How people power stopped the gas mines
FOLLOWING sell out screenings in Byron Bay, Lismore and Nimbin, the award winning local documentary The Bentley Effect is coming to the Iluka Community Hall on Sunday December 11.
The story of The Northern Rivers' remarkable and heroic social movement to protect the region from gas mining has been described as "gripping" (Giles Parkinson, Renew Economy), "hopeful, tearful, funny and poignant," (Cate McQuillan, producer/director, Dirtgirl World) and "Grass roots community fight back at its best. 5 stars" (Richard Todd, director, Frackman).
A near six-year labour of love from local director and producer, Brendan Shoebridge, The Bentley Effect faithfully chronicles the campaign from first hearing news of 'good, clean energy' resources, to the fateful showdown at the gates of Bentley, near Lismore.
The reception to the film has been extraordinary, receiving standing ovations at all of its screenings to date.
"I was completely blown away by the audience reaction to The Bentley Effect's world premiere," Mr Shoebridge said.
"I knew it would be well received, but I was quite unprepared for the standing ovation that lasted the entire duration of the credits. I was honoured and humbled by such an emotional response to the film.
"It is a tremendous relief to know that it has ticked all the many boxes it had to. The first priority was to ensure it was entertaining, but I didn't want to make a film that people would simply watch either. I wanted to offer the audience an experience, the next best thing to being there on the blockades. It also had to inspire hope and stay true to what played out."
The film is not just the story of a social movement, however. Woven through the commentary is a much broader discussion about the current political climate and the inability of our government to see beyond short term gain and corporate profits.
"It's a remarkable time to release this documentary which is ultimately about standing up to corporate greed and general madness, especially in light of the protests boiling over in Dakota, USA; the abhorrent Adani Carmichael Mine approvals now looming over our embattled Reef; and places as unique as the Kimberley region - the third most pristine coastline in the world after the Arctic and Antarctic coast - all currently under fierce attack from fossil fuel interests - and all at a time when we know we must accelerate in the opposite direction," Mr Shoebridge said.
"If we don't all act now, then we really have blown it and all this beauty and privilege we currently enjoy will all be reduced to a dreadful battle for survival. That's what people must understand, especially the decision makers we elect. And they only respond to pressure and a strong united voice.
"But with our State and Federal governments threatening legislation which would prevent environmental groups from taking legal action, whilst effectively removing the right of civilians to protest, the time really has come for people to take the power back into their own hands and show our political representatives what democracy is really about.
"I hope taking a trip back to Bentley through the eyes of the protectors will inspire The Bentley Effect to spread fast and ripple across the globe."
The film won the Byron Film Award at the Byron Bay International Film Festival recently and is touring select cinemas throughout the Northern Rivers before a wider distribution plan is hatched to send the film national and around the world.
To assist the film's rollout, the production has partnered with Enova Energy - Australia's first community-owned renewable energy company.
Enova has come on board with the help of some of their supporters who have donated to help spread the Bentley Effect message and promote the alternative to CSG - locally owned clean energy. Enova signed it's 1000th customer, Terri Nicholson, after she saw the film in Lismore and heard about Enova's benefits.
Following the screening, the Iluka audience will have the opportunity to stay for a discussion panel which will include the film's director, along with one of the film's main characters, Ian Gaillard, an Iluka resident and a highly respected hero of the movement.
"This is an inspiring and fun celebration of our local community's triumph in the face of a huge threat," said Mr Gaillard.
"It is also an important piece of Australian cinema history that you really don't want to miss."
Doors open 6.30pm at Iluka. Tickets will be available at the door and online. For more information about the film you can visit the film's website www.thebentleyeffect.com.