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Curtain Falls On Film Festival

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Magda Szubanski and Jane Erkens

FLASHBACK: Australian comedian Magda Szubanski was a popular special guest star at the 2013 Big Screen Film Festival; she is pictured here with Jane Erkens, from Nanango, having fun at the Nanango races mid-way through the three-day event (Photo: Clive Lowe)

April 22, 2017

The Nanango Tourism and Development Association (NaTDA) has expressed its disappointment the town’s Big Screen Film Festival has been axed.

The Festival, which was started by the former Nanango Shire Council in 2006 in partnership with the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA), celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.

However, that outing has proved to be its last.

The South Burnett Regional Council has abandoned any further support for the festival, citing the high cost of staff time to organise it.

The film festival was the only one of its kind in regional Queensland, and specialised in screening new Australian films released during the previous 12 months.

It usually screened between eight and 10 films over three days.

A highlight of the event was always a guest movie star, which has seen many well-known Australian actors including Sigrid Thornton, Magda Szubanski, Michael Caton, John Wood and Martin Sacks visit the region.

In late 2015, the future of the festival was dealt an unexpected blow when the Federal Government slashed the NFSA’s budget by 30 per cent, forcing them to withdraw their participation.

But Nanango’s Heritage Community Branch stepped in with a $20,000 donation in 2016 to ensure the Festival celebrated its first decade of screenings last year.

All up, it is believed the Festival costs about $40,000 a year to run.

But has been told that a more slimmed-down version of the event – without a guest star, and using volunteer labour – could be run for about $20,000 to $25,000.

On Thursday, NaTDA president Gloria Kirkness said the loss of the festival was very sad.

Apart from providing an annual highlight for South Burnett film buffs, the festival also drew visitors to the region and exposed the South Burnett in a positive way.

She hoped a volunteer committee could be formed to revive the event in future.

[UPDATED with correction]

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One Response to Curtain Falls On Film Festival

  1. Bill McGuire

    I’m surprised the new Councillors allowed this to happen. Sounds like they’re not interested in being re elected.

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