I started out in my early twenties we didn’t have one, there was no Australian films being made at all.
‘So the transformation is terrific and I’m so glad we’ve got so many good filmmakers.’
The Dungog Film Festival will be held from May 26-29 in Dungog, in the Hunter Valley, NSW.