Shorts pro­moted

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Si­mon Rup­pert

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 film­free­ For more in­for­ma­tion, visit Be­nalla Shorts on Face­book.

●McGowan dis­ap­points

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.

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