Monday, January 27, 2014

TEACHING: AFTRS in Muswellbrook & Mudgee

This has got to be one of the highlights for January 2014! I've been a tutor for AFTRS (Australian Film Television Radio School) before for workshops in MacArthur &; Hornsby but this is the first time I get to venture out rural NSW on the good word of teaching the fundamentals of filmmaking amongst the local youngies.
On Market St, Mudgee
One of the workshop participants
I love adventure and I've never been to these two places so I was set up for the road trip with budding filmmaker Brendan Toole.
My road trip journey began on a Sunday morning (12th Jan), filled up petrol at Cessnock and checked into the Red Cedar Motel

Red Cedar Motel
Muswellbrook is a suburb located in the upper part of the Hunter Region with a population of approx. 11,000. It is a place known for coal mining and horse breeding as well as gourmet food and wine production.

Driving the AFTRS van
Loads of fun!
The following day we had out one off workshop at the Muswellbrook Library and has a total number of 14 kids to workshop facilitate. The outcome was great! We has kids making really quirky comedy short films. 
Post workshop I had to log myself into Anything Fitness and go for my daily 5km run just to unwind and de-stress. The heat was blazing and there's not much going in this little town but I'm glad there's a reliable gym and pool facilities for big smoke folk like myself. 
We checked out at 10am the following day, dropped past the local tourist hub - Hunter Belle Cheese Factory and the Vietnam War Memorial. It was then a scenic 2 hour drive to Mudgee.

Hunter Belle Cheese Factory
Cheese making
I have to say, Mudgee is an amazing place! It felt like someone sliced off a piece of Newtown and plonked it outback. Mudgee has a smaller population of about 9,000 but there's a lot happening at this place.

Streets of Mudgee
I stayed at the Wanderlight Best Western Inn and was within distance of everything; shops, fancy restaurants, gyms, pools, RSLs, library etc... The buildings have a funky new vibe too it and people were in and out of places. 
Some recommend places to eat include:
The caf├ęs are hip and trendy. The most recommended is The Quick Brown Fox Cafe (opposite to the theatre space that I was facilitating). I have now adopted the soy milk cappuccino into my daily staple diet now because of this place. 

Mudgee Library & Cinema
Back to the workshops, Mudgee provided us with a relatively older bunch of kids who were creative, self motivated and produced 4 amazing shorts, paired with behind-the-scenes documentaries. These kids were working around the clock to make their final films as best as it could have been. Mind you, their projects were shot on an iPad with no external sound and they managed to produce something compelling and cinema screening worthy. 

Action underway
Some things that I couldn't get about Mudgee is this store selling these dolls. It was literally a full store of them and they seem to be wearing outfits that I've seen in the movie "The Colour Purple". I don't want to say it, but are they slave/ servant outfits on "blackfaced" dolls? Who would buy this stuff? Why a store that specialises in this? Is there a "demand" for it? Makes you wonder doesn't it?
Dolls anyone?
Back to the final day of the workshop; it was a crazy mad dash 3 hours of final video exports, documentary making and the coordination of a public screening of the films. Then a "go-go-gadget-go" last few moments of farewells and a non stop drive back to Fairfield. 
Overall, I has a great time, flexing my teaching as well as filmmaking muscles. Super thanks to AFTRS (Coordinators Lynette & Abigail) for taking me out for this project!

Out in the hot glaring heat!
Trippy moon!
AFTRS happy van
Me at the clocktower

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