Raymond Terrace home to first Port Stephens Story Tellers Festival and Real Film Festival screening

Sisters Judy West and Margaret Beaven. A short film starring Ms Beaven, a Worimi elder, will screen as part of the Port Stephens Special Film Screening in Raymond Terrace on October 27.
Sisters Judy West and Margaret Beaven. A short film starring Ms Beaven, a Worimi elder, will screen as part of the Port Stephens Special Film Screening in Raymond Terrace on October 27.

Writers, poets, artists, filmmakers and photographers will share their skills and showcase their work as part of the new Port Stephens festival focused on story telling.

The Story Tellers Festival will be held in Raymond Terrace between October 24 and 28 and will incorporate a number of events including film screenings, a photography exhibition, workshops and open mic poetry.

“This is an opportunity for the creative community of Port Stephens to come together and showcase the stories we have collectively amassed, as well as learn new skills and make connections for future projects,” festival organiser Michelle Wright said.

A highlight of the Story Tellers Festival will be the inaugural Port Stephens Special Film Screening.

The screening, featuring five independent films, is an initiative of the typically Newcastle-based Real Film Festival which has for the first year expanded to include regional destinations such as Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens.

Real Film Festival director Annette Hubber said expanding to Port Stephens this year had not been a difficult choice to make.

“The idea is to grow the festival into the different local government areas throughout the Hunter,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot of people from Port Stephens in the past attend the festival. We just thought that we have so much interest from Port Stephens so that this year it was time to branch out and run a screening.

“Next year we’re looking at doing a week of events which will include workshops and film screenings and Q and A sessions. We’re hoping really to grow in the Port Stephens area.”

The Port Stephens Special Film Screening will be held at Scotty’s Cinema Centre in Raymond Terrace from 5pm on Saturday, October 27.

It includes three Indigenous and two Port Stephens specific short films including one, I walk, I Run, I Drum, that showcases the beauty of the region and another that explores the Williamtown red zone.

One of the films, Aunty Margo, follows Worimi elder Margaret Beaven.

Set in Karuah, where she was raised, Ms Beaven recites a poem about growing up as a part of the Stolen Generation, her journey into adulthood and reconnecting with her siblings. 

A five minute documentary, Beyond the Red Zone, has been included in the Raymond Terrace screening.

The short film delves into the injustices suffered by the community living within the PFAS contamination zone.

The screening finishes with Angel’s Gather Here, a feature film by Ian Hamilton about a young girl’s difficult journey to her hometown of Brewarrina. 

Angel’s Gather Here is a film we screened in Newcastle last year and the cinema sold out,” Ms Hubber said.

“We’ve had a lot of people since then come through and ask if they can see it again. I asked to screen it in Port Stephens because that’s where a lot of the interest came from last year.”

A question and answer session with filmmakers and leading actors will follow the screening.

Other events to be held as part of the Story Tellers Festival include poetry and comedy at Lakeside Tavern (to be emceed by councillor Paul Le Mottee), a photography exhibition at Raymond Terrace Library by Jaqueline Tucker, a youth story night and a story tellers market.

The market will be held at the Old Rectory in Jacaranda Street, Raymond Terrace from 9am on October 27.

It will include workshops on cartooning, song writing, poetry and short stories.

Port Stephens Council has supported the festival with a $1800 grant through the cultural projects fund.

Mayor Ryan Palmer said it is exciting to have a new festival in town.

“Storytelling is all about sharing who we are both individually and as a community, so it’s really important to have an opportunity to do that right here in Raymond Terrace,” he said.

“Port Stephens Council is proud to support this event through our cultural projects fund, which is used to promote arts and culture in our community. I’d encourage everyone to come along to one or all of the events and get involved.”

The Story Tellers Festival program:

Wednesday, October 24

6pm-8pm: Poetry and Comedy at the Pub, Lakeside Tavern courtyard. Registrations to take part are open now. Email: storytellersrtnsw@outlook.com.

Thursday, October 25

Photography exhibition by Jaqueline Tucker, Raymond Terrace Library. More on the exhibition here.

Friday, October 26

Youth stories and school persuasive speech at the Senior Citizens Hall, Boomerang Park.

Saturday, October 27

9am-3pm: Story Tellers Market including workshops on cartooning, song writing, poetry and short stories at the Old Rectory, Jacaranda Street

5pm: Real Film Festival’s Port Stephens Special Film Screening, Scotty’s Cinema Centre. Buy tickets here

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