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Community & Business

26 March, 2023

Better than safari; ‘Warrawong’ doco at Gil Film Festival

The inaugural Gilgandra Film Festival will take place next month, and the local organising committee are beyond excited.

By Emily Middleton

Sue and Brian Armstrong, featured in Polish-Sydney film director Simon Target’s documentary “Warrawong... the windy place on the hill” back in 2021 and after it made its debut at the Sydney Film Festival and internationally at the Krakow Film Festival, the community thought was time to bring it home.

“We are all looking forward to having the evening and, hopefully, having plenty of people there from out of town to look around and enjoy the area,” Mrs Armstrong said.

“A lot of locals wanted to see the film, and because it is cinema strength, it has to be shown on a large screen, not a small one.”

The film follows Mr and Mrs Armstrong on their farm Warrawong, in Tooraweenah, and how the couple are determined to stay on the farm for as long as possi- ble.

When Mr and Mrs Armstrong were being filmed during lockdown in 2020, they had no idea just how much of their everyday life would be captured. They loved having Mr Target around, and the longer he stayed, he just became part of the furniture.

“When we were doing it, you didn’t really notice Simon because he became such a lovely friend. He would arrive and as I have always said to my friends, put the kettle on yourself, don’t forget to offer me a cuppa, and make yourself at home,” Mrs Armstrong said.

“He loved the country, and you kind of got used to him, it was like having family there. He would empty the mouse traps in the morning which he got footage of, and I will be hiding under the chair when that part gets played!” Mr Target’s love of the region grew and grew during the making of Warrawong.

His wife, who had been on safari in Africa, even commented that the drive-up the hill at Warrawong was even better than Africa.

“They don’t see the horizon in Sydney, or hear the birds, or see the amount of animals that we have out here,” Mrs Armstrong said.

“So, it was really special that he was able to capture all of that, and feel right at home doing so.”

After having a great time at the Sydney Film Festival last year, Mrs Armstrong wanted to bring the brilliance of the whole event back home.

“We met some lovely people who were in other films. When you go to film festivals, they have the directors and people in them talk about it on stage, and that’s where we met Georgie.”

Alongside Warrawong, the documentary “Dream Life of Georgie Stone” will also be played at the first Gilgandra Film Festival.

“The dream life of Georgie Stone was an eye-open- er for us, we met Georgie, and that’s when I thought hang on, let’s make it a film festival and show Georgie’s film as well, and now also Simon Target’s second film ‘Masha and Valentyna’.”

The festival has been pulled together very quickly according to Mrs Armstrong, and she is so grateful for the community’s support. Being a first for the town, she says it’s a privilege that Gilgandra is able to put an event like this on.

“Being able to bring a little bit of that film magic to Gilgandra, that to me is pretty exciting,” she said. 

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