About The Vision Splendid Film Festival
A Vision in Born
Winton is located in the heart of Outback Queensland, 180 kilometres north-west of Longreach, 472 kilometres south-east of Mount Isa and 1,500 kilometres from Brisbane. The region covers 53,935 square kilometres and is home to approximately 1,130 residents.
From the early days of settlement, Winton has played an integral role in the cultural life of Australia. Winton is the birthplace of Australia’s unofficial nationalanthem, Waltzing Matilda and was first publicly recited by Banjo Paterson at the North Gregory Hotel in Winton in 1895. This iconictown in the heart of the Queensland Outback is also the birthplace of QANTAS.
Hollywood in the Outback
Winton’s reputation as Hollywood in the Outback is emerging with several major film productions being filmed there. Major Australian productions filmed in the Winton region include: The Proposition, released in 2005, and Mystery Road, released in 2013. In 2016, the much anticipated follow up to Mystery Road, Goldstone hit the big screen after premiering in Winton. Since 2019, Total Control, the popular ABC drama series has been filmed in Winton.
More recently Winton featured in a national commercial for Tim Tams and QANTAS and hosted the mini-series Texas Rising with a cast of major Hollywood stars. During the course of the 2022 Festival, three production companies were scouting the area as locations for their films.
The Festival regularly brings in filmmakers to exhibit their films but always with an eye to assisting them to see the area as a possible future location.
Australia’s only Outback film festival
The Festival is Australia’s only Outback film festival and the only film festival in the world dedicated to the profiling and supporting the Australian film industry. The Festival is family friendly and caters to audiences of various demographics and interests. Key events within the program include themed special events for selected films, Breakfast with the Stars, Kids Club, Silent Night Experience, and film location tours, bringing a breadth and depth of choice for a wide range of audiences to engage with.
The Festival supports Queensland and Australian filmmakers, often providing the first run for some Queensland productions that have struggled with commercial distributors. The program includes some of the best new Australian films and a retrospective program acting as a key exhibitor for Australian films and stories that otherwise would not find an audience.
The Festival has made its home in The Royal Theatre, Winton’s open-air theatre, which is a destination attraction in its own right!
Established in 1918, it is only one of two remaining open air theatres of its kind operating in Australia.
In the Beginning
Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival vision was developed following the premiere screening of Mystery Road in Winton, Queensland in October 2013. The film’s director Ivan Sen, cast and crew, joined the community, many who were extras, at The Royal Theatre to celebrate the film. At the following dinner, Ivan and community leaders
discussed the definitive uniqueness of the region and how using the local homes, businesses and landscapes as the film’s location, equated to a triumph of filming in the Outback. The community and its business leaders embraced the filming experience so thoroughly that it was decided to prioritise film as an economic driver for the region and take steps for the region to become a hub and world leader for Outback film making.
Originally inspired by the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Institute the founding group shared their long-term vision to see a vibrant film industry, and to see the development of a film school annex, for the people of Outback Queensland.
An Outback film festival was seen as the ideal platform to help drive this vision as well as profile and develop Winton and the region from an economic perspective. A film festival was also seen as an opportunity to develop a greater cultural understanding of film locally and sharing Outback Queensland experiences and culture with visitors.
In 2023, Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival turns 10. Such a special milestone deserves special programming considerations and content creation for retelling
and sharing the Festival’s journey. We will put the fest back in festival and add an extra sweet layer of birthday surprises, to not only profile the Festival, but region, screen hub and unique industry opportunities.
Kolperi Outback Filmmaking, the education and development
program which has evolved out of the foundations of Vision Splendid Institute will be in its second year and through the collaboration between Griffith
Film School, WintonmShire Council and Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival and with the support of the Guwa-Koa Aboriginal Cultural Advisors, will continue to showcase career pathways for youth and First Nation storytellers.
Meet the Team behind the screen
Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival is managed and delivered by a dedicated volunteer Board, a small team of enthusiastic contractors and passionate volunteers.
The Festival pays tribute to our founding chairperson, Butch Lenton, who lead the event from inception.
The Festival Board
Mayor Gavin Baskett – Winton Shire Council
Trevor Love - Principle, Aussafe
Ian Kelleher - Strategist
Michael Watson - Chief Financial Officer, Rockpooll
Robyn Stephens – Manager, Outback Festival
Peter O’Regan – Principle, O’Regan and Partners
Sallyanne Atkinson – Former Lord Mayor Brisbane City Council
Jenny Elliot - Centre Coordinator, Waltzing Matilda Centre
Nicole Bond - ABC
Neil McGregor - Glass Engine and Industry Professional
Michael Mace - Koa Aboriginal Corporation
Daniel Gschwind - former Chief Executive,Queensland Tourism Industry Council
We pay a special tribute to our founding chairperson, Butch Lenton - "Mate a reserved seat in the Royal Theatre remains for you always"
The Festival Team
Sue-Anne Chapman (Contractor)
Sue-Anne is an established senior arts, tourism, sports and events administrator and manager with over 20 years in executive positions working for a wide range of state and national organisations including the Australian Football League, National Rugby League, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and The Arts Centre Gold Coast. Former executive for over six years with The Arts Centre Gold Coast, Sue-Anne’s attributes and skills, extensive marketing, commercial and artistic strategic acumen saw the Centre’s visitation grow from 300K to over 700K in five short years. Sue-Anne is a proven business leader with a dedication to, and passion for, excelling in complex arts and culture industry development and stakeholder management environments.
Dr Greg Dolgopolov (Curator and Creative Director)
Founder and director of the Russian Film Festival. NIDA graduate and lecturer in the Film University of New South Wales. Greg has travelled and been part of many film festivals world wide, he is a genuine film festival fanatic with a true sense for Australian film.