During the festival the population of the outback Queensland town of Winton has swelled to more than double, with the 2015 Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival just announcing it increased attendance by 105% in its second year.
Following crippling drought and fire at the Waltzing Matilda Centre, the community of Winton joined forces to host the second annual Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival.
“The festival attracted more than double the attendance from last year”, explained Festival Director, Mr Mark Melrose, “with record attendance on Opening Night of more than 240 people for the Queensland premier of Last Cab to Darwin, followed by incredible attendance for the Mad Max Double Header and family night on the Monday with the screening of Paper Planes”.
Winton Mayor, Cr Butch Lenton said “It was great to see the amount of people and traffic in town. I know the event helped Winton’s businesses and at a regional level to also help our neighbours in Outback Queensland. It was wonderful to see the community involvement and participation at this year’s event and I know it will only grow”.
A festival legacy was the creation of the Winton Walk of Fame, unveiled by Queensland Assistant Minister to the Premier, Stirling Hinchliffe with Festival Patron and much loved actor, Mr Roy Billing. Mr Billing was inducted into Winton’s inaugural Walk of Fame with a permanent star embossed tile in Winton’s sidewalk outside the entrance to the Royal Theatre for his tireless and volunteer efforts to promote the Festival.
Other festival highlights included Breakfast with the Stars where actors Michael Caton, Mark Coles Smith and Gyton Grantely were joined by festival patrons over a hot breakfast to discuss their acting careers, films and impressions of Winton and Outback Queensland.
“Cooking with Roy” was a sell-out event, with actor, Roy Billing cooking up a storm in the Famous North Gregory Hotel’s beer garden. “I normally cook Paella for six of my friends on a Sunday afternoon, so just bear with me”, Roy explained, as he threw ‘another shrimp on the barbie’.
“The Qantas Paper Plane Competition was so well received”, said Festival Director, Mr Mark Melrose. “It was so refreshing to see over thirty children and even more adults really get into the spirit of things, competing with their own paper planes”.
“This year, thanks to the support of our sponsors and partners, we have been able to turn a small profit which the association can re-invest into the event for 2016” explained Mr Melrose.
The festival’s Artistic Director and Film Curator, Dr Greg Dogopolov also announced, “Our theme for next year will be Dinosaurs, in fitting with Winton and the region’s natural landscape. We will also bring the latest outback inspired releases and some crowd pleasing classics.”
The festival’s Facebook Page is testament to the enjoyment had by locals and visitors alike with comments such as :-
“We’ll definitely be there again next year”
“Can’t wait to do it again”
“Congratulations for a brilliant festival!”
“What a splendid event, thoroughly enjoyed my time at it.”
“We had a GREAT TIME!”
Winton’s Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival will be held from Friday the 24th June to Saturday 2nd July, 2016.