The last two years have been incredible and frightening. People all across Victoria discovered that their fertile farmland, communities and natural areas were blanketed with licences for unconventional gas. But in that time, those communities have banded together to create a state-wide movement to protect their land, water, health and future.
And now there’s a film about it.
‘Farmland not Gaslands’ is a moving short film about communities, ranging from Western Victoria to Gippsland, who are threatened by the activities of mining companies, but refuse to sit down and say nothing about it.
It’s a matter that is close to home for director and producer Pennie Brown; literally. Her family live in Gippsland, where over 350,000 hectares of land is covered in approved exploration licences for unconventional gas.
“I wanted to make ‘Farmland not Gaslands’ because I wanted to bring home the risks of unconventional gas mining to a local audience and show that this growing movement of rural people from across the state are determined to do whatever it takes … but they need our support,” she said.
It was made on zero budget, but came together beautifully thanks to the commitment and generosity of many volunteers, including narration from AFI award winning actor, Nadine Garner.
“I was really inspired to be apart of this project, we are seeing an incredible social movement of ordinary Australians growing every day right here in our state,” she said.
The film will premiere in Melbourne on the 11th of September, as part of the Environmental Film Festival (EFFM) at Kino Cinemas. The event will include an opening address from Lock the Gate Coordinator (and Gippsland resident) Ursula Alquier, who has been working tirelessly to help protect regional communities. There will also be a regional premiere on the 13th of September, at the Sale Cinemas.
The film is not only a wonderful work of art, it is a reminder of the amazing things that can happen when communities get together.