Award-winning filmmaker Michael Raso recently visited Benalla to help promote the 2019 Benalla Shorts Film Festival.
Mr Raso got his break in the industry after his debut film Solitude was selected to be shown at the 2016 Benalla Shorts.
Since then it has gone on to win 16 awards and was even screened at the Cannes Film Festival, one of the highest honours a filmmaker can receive.
‘‘Cannes was the best for me, the best film experience I ever had and it was quite unexpected,’’ Mr Raso said.
‘‘It’s just an incredible place to be if you’re in the industry of film and television. There are so many talents, so many celebrities, so many films to see. And even just Cannes as a place is very beautiful.
‘‘I had a fabulous time and met a lot of people. A lot of people cane to see Solitude and it got a tremendous response.
‘‘Some of the filmmakers who attended requested to show it at their festivals. Alot of those were in the US and and one was in India.’’
Solitude is a film about love, loss and cherished memories. The storyline focuses on an elderly lady who is grieving the loss of her husband.
Part of that grieving process involves her spending time at a local train station each day.
The film has a nice twist, however, we won’t give any spoilers and we recommend you go out and see it.
Incredibly Solitude was almost scrapped before anyone had the chance to see it.
‘‘In the beginning we had a bit of a lacklustre response,’’ Mr Raso said.
‘‘After the film was completed, almost a year later we had submit- ted it all around the Australia and abroad.
‘‘We only had one acceptance, which was a bit uninspiring and we thought it was a bit sad as it was a G-rated short film, with no violence, no sex or drugs references.’’
Luckily for Michael that one festival was Benalla Shorts, and the success of the production has grown substantially since then.
‘‘We also did a re-edit and removed 17 seconds of dialogue. Perhaps that extra dialogue was giving the ending away. But after that, and the screening in Benalla, we started to get more requests to show it at different festivals,’’ Mr Raso said.
The Benalla Shorts Film Festival world in will once again coincide with the Wall to Wall festival, which is something Mr Raso said makes the film festival even better.
‘‘You get a really good film festival, but there is also this community of amazing artists painting the town,’’ he said.
‘‘That adds more intrigue and interest for me. It’s part of the reason I wanted to come back as a guest this year and I will come back next year, too.’’
Entries are open for the 2019 Benalla Shorts Film Festival at filmfreeway.com For more information, visit Benalla Shorts on Facebook.
I read with interest and disappointment Cathy McGowan’s Letter to the Editor last week.
During her time in parliament she has not acted as an independent and failed to leverage any meaningful outcomes for her electorate and Australia.
If Ms McGowan had even achieved a small win, like for people in her electorate to be able to go to the Benalla hospital emergency rooms without being hit with a $125 fee, it would be much appreciated.
Instead she has continually supported a dysfunctional government that has: allowed gas and electricity prices to skyrocket; allowed the deficit to escalate significantly; sent a questionable $50 billion submarine building contract to France instead of retaining the capital investment and jobs for Australia; attempted to dilute the independence of the ABC; failed to secure adequate supplies of Australian gas for Australian business and communities; allowed the wicked Trans Pacific Trade Partnership to progress even though it will have dire consequences for many Australians; and allowed the environmentally destructive and taxpayer-costly Adani mine to move forward — even though the claimed economic benefits have proven to be questionable.
Similarly, she has supported a government that has held off conducting Royal Commissions into the banking and aged-care sector even though the evidence is and has always been there to justify the need for the Royal Commissions.
While Ms McGowan may have some community development skills she has certainly not acted independently and has not demonstrated any political savvy whatsoever, instead she should have aggressively used her position to leverage demonstrable outcomes for her electorate and our country Aconcerned local
Take extra steps
I met a young man a few years ago, a student, who had started to turn his life around and was enjoying and attending school regularly.
On the outside, he was a healthy teenager who just had some trouble engaging at school, I didn’t recognise the pain he was suffering.
This young person moved away from our services at Youth Off The Streets and to another city.
Gradually he became overwhelmed by an intense internal trauma, he fell into abusing alcohol and committed suicide one night when he was drunk.
I attended this young man’s funeral soon after he died and heard the most gut-wrenching story from the father’s partner: the boy had also lost three of his brothers to suicide.
October is mental health month and this year we are asked to share the journey for better mental health and wellbeing.
What I want to share with you is one of the reasons I think we should take mental health so seriously. These days mental health issues are far too common, particularly in young people. Issues of anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and many more plague some of our most vulnerable people.
Sadly not enough people get help with these issues, which often extend from some form of abuse, and those that don’t get help addressing their health often go on to suffer from further disadvantage, a life of crime or spiral downwards into
.— alcohol and other drug abuse.
It can be easy to tell when someone is not physically healthy and it can be easy to miss signs, but we need to take those extra steps to help our friends, family and colleagues.
— Father Chris Riley, CEOand Founder at YouthOff The Streets
Above: Solitude, which was first aired at the Benalla Short Film Festival, has now won 16 awards. Left: Award-winning film-maker Michael Raso visited Benalla last week.