A film that was shot in Moree earlier this year and aims to shine a spotlight on the devastating impact of drought is set to premiere at a private screening in Sydney this week.
Drought, a short film based on a true story, depicts the struggles of young farmer Rob (Matt Oxley) and his wife Sophie (Jacqui Buchanan) as they battle the relentless pressure of the Australian drought.
One hundred per cent of the film was shot on location in Moree back in April, and now Drought is finished and ready to be showcased to the world.
It will be premiered to about 150 people - including media, politicians, industry representatives, and even some of the Moree farmers who lent their properties for filming - at a VIP private screening at the Ritz Cinema in Randwick this Friday, October 25 before it hits the international short film festival circuit.
"We've submitted it into a dozen short film festivals, so it's now a waiting process before finding out if we're selected, but we've tried to nut out the very high-end festivals, Academy Award-level, because we want the right people to see it," director Nathan Colquhoun said.
Drought not only aims to bring greater awareness about the devastating effects drought has on rural families and communities, but also highlights the issue of mental health and suicide among farmers.
"I'm hoping that it connects with people and makes people aware of what's going on in our rural communities and to all of our farmers," Colquhoun said.
"You hear about the drought on the news and you can kind of shut yourself off ... but the power of cinema is that it has the ability to hit you in another emotional level and you can relate more with the characters and the music and cinematography.
"Whether the drought breaks or not, this film is relatable on so many different levels, so even if the drought wasn't going on at the moment, I'd hope the film would have the same impact, especially regarding mental health issues."
The film has had a few small test screenings and Colquhoun said the reaction has been "very positive" from those who have seen it.
"A few farmers have actually watched it and they couldn't go to work the next day because it hit too close to home for them," he said.
"For me, that's the best reaction we can have because it means it is portraying the real issues affecting farmers."
With hype for Drought building over the past few weeks, Colquhoun said there are now talks about turning it into a feature-length film.
There are also discussions about bringing the film out to Moree for a private screening in the coming months for locals interested in seeing it.
For more information about the film go to www.droughtshortfilm.com.au.
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