Bellingen: The Promised Land documentary growing distribution

The iconic image for Bellingen The Promised Land documentary.


THE ‘Bellingen: The Promised Land’ film documentary by Mid North Coast veteran talents, Peter Geddes, former journalist and Bellingen resident in the 1970s, and Pete Gailey, life-time film editor, continues its emergence into wider availability with a showing in Bowraville Theatre last Sunday June 20.

It’s a gem of a film sharing the untold story of Bellingen’s hippie history and the conflicts with the town’s residents during the 1970s and 80s.

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Pete Gailey rhetorically asked News Of The Area, “After eleven sold-out showings in Bellingen in December 2020 and January 2021, the Screenwave International Film Festival (SWIFF) at Coffs and a one-off screening at Bowraville Theatre, where do we go next? – we’re looking for other distribution options while remaining independent.”

Earlier in June the film had two screenings at Never Never Mind, a new venue in Dorrigo.

“They had a little digital projector and put on a meal and chai – it was great, the place was packed,” said Pete.

The slowly, slowly local approach is slowly gaining traction and feedback is enthusiastic.

After SWIFF’s showing of the documentary, it was reviewed by Simon Foster in Screen-Space, whose eloquent write-up included, “At the centre of great drama is conflict, and Bellingen: The Promised Land recounts the fuse lit by the influx of new wave thinkers in the eyes of the generational farmers and commercial loggers of the area.

“Reflected upon in vivid detail is an infamous town meeting that many still recall with head-shaking incredulity; a fierce confrontation between boozed-up bushmen and love-child revolutionaries that laid bare the resentment felt by old locals towards the counter-culture influx.

“A key element in the feud was the now legendary Community Centre, a municipal focal point that brought the hippies out of the hills and into the township.

“Geddes and Gailey preface the 70s culture conflict by highlighting the violence inherent in Bellingen’s colonial past.”

Motivated by the film’s reception from the SWIFF audience, Pete’s meeting with the organisers to discuss more widespread distribution.

“Vimeo is also a possibility enabling overseas interested parties to have access,” said Pete.

Facebook: Bellingen The Promised Land.




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