Woodland 2012 was the first short film festival ever held in Tumbarumba, NSW. One might think that holding a short film festival in a small mountain town in the middle of winter was a bad idea, and that the people who dreamt up such a thing up should be pelted with rotten fruit and then locked away for a very long time for crimes against the innocent.

Well, parts of that are true, but it turned out that holding a short film festival in a mountain town was actually a pretty good idea – with the results of the inaugural Woodland Film Festival being proof enough that the organisers aren’t totally stark raving mad.

 

The Snowy Mountain Breakdown (of what happened) –

After some interesting preparations setting up the Tumbarumba Memorial Hall during a brief snowstorm, spirits remained optimistic, with exceptions. Like how the hell were we going to get these pine trees to stand up in the hall? Where were the band going to set up without all their gear blocking the screen? Who is that man walking on the stage over there? Do we know him?

These were all obstacles overcome through an entire two days of solid set-up work, and all those who were involved (you know who you are), did an amazing job.

The fiery first night of the festival involved watching vintage 16mm trailers outdoors around burning 44 gallon drums outside café Nest — and were enough to spark a little buzz for the event that lay ahead – the gala ceremony. It was exciting that this was finally starting to happen.

The following day – which I like to call ‘Big Saturday’ – was started off by the markets on the Café Nest front lawn in the crisp mountain air – local produce, film memorabilia and assorted goodies were the main attractions here. Judges, filmmakers and MCs were all turning up throughout the day. Excitement was building for the main event.

It’s difficult to talk about how the gala actually started – it all just kinda started to happen. Maybe it did have a planned start – though I didn’t know about it – I was too busy freaking out. People were all dressed up real nice like, enjoying the VIP area towards the back of the hall, sampling some delicious wines and foods, taking in the atmosphere of found op-shop paintings, fairy lights and real pine trees lining the walls of the venue.

And after a few tunes from house band ‘The Shubies’, the films started. And what a range of films we had – from Canadian punk westerns, to arthouse silent films from Austria, to animated foreign language cartoons, to Australian films with budgets from the very high, to the very miniscule indeed.

Films from trained professionals, to students, to film-buffs – comedies, documentaries, music videos and more were all on show.  We were really happy with the crop of films we had to play. Thanks to all who entered a film into Woodland.

The night was capped off with the announcement of the award winners and a sterling closing set from the house band.

And as for the atmosphere of the night? The photographs were flowing like wine, the conversation also like wine. The good times – again, flowing like wine. As for the actual wine? It, too, was flowing like wine. Or maybe it was cider – I cannot remember it that well.

But what I do remember, and what most were talking about the next morning at the Nest recovery breakfast after the festival, was that it was a night that whoever attended shan’t forget anytime soon. We somehow pulled off a low budget miracle, and realized we may have stumbled upon a festival that has the potential to be a very special thing indeed.

Though next time, we’ll sort out proper heating for the hall so our patrons don’t have to freeze to death.

Love,

The Woodland Team

 

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Official Record 2012:

 

Best Film                                   Crosshairs                                     Mike Hoath

Best Animated Film            Tegan the Vegan                          Marisa Martin

Best Local Film                      Video Lives: Tumbarumba       Peter Marshall

Best Student Film                Annaliese and the Penguins     Stephen Moore

Audience Choice                  Crosshairs                                      Mike Hoath

 

Judges: Dr Neill Overton, Madeleine Scully, Jan Smith.

MC: John Samaha