The documentary Zach’s Ceremony drew a capacity crowd for a second time at the Byron Community Centre at BBFF’s final weekend, before being presented with the Byron Bay Film Festival’s Best Film Award. Executive produced by Northern Rivers local Alec Doomadgee, the film was also winner of the Festival’s Best Documentary Award.
Zach’s Ceremony, which traces young Zachariah Doomadgee’s experience of traditional Aboriginal initiation rites, opened the festival 10 days before, when it had a rapturous crowd on its feet, moved by its intimacy and message of hope.
The gala closing night film The Bentley Effect also packed out the Community Centre and received a three-minute standing ovation from the audience, many of whom had stood shoulder to shoulder during the blockade against CSG exploration in the Northern Rivers.
The documentary, made by Alstonville filmmaker Brendan Shoebridge, had its World Premiere in Byron Bay and won the Festival’s Best Byron Film Award. Tracing the emergence of the social movement opposed to CSG mining from its beginnings, The Bentley Effect showed the setbacks it suffered before a surprise victory at Bentley, when the NSW government cancelled Metgasco’s licences in the region.
It was wonderful to see so many faces of people in the film in the audience, said Festival Director J’aimee Skippon Volke.
Shoebridge said: “I was completely blown away by the audience reaction to The Bentley Effect’s World Premiere …
“I knew it would be well received but I was quite unprepared for the standing ovation that lasted the entire duration of the credits.
“I was honoured and humbled by such an emotional response to the film. It is a tremendous relief to know that it has ticked all the many boxes it had to and that it is now ready to screen to a global audience. Huge thanks to the Byron Bay Film Festival for the honour and privilege of premiering it on closing night. I was thrilled to receive the best Byron Film Award also and I’m hoping The Bentley Effect will now spread to everywhere it’s needed.”
Other awards went to The Landscape Within for Best Cinematography, Neon King’s Cameron March was 2016’s Young Australian Filmmaker of the Year, Moom for Best Animation and Matthew Newton’s From Nowhere took out BBFF’s Best Dramatic Feature Award.
The APRA AMCOS Music Video Award Screening held on the 21st was a huge success, 17 of the Music Video Finalists were screened to a packed and engaged audience at the newly re-opened Byron Bay Brewery. Natalie James received a High Commendation from the judges for Mine while the Best Music Video Award went to Oh Yeah Wow from Melbourne for Come Alive.
Workshops and panels exploring virtual reality technology and its application to filmmaking were also popular during the festival.
Creative professionals seeking to upskill engaged in ncube8 – productive think-tank sessions with some of Australia’s leaders in the field, like Dr Jordan Nyugen from the ABC’s Becoming Superman, as well as overseas experts Jordan Miller, GoPro’s Creative Music & Media guru, and Oden Roberts, film producer and cinematographer, who now specialises in 3D storytelling & producing.
Throughout the final weekend, members of the public immersed themselves in a variety of virtual experiences having their Australian Premieres at the festival. I, Philip – created by OKIO-STUDIOS in Paris took out the festival’s inaugural Best CinematicVR Experience Award, while RewindVR took out the Best Interactive VR Experience Award with their Spacewalk Home.
The Full List of Winners are:
Honourable Mentions also went out to: