“The landscape plays a character in Australian films in a way that other cinema doesn’t. It has a magical power over the protaganists. It’s often malevolent, but also gracious – it gives and takes away.”
Story By Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival
“The landscape plays a character in Australian films in a way that other cinema doesn’t. It has a magical power over the protaganists. It’s often malevolent, but also gracious – it gives and takes away.” These are the words of Greg Dolgopolov, the curator and artistic director of the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival held in Winton, Qld.
Starting in 2014, the annual festival has not only brought $1.2 million into the local economy, but has promoted Winton and its surrounds as an ideal location for more movie-making. This year’s nine-day film festival, from June 24, has a dinosaur theme with some popular international movies, but films shot in the outback still make up the bulk of the movies on offer. Greg dug up three Australian dinosaur movies to fit the theme, but there will also be classics such as The Delinquents, starring a young Kylie Minogue, and rescreenings of locally shot Mystery Road and The Proposition. “From Mad Max to Priscilla, the outback and being out there transforms people – sometimes for the best, and sometimes not,” Greg says. “If they survive that landscape it kind of gives them an authority to be free.”
Greg’s favourite over the three years has been the 1971 film Wake in Fright. “It’s just phenomenal and it doesn’t age – it just grows and matures. It’s the duck’s guts in terms of outback filmmaking.” Films are shown over three venues, including Winton’s historic open-air Royal Theatre, complete with canvas chairs. For more information on this year’s festival, call the Winton Visitor Centre on (07) 4657 1466 or see visionsplendidfilmfest.com.
This story excerpt is from Issue #107
Outback Magazine: June/July 2016