Internationally Made Rural Qld Documentary Premieres In Byron


A film depicting the ongoing battle to save a nature reserve in rural Queensland is the subject of an internationally made documentary that has been selected for the upcoming Byron Bay International Film Festival.

The film, ‘Bimblebox’, which premieres at the festival on March 10, follows the story of Paola Cassoni, a resident of Alpha, Queensland, a tiny town 500 km west of Rockhampton. It tells of Ms Cassoni’s two year fight to prevent the 8000ha Bimblebox Nature Refuge – which she co-owns – from being swallowed up the proposed China First coal mine.

Directed by US-based filmmaker Michael O’Connell, the movie places Paola’s story in the context of the massive coal and coal-seam-gas (CSG) expansion in Australia and its damaging impacts on farm land, communities and the environment.

As well as telling the very human story of one woman’s fight to save the land she loves, it features interviews with leading academics and scientists, former miners and members of communities impacted by mining, to build a picture of the broader implications of Australia’s mining boom.

“I am very proud to be the catalyst for this documentary, and have my story told to the public,” Ms Cassoni said.

“It’s not just about a fight to save a refuge in rural Queensland,” she added. “‘Bimblebox’ shows the broader public how the bush, our farms and our waterways are going through a radical transformation; we are losing the fight against mining in our backyards which could have significant impacts on our water quality, food supply and environment.

“It also shows the daily battles and frustrations of ordinary people in dealing with both mining corporations and what I consider an indifferent Government.”

“I am absolutely delighted that the film will have its premiere at the BBFF and my sincere thanks go to Michael O’Connell, who donated his creative time and efforts to this project, as well as the country folks who believed this was an important story to tell, and helped to finance the project.”

Mr O’Connell is an experienced environmental documentary film maker, having previously made ‘Mountain Top Removal’, a documentary which focussed on the issue of coal mining in the US region of Appalachia and received numerous awards including the ‘Reel Current’ award at the Nashville Film Festival.

“Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, supplying one third of the world’s supply. It is impossible to address climate change without looking at Australia’s role in the planets climate future,” said Mr O’Connell.

“After making my film Mountain Top Removal I wanted to look at the global issue of mining and also explore the alternatives to fossil fuels.”

The documentary will screen three times as part of the festival, now in its sixth year, in Byron Bay, Lismore and Murwillumbah and is being considered for Best Environmental Documentary.

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