A week earlier I was lucky enough to attend the Bryon Bay Film Festival at Brunswick Heads to review the new documentary The Go-Betweens: Right Here. The following Saturday I was able to attend again to see the Young Australian Filmmaker program in Byron Bay itself. We parked on the beach and got caught in the rain on our way to the Bryon Community Centre arriving a little soaked. There were ten short films all made by a group of talented young people vying for the Young Australian Filmmaker Award. You can read more of my thoughts on the films here

Afterwards it was arranged for me to talk to the director, Cody Cameron-Brown of one short Watchdog. This was an informal chat rather than an interview, nothing was recorded and I simply asked Cody about things that occurred to me after watching his work. Watchdog was inspired by the story of the late Don Ritchie, OAM the hero of The Gap. Image result for don ritchieA man who rescued hundreds of people from suicide over the course of several decades. Speaking to Cody two things became apparent, this is a remarkably talented and insightful artist. Secondly he had done his research about the subject matter and it showed. He had sought out the Ritchie family and their trust in sharing some of Don’s story was not misplaced. While the film is more inspired by Don’s example than telling his exact story the young filmmaker appears to have been driven to honour the man’s legacy and their trust and he has.

It was great to talk to Cody and to see all the films from such promising young talent.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. It is the last two where I’ve been fortunate enough to do some coverage of which I’m very grateful.

-Lloyd Marken


    1. I can’t tell about the last few but the first one is the Order of Australia Medal which was awarded for his work saving lives at the Gap over countless years. This is followed by ones you will recognise from World War II including the Pacific Star. All designed by King George VI. One you may not recognise is the World War II Australian Service Medal. This was similar to the General Defence Medal awarded to British personnel. The last two medals I could not tell you nor the state based medal worn on his other breast but suspect it would be for his community service. Don Ritchie, OAM served in the Royal Australian Navy onboard HMAS Hobart which went through quite a bit. After the war he worked in insurance. A remarkable man who has been honoured well by this young filmmaker.

    2. Just need to add the third from the right is the Australian Service Medal 1945-1975. Probably reflecting service in the war immediately after the cessation of hostilities in Japan or the Far East reserve. Don’t quote me on this but I believe HMAS Hobart was present in Tokyo Bay during the surrender of Japan and remained as part of the occupying force for some time after. Most likely the clasp therefore reads BCOF.

    3. Of course medals are just just medals. They do reflect the deeds of the man and his service but is the deeds that should be honoured, it is the deeds that are impressive. Beetley Pete has a 1 medal for his ambulance service. Something he should wear with pride but how many lives saved does that one medal reflect? That’s the real measure.

  1. Lloyd, Great coincidence. My daughter is at Monash Uni and today she finished filming her first short. She wrote the script and did all the production and another girl did the camera work. I have sent her the link to this post. Thanks.

    1. That’s very kind Paol. Congratulations on her finishing her first short. It’s quite an achievement and she’ll have that for the rest of her life. Good luck to her in the dustry.

    1. Well allow me to thank you for your kind words Michelle. Cody has made an impressive short film and I wish him a long and fruitful career. It was a pleasure to talk to him and look forward to doing so again one day. Thank you for reading.

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