Film festival fosters local talent

October 28, 2023 BY

North Bellarine Film Festival Chair Bill Lussier with Grace Griffith, winner of the 2020 Emerging Filmmaker Award. Photos: NORTH BELLARINE FILM FESTIVAL

The annual North Bellarine Film Festival will return for its seventh year next month and present a varied program of Australian and international films to local audiences.

With an increasing focus on short films produced by independent Australian filmmakers, the event aims to bring high-quality and diverse cinema to the Bellarine Peninsula.

The festival will be held at the Potato Shed in Drysdale over two days, running on November 17 and 18.

Festival chair Bill Lussier said the festival had grown into a major regional event.

“The North Bellarine Film Festival is a popular event on the city’s arts and culture calendar and has been delivering high-quality cinema to residents and visitors in the region since its inception in 2017,” he said.

The film festival will begin on November 17 with a screening of the critically acclaimed French film Saint Omer.

Directed by Alice Diop, the film has won several international film awards including the Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Venice Film Festival.

The film follows Rama, a pregnant Senegalese-French novelist who travels to Saint-Omer to attend the trial of Senegalese student and immigrant, Laurence Coly.

Coly has been accused of leaving her 15-month-old child on a beach to be swept away by the tide.

A group of emerging filmmakers with Cr Jim Mason (seated) at the 2021 North Bellarine Film Festival.


Noticing a number of similarities between them, Rama feels a personal connection with Coly that leads her to question her complex relationship with her mother and to become increasingly anxious about her own life and pregnancy.

The North Bellarine Film Festival also strives to foster local, regional, state and national filmmaking talent and will screen this year’s finalists for the 2023 Emerging Filmmaker Award on November 18.

“The Emerging Filmmaker Award has been identifying talented young filmmakers and screening their work since it was established in 2019,” Mr Lussier said.

“The annual award ceremony on the Saturday evening of the festival is a celebration of some of our state’s best young filmmakers.”

The award recognises Victorian filmmakers who are 25 years of age and younger who demonstrate excellence, talent and commitment to their craft.

Doors will open at 6.30pm both evenings.

The film festival will also showcase a program of Australian and international short films that will also be screened on November 18 with doors opening at 12pm.

The event will be catered by Portarlington’s Pier Street Café and a cash bar will be available.

For more information on the North Bellarine Film Festival, or to purchase tickets, head to northbellarinefilmfestival.org

Tickets can also be purchased from City of Greater Geelong Customer Service Centres and by phone on 5251 1998.