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The Reelgood Film Festival

“In 2012 I needed to do an internship for my final year of uni, and I couldn’t be bothered organising anything,” says John Roebuck, the founder of
The ReelGood Film Festival. “I went round to my mate’s place and basically hung out and drank beers every Friday and said it was this thing, ReelGood.”

From such humble beginnings the website reelgood.com.au began, focusing on film reviews, articles, podcasts and interviews. It wasn’t long before Roebuck decided to branch out through the inaugural ReelGood Film Festival in 2014, held in the now gutted Paterson Building on Smith Street, Collingwood.
 
“It was meant to be a fundraiser for the website where we were going to showcase ten films. In the first couple of years I was just glad to have my friends come along. Everyone seemed to like it and it’s gotten better every year,” says Roebuck.
 
Now in its fourth year, the ReelGood Film Festival has found a new home in Collingwood’s Schoolhouse Studios and has managed to strike a balance between its relaxed beginnings and a slightly more ordered event befitting the calibre of films on show.
 
Taking place over two days, the festival encompasses over 40 films of 20-minute durations, with two separate cinema screens. As opposed to many larger film festivals, ReelGood is about creating a fun atmosphere that avoids any snobbery and caters to those who may not normally be likely to find such events appealing.
 
“People come along who might normally be daunted by the idea of a film festival. We want it to be fun and inclusive, but not jeopardise the importance of the films,” says Roebuck. “The way the day is put together is a big part of it as there’s a bar, there’s installations and it appeals to more than just ‘film people’. People tend to see more, because they know even if it’s not really their thing it’s only 20 minutes until the next beer. It’s something new, but it also appeals to people who like film festivals as well. There’s a real community feel to the day, which is a lot of fun.”
 
While many other festivals have strict criteria about the material that they showcase, ReelGood’s selection is based solely on quality. “Essentially the theme is variety,” says Roebuck. “This year we’ve got a zombie movie, a relationship drama, and some comedies.”
 
Roebuck is passionate about supporting independent Australian filmmakers and sees the festival as a way to help showcase and nurture local talent. “I wanted to do something that’s different and at the same time something that is going to be supporting the filmmakers,” says Roebuck. “The better the festival, the bigger help we can be to the filmmakers.”
 
Besides unearthing talent, one of the other ways the festival helps the careers of its featured directors is through its three awards categories - Best Short Film, Most Exciting Talent, and the Audience Choice Award. “Ted Wilson, who won both Best Short Film and the Audience Choice last year is now making a feature film,” says Roebuck. “Jordan Prosser won the Most Exciting Talent and is now working in England, and Sam Rogers also won Most Exciting Talent a few years ago and is making a film in Berlin.”
 
Several of these winning films from past festivals will also be on display this year in some of the ‘silent cinemas’, which are installed around Schoolhouse Studios.
 
“They’re small areas that people can go to and chill out and not talk to anyone for a bit,” says Roebuck. “They’re big days and it can be a bit hectic, so there are small spaces with screens and headphones that people can sit and watch some films without having to be around a lot of people.”
 
By Alex Watts

The ReelGood Film Festival will take place on Friday March 3 and Saturday March 4 at Schoolhouse Studios, 81 Rupert Street, Collingwood. Tickets available online.