Pete Gailey hosts Bellingen The Promised Land at Bowraville Theatre

Pete Gailey, film editor introduces the film with Fiona Perry from Bowraville Theatre.


BOWRAVILLE Theatre screened Bellingen: The Promised Land documentary on Sunday June 20 which continues its emergence into wider availability.

The documentary by Mid North Coast veteran talents, Peter Geddes, former journalist and Bellingen resident in the ‘70s, and Pete Gailey, life-time film editor, was hosted by Pete, joined by Fiona Perry from Bowraville Theatre.

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.

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,” Pete said.

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

From the SWIFF showing the documentary 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.”

Motivated by the film’s reception of 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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