Daughter returned to Regional Victoria as we visited Mansfield Armchair Cinema on the 20th of November 2016.
It was a hot and muggy day when Ivan and I ventured down to Benalla country from Melbourne, our first destination being Lima East. On our way we stopped in at Bonny Doon for an upmarket pub lunch, which is one of the more swish meals we have tasted in the area. We were quite impressed. We then made our way off through the heat to Mansfield township for a brief sight see and a flyer drop. Much to our surprise, our new friends at the Mansfield Arm Chair Cinema (The MAC) had most of the major bases covered with the Daughter event prep.
When evening came and we had missed the timing of the local winery we instead made our way into Lima East early, where our cabin and new but somewhat old friends awaited our arrival. Like last month when Daughter and Made In Melbourne Film Festival held a joint event in Swanpool, we stayed on at Pam and Ian's cosy farm, the cabin situated behind their home. As expected from previous visits we were treated well and welcomed with a meal and an interesting conversation on film and travel upon arrival.
After dinner and more conversation it was quite late when Ivan and I got back to the cabin and we spent our night writing character breakdowns for NPG's next feature film, Friends, Foes and Fireworks. We wrote and threw ideas around while all comfy in the cabins bed, surrounded by the sounds of nature. When the next day rolled around and it was Sunday, the screening day, we again spent the morning writing on the verandah after being awoken by the sun rising over the paddocks. We enjoyed a few slices bread we had provided for us in the cabin by our hosts and anticipated meeting James and Katrina from the MAC over a lunch, which we had been kindly invited to.
The heat continued that Sunday and did not let up. On arrival at The MAC we took our usual 'social media' snaps with the signage (don't laugh, they are valuable) and made our way into the air conditioned cinema, which was previously a tennis court. James and Katherine were so welcoming and we could not have asked for more generous new cinema friends. An equal tie with Pam and Ian! It must just be a quality bestowed on country folk, always so content and humble.
Together we walked across the road and to a local park where we found some shade and a table under a huge tree where we put down the esky and the platter of home made sandwiches our friends had prepared. They had even packed wine in a cooler. What a perfect way to enjoy the area - with locals in a beautiful setting. It was so generous of our hosts to give Ivan and I, two strangers so much in exchange for a screening of films.
Once back in the cinema the people started gathering and I was wondering just how many would turn up. The word in town is that the cinema is not a common place to hide from the heat, making it likely that we would screen our films to a small audience. However the foyer was quickly ablaze with people queuing at the desk to purchase last minute tickets and once inside the upper level was almost full. Ivan and I were shown to our 'reserved' seating section which saw seated under the mezzanine level, in big leather reclining chairs - yes, we were so comfy in the Gold Class section. It was great seeing some of the MIMFF 2016 selected films on the big screen for the first time and Daughter was thrown in the mix as part of this joint Regional Tour.
Daughter was well received, the audience had a lot of intelligent questions up their sleeves for me to answer afterwards. The main focus of this Q&A ended up being very community and crime focused and questions about the justice system and victim blaming were asked. Some tough ones to answer but I think I answered them well as a discussion formed on the perceptions of women in the media and how the system supports or does not support women.
After the Q&A Ivan and I had our picture taken inside the cinema room with a woman from the local press, who was going to write a story about the joint MIMFF/Daughter event. On heading back out into the foyer we chatted some more with the audience. One woman I will never forget had a dog with her which happened to belong to a man who'd committed a violent crime against a woman many years ago. She brought a bunch of flyers which told the story of the dog and the man who once owned her, who happened to be a murderer.
At every screening for Daughter and also MIMFF, when on tour we meet all sorts of people , all with different takes on violence and of different experiences and views on life and experiences they have had or witnessed. I believe that art affects us all in certain ways, we see what we want to in art and our upbringing has us conditioned to think and act and even re-act in a certain way. Our actions and emotions after viewing art are automatic responses, justified in our own ways due to this conditioning we can't help be allow to accept as part of us and who we are as individuals.
It is true when I say that Ivan and I were happy with the joint screening. It gave us a chance to screen Daughter in Mansfeild to a new audience as well as MIMFF, allowing us to also see the reaction of the audience to the festival's films before we screening them to a wider audience back home. I would say this screening of Daughter and MIMFF at the MAC was a success.
After saying our goodbyes to our new friends, we took the directions to the nearest swimming spot they had written on the back of one of our flyers and hit the road toward Gloughs Bay. Once there I was happy to kick my heels off and dip my feet in the lake while eating a much deserved ice-cream.
Ivan and I were sad to leave peaceful Mansfeild, but our next stop on the Daughter Awareness Tour was Port Lonsdale's Queensciff Uniting Church that coming Tuesday. We had lots to think about while eating dinner in Bonny Doon that night and lots to contemplate on the two and a half hour drive home. As well as much to be grateful for, which we both believe is very important when being a filmmaker.
This tour as been more than we expected.