Starting tonight (May 1) in Tathra, the free short film festival, ‘Generate,’ will take an environmental message to communities in the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla, a celebration of nature that also encourages local filmmakers.
The festival is hosted by the National Parks Association and supported by The Forest Embassy and Friends of The Forest.
David Gallan, of Tathra, is the president of the Far South Coast chapter of the National Parks Association and also the filmmaker of ‘Understorey,’ a documentary about local forest activisim of the ’80s and ’90s.
Now David is keen to support other local filmmakers in their efforts and has put in nights camping on location to prove it.
“I’ve had heaps of help from Dave,” says filmmaker and photographer Harrison Warne whose second documentary, ‘Underfrog,’ is one of the star attractions.
‘Undergfrog’ examines how wild brumbies have impacted on a threatened species in Kosciuszko National Park, and will make its debut at Generate.
The film was made with a budget of about $2000, sourced from crowd-funding. Also helping Harrison with underwater filming was his friend, Jack Breedon.
The film focuses on the threatened Corroboree Frog, which spends about 10 months as a tadpole and depends on ponds to see out winter, making it particularly vulnerable to habitat damage by wild brumbies, Harrison explains.
“All those hours filming and spending time on location, listening for frog calls and we never did find any Corroboree Frogs,” Harrison says
“But we did see heaps of horse damage to vegetation. It’s such a cold, slow environment up there and the frogs depend on a really complex vegetation system on the ground – lots of mosses which, if destroyed, take a long time to come back.”
Harrison’s interest in frogs and in environmental issues began while he was studying Zoology and Ecology at James Cook University in Townsville and surrounded by the visible effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef.
“I grew up in Pambula and when I came back down, the first thing I noticed was – there aren’t a lot of environmental issues here. Up north, you can see it, coral bleaching and deforestation whereas here, you have a look a bit more.”The push and pull of preservation and economic growth have always existed, and, as David Gallen explains, it doesn’t have to be one of the other.
“I believe that we need to retain native forest for climate mitigation – the trees are more valuable to us in the ground,” he says.
With the federal election looming, David hopes for a good turn-out at the festival this week.
“These are important issues to be familiar with, come along and join in the discussion, no matter what your views are and support our young filmmakers at the same time.”Along with ‘Underfrog,’ there will screenings of ‘Give A Dam’, a film about the impact of the proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall on World Heritage areas in the Blue Mountains and ‘Now! For The Forests,’ a film on Corunna Forest by Elizabeth Walton.
The films and a question and answer session with filmmakers will take about two hours but David encourages anyone to drop in out respectfully if they can’t be there for the whole session.
Screening times for ‘Regenerate’ environmental film festival:
May 1 Tathra Uniting Church – 6 pm to 8 pm.
May 3 Bodalla Memorial Hall – 5 pm to 7:30 pm.
May 4 3b Barrabri Lane, South Durras, park at Big 4 Caravan Park – 3 pm to 6 pm.
May 11 Bermagui Community Centre, Bunga Street – 3 pm -6 pm.
May 12 Twyford Hall, Merimbula – 10:30 am – 4:00 pm.
Entry is FREE.