Environmental film “Understorey” to feature at Narooma Kinema

A new film highlighting the past environmental battles to preserve forests in the region and the spectacular wildlife contained in those forests will air at the Narooma Kinema starting next week.

There will be a special question-and-answer session with director David Gallan after the first Narooma screening on Thursday, March 17 starting at 6.30pm. There will be drink and nibbles, so bring a plate!

Understorey traces the environmental movement in a thematic way from the 1970s to the present day on the Far South Coast of NSW. It will remain on show at the Kinema until March 23.

Mr Gallan said the focus of the film was on the South East forests and how people campaigned to protect them.

“The campaign was long and complex, and not all the events reflected the stereotypical scenarios so frequently reported to the metropolitan news networks,” he said.

“Through interviews and wildlife recordings, the film gives viewers an insight into the nature of the forests and what it took to protect them from the intensive logging of the wood chip industry. Using some of the latest infrared camera technology the film captures rarely seen behaviours of local species such as lyrebirds and spotted tail quolls.

“Themes include the value of the forests, indigenous custodianship of the land, impacts of wood chipping, forests as water catchments, wilderness, community engagement, the strategies used by the environmental movement and the personal impacts on various campaigners. For some it was very costly and several put their careers at risk in trying to achieve something for the benefit of everyone.

“There were well known visitors to the SE such as Sting and Bob Brown but the local campaigners did the heavy lifting during the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and into the 21st century. They came from all walks of life: teachers, farmers, scientists, artists, a former forester, students and retirees. There were more people arrested in the South East forests than in any other environmental conflict, confirming that land use issues such as logging were a mainstream political concern.

“At the end of a long campaign a compromise was reached and new national parks established. The film briefly questions what is the best use of state forests once the regional forest agreements terminate (in the context of climate change) and offers the Great Southern Forest concept as an alternative plan.”

The reception was apparently great after a similar screening at Merimbula a few days ago.

Posted on the Understory Facebook page is: “The team at Understory is really heartened by the kind words and positive feedback from those who attended last night. There was a real sense that this is a shared story and that there is a wider forest campaign still active. There are some exciting plans under development for the Great Eastern Ranges incorporating the Great Southern Forest & Kosciusko2Coast - dare we dream of World Heritage Listing?”

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