Nestled on the edge of Civic Square overlooking the Launceston Town Hall, the distinct orange canvas of the ABC Open tent provided us with another festival gem; the Open Air Cinema. A chilly evening breeze wasn’t enough to deter me from taking a seat (mind you at the chime of half-six I wished I had allowed enough time to grab a warm Wild Willow coffee). It was freezing, but it didn’t matter because the collection of short ABC Open film projects had my attention and I was determined to tough it out.
Projected onto the internal wall of the tent, a series of beautifully constructed narratives were being played out from contributions as part of ABC Open’s Northern Tasmania One on One: Change project. Black and white still images weaved together to compliment the stories of change narrated in the first person. An experience made even more elegant by the occasional rippling of the tent wall nudged by the breeze in addition to the murmurings of various Junction happenings outside.
With contributions from Kitty Taylor, Janice Turner, Bart Scanlan, and Richard Pree I was drawn into these stories, these lives. Notable montages came from Chris Mead, Stephanie Finn, Nick Higgins and Tameika Brumby with Carla’s Run Out of Paper and my favourite Memory List by Eliza Freeman with such candid insight having suffered a brain haemorrhage;
“ I look at the photograph and I remember it being taken, but I forget how I felt.”
This is a beautifully produced short with Freeman reaching out telling us something we should already know – that she feels things.
The lighter and more colourful Tassie Two Step project followed on from One on On. It featured selected shorts on the history of dance in Northern Tasmanian communities. Having a Ball recalled the romance and innovation of the country ball with quirky facts such as Zeehan’s Gaiety Theatre being decorated with used cash-tin rolls hanging down from the ceiling chandelier-style. Hip Hop Can’t Stop by Kayden Dewar, Scott Fisher and Hosea Heckerton provided an upbeat and uplifting reprise followed on by Moves and Memories by Bessie Smith and Bronwyn Purvis. Hilarious contribution from alter-ego Dave Behringah Breaking it Down for us and finally the delightful Music Box by Lisa Garland and Catherine Thomas.
Rounding up the bill came the Blue Reels project seeing the production of a Forth Valley Blues Festival documentary and two film clips from festival musicians; firstly Pete Cornelius’ Tumbleweed and then ending with Last Laugh from Guthrie (a very slick clip indeed!).
The great thing is that the contributions featured in the Open Air Cinema were simply a taster of the quality and production values of ABC Open projects. There is more, a lot more. Do yourself a favour, if you haven’t discovered your country, your state, your community or yourself – make an effort and tap into ABC Open any way you can. Disappointment doesn’t exist there.