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Byron Bay Writers’ Festival – a treat for film enthusiasts

Movie buffs can look forward to a small but powerful film program featuring the great works of John Pilger, Louis de Bernières and Paul Cox as part of the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival offsite events line-up.

Acclaimed film-making Paul Cox will participate in the In Search of Soul Festival series in the session The transformational power of trauma. Paul Cox’s book Tales from the Cancer Ward chronicles the moving portrayal of his own personal journey through liver cancer.  Festival Director Candida Baker says it is very special to have Cox present his film Innocence in a one-off screening. “Both Cox’s book and films seem to contain a quintessential European quality of dark and light sometimes missing from mainstream Australian film,” says Baker. “Cox will discuss the film after the screening which presents a rare chance to speak to one of the Australia’s most respected film makers.” Innocence will play at 5.00pm, Thursday, August 4, at the Dendy Byron Bay.

The Festival team is proud to present the Byron premiere of Louis de Bernières’ film Red Dog at the Dendy Cinema at 7.00pm, Friday, August 5.  De Bernières will be on hand after the film to explore further the story of the charismatic, hitch-hiking kelpie from the 70’s. “With the Observer describing the film as particular treat, Red Dog is for lovers of dogs and the Australian outback or just those who enjoy a good Aussie yarn,” says Baker. The screening is sponsored by Dendy Byron Bay Cinemas and Screen NSW.

Treats for film-enthusiasts don’t stop there.  A special screening of John Pilger’s controversial documentary The War You Don’t See will screen at the Byron Community Centre Theatre at 7.00pm Sunday, August 7. “We are thrilled that John will be available after the screening for a Q&A session, chaired by Mick O’Regan,” says Baker.

Baker believes adding film to the Festival program was an important aspect of the Passion theme: “All these filmmakers have created incredibly passionate works.  It is a great privilege to be able to present such a powerful line-up of films as part of the Festival program.”

Baker advises those wishing to attend film sessions to contact the Dendy and the Byron Community Centre.  Tickets for John Pilger are already on sale, and tickets for the Dendy shows will be available soon.

To purchase tickets visit www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au or call 1300 368 552.

Byron Bay Writers' Festival Foodie's Feast

2010 Australian MasterChef winner Adam Liaw, former Vogue and Cosmopolitan fashion editor turned restaurateur turned author Victoria Alexander and local Byron chef, food writer and restaurant reviewer, Belinda Jeffery are just a taste of the foodie line-up featuring at the Byron Bay Writers' Festival.

Festival Director Candida Baker advises that the foodie events are amongst the most popular and tickets go quickly. 

"The Festival foodie events are always a sell out," says Baker.  "Our Foodie Fodder lunch with Belinda Jeffery and Adam Liaw, hosted by Janella Purcell at the Italian at the Pacific restaurant, will be no exception. Guests will be treated to a great meal and a wonderful presentation by three consummate professionals in a setting that captures the essence of our laidback North Coast lifestyle."

Belinda Jeffery (The Country Cookbook: Seasonal Jottings and Recipes) is especially looking forward to the session Beautiful books – turning books into art, with Victoria Alexander (One) and Adam Liaw (Two Asian Kitchens) chaired by Victoria Cosford (Amore and Amaretti: A tale of love and food in Tuscany).

"There is almost a new genre of cookbook that is more like a work of art.  Some of the books coming out now are just exquisite," says Jeffery.  "I have worked with the brilliant photographer Rodney Weidland for over 25 years and often readers write to me just about their love of the images in my books."

Jeffery believes the session Eat My Words – Why We Love Food Books taps into another growing reader phenomenon. "There has been an increasing interest in food and cooking over the past 25 years, but now readers seem more inclined to take their cookbooks to bed to read, almost like a novel…a form of escape," she says.  "Sometimes my readers confess that they don't even really cook. They just love reading about cooking, almost as though they are cooking vicariously by reading through their favourite chef's or cook's recipes."

The growth in the narrative cookbook is also an interesting development in the genre. "I have always loved cookbooks that tell stories," says Jeffery. 

"Food is a part of life and weaving cooking into travel, history or just everyday life is a wonderful way to enjoy the process of sourcing, preparing, cooking and presenting food."

Baker believes the increase in the appeal of cookbooks is driven by many factors.  "Cooking shows such as Masterchef have certainly encouraged people to get back to the kitchen, but a renewed focus on home cooking is also driven by economic pressures with people wanting to cook at home rather than eat out," Baker says. "However, overall I believe cook books continue to increase in popularity as there is something warm and appealing about creating wonderful meals in your own kitchen to share with friends and family." 

Foodie Fodder, sponsored by Ferment, is being held at the Italian at the Pacific Beach, 12.00pm – 3.00pm Friday, August 5.  Tickets are available now for $125.

To purchase Festival or event tickets or to view the full Festival program visit www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au or call 1300 368 552.

Circus Jam

We offer return bus from Jonson Street to Circus Arts. 2.5 hours on the training floor doing a whole mixture of circus skills such as juggling, staff twirling, mini tramp, silks, tight wire, static trapeze plus they get to swing on the high flying trapeze!

After the workshop they can choose a snack and a drink (beer, wine or soft drink) from the Big Top Cafe and then stay for happy hour from 4pm to 5pm! 17 Centennial Circuit Arts and Industry Estate Ph. 02 6685 6566 www.circusarts.com.au

The Byron Bay Writers’ Festival Youth Day

 

ABC3 TV Personalities – Amberley and Kayne - Headline at The Byron Bay Writers’ Festival Youth Day

Popular television personalities Amberley Lobo and Kayne Tremills from ABC3 will host the new Youth Day at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival on Sunday, 7 August, the final day of the three day Festival.

Festival Director Candida Baker has been working hard to develop an entertaining and motivating program designed specifically to capture the imagination of children aged between six and sixteen. “We are thrilled that Amberley and Kayne have accepted our invitation to headline the Youth Day which will be held in the ABC3 marquee. They are wonderful entertainers who are looking forward to MC’ing the Youth Tent for the day,” said Ms Baker. Amberley and Kayne will introduce a variety of international and Australian writers including America YA writer Maria V Snyder; Australian writers and illustrators Alison Lester and Martine Murray; actor, presenter and writer Tristan Bancks of Nitboy and Mac Slater fame; picture book writer, Tony Wilson and the Gold Inky, Teenage Choice Award winning writer, James Roy, Charlie Pickering from TV’s Your Generation and Wendy Harmer with her delightful Pearlie series of books. Bryon local and Festival veteran Tristan Bancks says being part of the Festival is one of the highlights of his year. “What I love are the thoughtful, and often hilarious, questions the kids throw at you. Sometimes they really have you thinking.”

The Youth Day will be packed with readings, panels and performances interspersed with the opportunity to participate in book signings, enjoy fabulous food, listen to a variety of live music and stroll amongst the incredible sculpture show. “I have a personal passion for children’s literacy.

Capturing your child’s enthusiasm early introduces children to a life-time of reading pleasure. I have ambitious plans to grow the Youth Day year-on-year,” said Ms Baker. “This is a unique opportunity for the children and young people of the Byron Shire and its surrounds to get up close and personal with some incredible writing talent. If you want to inspire your children to understand that words are more than just spelling on a piece of paper, this is the place to be. I would encourage all parents to book now for a thought-provoking and entertaining family day out.”

To purchase early bird tickets for the Youth Day or a three-day Festival pass visit www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au or call 1300 368 552.

Byron Bay Film Festival 2011

A touch of Hollywood glamour graced Byron Bay this weekend as the Byron Bay Film Festival once again rolled out the red carpet in the foyer of the Community Centre for its opening night extravaganza.

The Community Centre was transformed for Friday night’s opening party as local media producers wined, dined and mingled with international directors, producers and actors, including Australia’s own acting stalwart, Jack Thompson and his brother, film critic Peter Thompson. So impressed was Thompson by the Festival and the hospitality of its organisers and the town that he has discussed returning to next years’ festival to run a Master Class with his brother Peter. There was barely a dry-eye in the audience after Saturday afternoon’s presentation of ‘The Telegram Man’,

Thompson’s first short film which he stars in alongside Gary Sweet and Sigrid Thornton, set in rural New South Wales during World War II. The presence of the charming icon of Australian cinema attracted what was to be the first of numerous full capacity audiences over the weekend. In its 6th year, the festival is going from strength to strength, something which was evident over the weekend with many sold out sessions and prospective audiences having to be turned away at the door.

The screenings will continue for the rest of the week with a large number of sessions on offer showcasing a variety of genre films such as surf films, documentaries, short films, environmental films and dramatic features including the Best Dramatic Feature & Best Film Nominee ‘Nauta’, screening on Thursday night with the films Italian filmmakers present. With Sunday the final night of the festival, it will begin to wind down on Saturday night with a red carpet Gala Party which will include the Byron premiere of Australian romantic comedy ‘The Wedding Party’ with the filmmakers also in attendance. The nights’ festivities will also include the presentation of numerous awards, including the big one, for Best Film. With tickets selling fast, festival organisers recommend interested audiences buy tickets in advance or online to avoid disappointment at the box office. Session times and ticket information can be viewed online at www.bbff.com.au.

2010 Byron Bay Writers’ Festival

The 2010 Byron Bay Writers' Festival will now be held at Belongil Fields and takes place over several days from the 6th to the 8th of August in Byron Bay and includes literary lunches, film screenings, theatre, book launches, interviews and panel discussions. This year’s festival will be held between the 6th & 8th of August 2010.

Lucky Wonders launch their first single ‘Happy Pills’

The Lucky Wonders are set to launch their first single ‘Happy Pills’, taking their loved live show on the road to wrap up 2009. Renowned for their intensely honest lyrics and mature songwriting, the duo of Emma Royle and Jessie Vintila create tunes that touch on personal themes, but where you’re welcomely invited to share in “the real bits.”

A theme runs through The Lucky Wonders’ songs reflecting the good fortune of those able to face their demons and live their dreams. Their home of Byron Bay is a place where lucky people flock to do both.

Splendour in the Grass 2009 – SOLD OUT

Splendour in the Grass is one of our favorite festival, great bands, exciting atmosphere – and easy (parking, plenty of room, variety of food, and everyone’s having fun). Clearly, I’m not the only person who feels this way with the festival selling out in under 2 hours. Here’s what their press release had to say;

Organisers would like to advise that at 10.15am today 14 May, Splendour In The Grass weekend and camping tickets to the 2009 event, taking place Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July at Belongil Fields in Byron Bay, have completely sold out. “’We are yet again in awe of the interest in Splendour, thanks to everyone for your support and embracing our ticketing process with its anti scalping features and carbon offsetting option.” said Event Producers – Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco

From the feedback I’ve had and lurking on forums, it looks like the ticketing went smoothly too.

World Premiere of David Hannan’s new film Coral Sea Dreaming in HD at UF09

We are proud to have Dave Hannan personally introduce his new film Coral Sea Dreaming in HD as a World Premiere on Saturday 2nd of May at Byron Bay’s Lounge Cinema – all part of the Saturday night Underwater Party at the Buddha Bar next door.

Coral Sea Dreaming HD is the story of coral; the world’s greatest natural architect, and the ancient ancestor of humankind itself. Coral is the immortal sea God of our oceans, responsible for the building of massive limestone citadels which house the most exotic and specialized creatures on earth. 8 years in the making, Coral Sea Dreaming HD brings together the world-class cinematography of Emmy Award Winner, David Hannan, with an original musical score by Australian composer Tania Rose. Shot on State-of-the-Art High Definition technology, it chronicles over 2000 dives on the last three great coral reef ecosystems on earth: the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef, and Papua New Guinea. Over 84 extraordinary minutes, Coral Sea Dreaming HD enters the very heart of life – and death – on a coral reef. Amongst the thousands of marine creatures represented, there are courting manta rays, oceanic sharks, turtles, cuttlefish, alien sea slugs, and massive fish schools reminiscent of a bygone age. But due to global warming, and ocean acidification, the limestone citadels built by corals are literally dissolving. And when the reefs die, everything dies with them. This means the extinction of millions of marine animals. There is much to be done to safe-guard these precious ecosystems for future generations. And very little time to do it.

David Hannan is renowned not only for his filmmaking, but more importantly the conservation that is activated by his films. This is the driving force behind his work. Coral Sea Dreaming is designed as a multi-platform product, which will place coral into modern consciousness as never before. It will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray Disc in Australia & New Zealand through Roadshow and niche distributors during 2009 and in the USA & world wide during 2010. Audiences can select to have a music-only experience, and enjoy the film as the ultimate relaxation video. Because of its superior format, it can also serve as animated ‘wallpaper’, turning a screen or even an entire wall into a virtual fish tank. For a more classic documentary experience, ‘switch on’ an emotive and informative narration track, or a ‘making-of’ interview with David Hannan. Other features such as pop-up factoids or creature identification tabs can be activated, turning the film into a powerful Field Guide and educational resource. Through the web, Coral Sea Dreaming also becomes as a high tech porthole into other related programming, with links to key marine conservation organizations worldwide. Coral Sea Dreaming is about coral. And the sea. And their dreaming. With her days now numbered, Coral Sea Dreaming is how coral – our once great and enduring ancestor – will forever want to be remembered.

Byron’s over $20,000 rich Photo Shoot-Out draws international interest

International media correspondents from prestigious dive magazine Scuba Diver Australasia are flying out a team from Singapore to cover the 2009 Byron Underwater Festival to be held in Byron Bay from Monday 27th April to Sunday 3rd May. With nearly $25,000 in prizes up for grabs, the Byron Underwater Photo and Video Shoot-Out is now the richest event of it’s type in Australia and offers one of the richest prize pools internationally. This year’s Underwater Shoot-out promises to be the best yet as organisers extend the festival by adding an extra 2 days.

Tim Hochgrebe, event organiser, says “Extending the festival in 2009, has allowed us to provide underwater photographers and videographers greater flexibility and time to capture that elusive award winning shot and video footage.” Tim also added “To help contestants in the 2009 shoot-out, once again we are bringing back to Australia renowned international underwater photographer Mr. Matthieu Meur to conduct beginners and advanced photo clinics early during the festival. This will allow photographers the opportunity to utilise their newly acquired skills during the competition.” Mr. Meur is a co-author of 2 books – An Essential Guide to Digital Underwater Photography and An Advanced Guide to Digital Underwater Photography and has his own underwater photography bible on the verge of being published in early 2009. Pre-release copies will be available at the festival. Inductee to the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, Neville Coleman of Queensland, has also confirmed a third appearance at the 2009 Underwater Festival.

Organisers of the festival are proud to have Neville Coleman back next year. Neville is the author of over 50 books – his latest the massive Nudibranchs Encyclopedia – and well known for his passion for the underwater world and the small and unusual critters it contains.

As an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, Neville has once again been invited as a guest judge in the 2009 Underwater Photo and Video Shoot-out and he will also be conducting a full Underwater Naturalist course over the first two days of the festival. We all know, Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations and everyone knows about its beautiful beaches, the great surf and famous festivals. However, not many realise what beauty lies beneath the water’s surface or that Julian Rocks, located only 3 kms off the beach, and is one of Australia’s top 10 dive sites. This is where tropical and temperate currents meet, resulting in a unique mixture and incredible abundance of marine life including 3 species of turtles various rays, friendly sharks and over 500 other species of fish. Macro life is abundant with nudibranchs, crabs and snails, various coral and sponge species as well as sea stars, feather stars and urchins. In May water temperatures are still up (21 to 24C) and it is a quieter time of the year in Byron Bay, a great time to visit! The Byron Underwater Festival is aimed at everyone wanting to experience, for themselves, the wonderful marine environment of Cape Byron Marine Park – whether it be to learn more about it, dive it, snorkel it, kayak it, photograph it … or even paint it. Other activities and events include marine wildlife presentations by a number of reputable speakers, snorkeling, introductory dives, kayaking with dolphins and an Underwater Art competition. The Marine Visions art competition & exhibition, held in association with Retrospect Galleries, is a celebrated forum open to photographers, painters and sculptures of all ages.

This is a fantastic opportunity to display and sell their work over the course of the festival and be in the running to win over $5000 of great prizes including cash, a full PADI Open Water Course, framing and printing and much more.

There will be something for everyone and fun for the whole family with many FREE events and activities. For more info and bookings go to www.underwaterfestival.com.au

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