Part melodrama, part Western, part historical epic and part complete fabrication, Bonnywood Rising is a celebration of the ingenuity, the resilience, the spirit and the humour of the peoples west of the range. This year their tale will be told at the star-studded red carpet world premiere of Bonnywood Rising; a live-cinema performance produced by Southern Cross University’s Associate Professor and award-winning media artist Dr Grayson Cooke.
Starring the unknown celebrities of the Bonalbo community…
Marion Conrow as Ernestine Campbell
Campbell, a carpenter who had made her packet hauling cedar for Stan Priest and went on to build the Bonalbo General Store, had a secret passion for the magic lantern. She had been experimenting with projection technologies and the wonders of electricity for a number of years.
Tabitha Galvin as Evangelina Little
Little grew up in Bonalbo and made the place her home, and while she was to go on to become an artist of international esteem, it was her expertise as a hunter that had made her the talk of the town. Her aim with rifle and pistol was astounding, and in hand-to-hand combat she was un-matched. She is tall, she is beautiful and she is totally frickin’ deadly.
Lawrence McCarthy as Tom Bassetti
Bassetti was a man of vision. Discovering a cave lined with calcite crystals at the Garibaldi gold mine near Solferino, Bassetti mined those crystals and ground them into glass, and turned them into the finest film and projector lenses the world had ever seen. He gave up the life of the gold miner and moved to Bonalbo, where he knew he would be among friends.
Vilya de Tozser as Paddy McNamee
Paddy McNamee was a self-made man and entrepreneur: by 1920 he owned half of Bonalbo, and much of the surrounding farmland. Chair of Bonalbo Film Corp, for forty years he financed both the film studio and its war effort by selling cannisters of air filled with the scent of red-gum forest. The Japanese loved these things and it was an immensely profitable venture, they developed a whole fetish for the smell of the Australian bush.
Darry Melling as Snowy Baker
Snowy Baker was a cowboy with size 12 feet, a barrel chest, and a shock of blonde hair. He was, by all accounts, an extremely handsome man. His mission – and he chose to accept it – was to infiltrate the Bonalbo film industry and bring it crumbling to the ground.
Bill Mills as Mr McQueen – the Publican
befriended by Snowy Baker because a man needs a drink…
Donna van Leeuwen as Mrs Madge McQueen – the Publican’s Wife
McQueen didn’t just pull a mean glass of beer – she brewed it too, and was one of the chemical engineers behind Bonalbo’s magnificent film stock. It was her innovation that saw Bonalbo productions patent the Bonavision 70mm widescreen format by 1917.
Pete Moran as Bundjalung Stockman and Samantha Ludwig as Cattle Baron’s Wife
Charles Chauvel cut his teeth behind the camera in a melodrama about a Bundjalung Stockman and and a cattle-baron’s wife. It was a crazy time, a time of joy, of challenge and danger – but it was enough to put Bonalbo Film Corp productions on every screen in the country.
Jo-Anne King as Sally the Projectionist
The projectionist was a lean jillaroo named Sally – she smoked a pack a day and didn’t suffer fools but she loved the cinema with all her heart and she knew a hero when she saw one.