Almost perfect end to big day
Monday, 3rd December, 2018
By Michael Murphy
The scene was set for a magnificent closing act to the day’s festivities on Saturday night, but a dust storm and then rain robbed Perfect Light Film Festival organisers of a fairy-tale finish.
The show went on despite the stinging sand clearing many out of Sturt Park just before the string of short films hit the big screen about 8pm.
A small crowd persisted and gradually grew to about 300, but the big guy upstairs turned on the tap and washed away the majority of the remaining audience.
The day began in perfect conditions for the annual Broken Hill Toy Run. About 100 bikers gathered at the Westside Plaza before hitting the streets for the run around the city, finishing with a sausage sizzle and carols with the BIU Band at Harold Williams Home in Eyre Street.
Nursing home residents were delighted by the noisy bikers, many venturing outside to greet the rolling parade as it winded through the nursing home’s car park.
Lifeline volunteers had their hands full carrying away the huge haul of toys collected during the run. Many also donated money on the spot.
The wind picked up throughout the day but did not hamper the Christmas pageant with more than 50 floats lining up to spread cheer through the city’s main streets.
John Wren, who has been watching local Christmas pageants for 70 years, was sitting in his usual spot on the footpath outside the Silver City Cinema.
“I was thoroughly impressed,” he said.
“All the kids on the floats, it was so versatile. It brought life to Broken Hill,” he said.
“I thank all the organisers and South Rotary, and all the schools that participated.
“You have to give them ten out of ten. It’s great for the citizens and it’s great for Broken Hill.”
One of the floats popular with the kids this year was “Thor of Oz”. Melbourne actor Andrew Lutomski - a Chris Hemsworth ‘Thor-lookalike’ - was a special guest of the Perfect Light Film Festival and was an imposing figure as he waved his big hammer all the way down Argent Street.
The pageant beat the dust storm to Sturt Park, where the after party and markets swung into action.
But then it struck, and the exodus began, many carrying deck chairs out of the precinct - they were obviously intending to stick around for the film festival, but the heat, dust and impending storm was too much.
“I heard there was a hail storm in Yunta,” said one man, as he made a bee-line for his car.
A light rain settled the dust and it appeared all was not lost for Steve Bastoni’s gift to the Silver City.
The festival director introduced his celebrity judges - Kestie Morassi (Wolf Creek), Leah Purcell (Wentworth - that’s the hit TV series, not the nearby township) and Nathaniel Dean (Locusts).
The first three films in the RUOK? Emerging Filmmaker category then screened, and the winner announced, Jordan Land for his short film titled The Human Animal. Local filmmakers Chevarli Lloyde and Emily Scott won an encouragement award for their film Too Young, about a school student who finds out she’s pregnant. It was an informative and courageous film by the pair, broaching a subject that produces much angst for teenage girls.
The rain started to pour down shortly after the RUOK? films - and it would not have been unreasonable to ask organiser Steve Bastoni how he was going, after being frowned upon by the weather gods for the second year in a row.
Though, it would have also been reasonable to give the acclaimed actor some space, just in case those same gods decided to throw a few lightning bolts down from the night sky.
When most of the people on the grass hopped up and left, Bastoni encouraged the remaining die-hards to join the VIPs in the marquees for the rest of the show.
And they would not have been disappointed in the quality of films that followed.
Jason King’s The Big Game didn’t figure in the awards, but every sport fan who lives in a remote area would absolutely relate to the storyline of a guy trying his hardest to get some sort of broadcast of the big game.
The yarn was well written, acted and shot, and provided an interesting twist near the end (no spoilers here).
Third prize went to Benoit McCullough’s ‘Wingman’ - a special effects extravaganza involving lounge-room fighter pilots.
Second prize was Nick Crowhurst’s ‘The Lost Sheep’ - the tale of a woman stranded in the outback after escaping a religious cult.
First prize - Peter Kalos’ ‘After Silence’ - about a man on the edge who confronts the life he should have lived.
The big screen in the park was of exceptional quality, and so too was the sound system, which was good because it competed with a large flock of corellas making themselves known in the park.
The noisy birds actually gave the outback films - another one of which was Grant Bennett’s Mad Max Museum - just a touch more authenticity, because you could not tell whether the squawking was part of the soundtrack or not.
Steve Bastoni thanked everyone who made the event possible, especially those who stuck around to watch it in the rain.
“Give yourself a round of applause for hanging in there,” he told them. “We had a wonderful program, shame there wasn’t more people here to see it.
“But the bright side, there’s not a big rubbish clean up, so let’s look at the positives.”
He thanked the judges who came from Sydney and Melbourne to take part and the major sponsors, especially lawyers Redenbach Lee.
Keith Redenbach told the small crowd he would be willing to stump up again next year.