Australian actors David Berry and Bianca Bradey.
Australian actors David Berry and Bianca Bradey. Sarah Steger

Guest celebrity judges shine spotlight on region's filmmakers

AN AIR of importance surrounded Australian actor David Berry as he stepped out onto the red carpet at the Capricorn Film Festival this weekend.

Organised chaos. That's what came to mind when observing the hustle and bustle inside the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre today.

It was a busy day.

Cameras flashed, selfies were snapped, handshakes and hugs were exchanged and a line of fans eager to meet the Aussie star snaked down the red carpet all the way to the media wall.

But in amongst the swapping of smiles and squeals of delight was a man more down to earth than one might expect.

Cool and collected, Mr Berry told The Observer he was eager to see the diversity of the films he had come to Gladstone to judge.

"It's always tough to find a winner when judging films," he said.

"In a creative field like this it's not about prizes, but at the end of the day competitions like this are what get people involved in making films in the first place. That's what makes up the film industry.

"But it's the entire process, not the end prize."

Mr Berry is most recognised for his role as James Bligh in the popular Australian Television show A Place To Call Home, for which he was nominated for Most Outstanding Supporting Actor at the 2016 Logie Awards.

And in 2017, Mr Berry's fame grew internationally with his role as Lord John Grey in the acclaimed series Outlander.

When asked how he had landed the guest judging gig at the GECC, Mr Berry said it was his agent who first introduced him to the idea.

"He's from Gladstone, he grew up here and when he asked if I wanted to do it I said 'sure'," he said.

"I would always jump at the chance to work with a filmmaker working on a short film because they're often in a very exciting time in their career.

"There's a different expectation of what a short film is, but it requires the same discipline and set of skills (as longer films)."

Co-celebrity guest judge Bianca Bradey stressed the challenges associated with short filmmaking as well and said she thought they were "the hardest" to make.

"You have such a short amount of time. You're trying to put a whole universe into a condensed micro-world," she said.

Ms Bradey, the breakout star in Wyrmwood, emitted a glamorous vibe as she admitted she had been to many film festivals before, including the Cannes Film Festival.

"But I've never been a judge. There's a lot of pressure when rating other people's films," she said.

"All artists have a voice, they're just all different, so it seems impossible to rank them."



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