Dear Friend - by arriving here you probably already realise the importance of seeing this film reach its audience. We now have a great film in the can - but we are still desperately short of funds and the invoices are still rolling in. Can you help us raise the remaining $68,000 to get it over the line? It's looking awesome and will be seen as an important piece of Australian cinema history.
The Bentley Effect is a film that captures and celebrates the ‘Eureka Stockade’ of our time and the social movement that led to it.
After drilling fifty wells virtually under the radar, in 2010 the CSG industry arrived unannounced to drill an exploratory well in a peaceful farming community in the Northern Rivers. A group of concerned neighbours investigated and alarm bells rang out across the region as the community’s immune system was triggered. A trickle of environmentalists and local farmers soon grew to a torrent of concerned citizens from all walks of life – and through this unlikely alliance, a broad based social movement was born.
Following a series of increasingly dramatic blockades, the gas industry threw down the gauntlet. They announced plans to commence drilling on a farmland property in Bentley, a peaceful stretch of country, just 12 minutes drive from the city of Lismore. The community’s response has now become the stuff of legends. A cow paddock adjacent to the drill site became home to a highly organised, self-governing tent city – complete with meeting halls, kitchens, cafes, toilets, nurseries and strict codes of non-violent conduct. Labelled by the government as ‘radical extremists’, these people, however, were not your usual suspects. Here at Bentley stood an army of mainly once conservative, every-day Australians uniting with their entire community to fend off the mining threat and protect their land, air and water. The bravest locked themselves onto cement fixtures blocking the way into the site. Each morning they gathered before dawn at ‘Gate A’ to rally together, set themselves to the tasks of the day and sing the songs that would become their protest anthems. High-profile musicians gave regular pop-up concerts to the delight of the 'Protectors'. The industry and its political supporters rallied too with reports of a steadily growing police force with orders to break up the blockade. The stage was set and eventually over 850 riot police with horses were on standby in Sydney, with orders to remove the protectors.
Told through the eyes of the protectors over a five-year period, this now famous standoff at Bentley forces us to ask the question
- what is truly valuable?
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
“The Bentley Effect is about the fight we all face for a safe, clean future. It is therefore a story that simply must be told.” Brendan Shoebridge, Director.
With the world in the grip of fossil fuel madness, it is clear humanity has reached a crucial junction. As we race toward a number of tipping points, our lives are changing in ways we’ve never seen, to a degree we are not prepared for, and at speeds we’ve never experienced. We have drifted off the edge of our cultural map and are now forced to question - what is truly important to us?
So how will humanity respond through this intense process? If our future is indeed set to become a fight for survival then what this film shows us is that community and altruism are the keys to our resilience. The Bentley Effect will throw new light on these issues by using the powerful social movement against unconventional gas and invasive mining as its vehicle.
With financial aid this project can be far-reaching and highly successful. For anyone who values community, democratic process and environmental responsibility, this is a philanthropic project worth supporting.
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
When our best food bowls, our water security (including Sydney’s water catchment area) and our iconic national treasures such as Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef are under threat from large multinational resource companies it is clear that an in-depth conversation in the public arena is well overdue. The Bentley Effect aims to be a fresh new conversation starter. After following the build up to the Bentley Blockade from its early beginnings in 2011, we are now privileged with the ability to tell an incredible story of love and courage. With many viewers already in overwhelm, our goal is to inform and entertain in order to spread awareness of this all important issue. The project's impact will be measured by viewer numbers, global reach, online activity, conversations in supermarket aisles, ticket/DVD sales, online engagement and subsequent debate. With so much hanging delicately in the balance it is ultimately unity, altruism and our connection to all we hold dear that we see emerging as the key ingredients to this timely story of hope and inspiration.
What is your education and outreach strategy?
The first goal of this project is to document and showcase one of the biggest social movements of our time. It is vitally important that we share our success stories and record these historic moments. If we can get this tale to a 'big screen' audience it will inspire and educate audiences across the globe. Through endless submission writing and passionate campaigning, the Government’s ‘repressive tolerance’ tactics seemed to backfire and instead turned Northern Rivers 'protectors' into one of the best informed group of campaigners in recent history. As a result, after following the movement over its 4-5 year development, we have amassed a wealth of information and have a complete history of speeches, interviews and research that will be available via a web-based archive. So once we have delivered a compelling feature documentary we then have a perfect platform to share this information and elevate the conversation around invasive mining and sustainable futures to where it needs to be. With adequate funding this project could deliver a comprehensive online portal that will showcase expert presentations, short films, online tuition, training DVDs, study guides and teachers notes. It would serve as a ‘one stop shop’ for interested audiences worldwide and enable the public to get up to speed with the latest information very quickly.