John and Relvy Teasdale were farmers in the Wimmera region of north-western Victoria. Over more than fifty years they created a rich and evocative filmic record of working and community life in their particular dry-land farming district of Rupanyup. For John and Relvy, farming and film-making were an inter-related devotional practice.
Upon his death ten years ago, John Teasdale left a cupboard full of films that reveal and evoke a rich and nourishing terrain. Spanning five decades from the late 1930s to the late 1980s, the Teasdale films offer views into the psychological, social and economic complexities of a wondrous and sophisticated rural world that on the one hand seems to be disappearing but on the other continues to sustain, adapt and recreate itself. 'The Farmer's Cinematheque' exhumes the Teasdale films from the archive and explores their resonance in the context of a world rapidly changing but connected still to a profound legacy of ideas, desires and rituals.
Set against contemporary footage and embellished with story-telling from members of the Teasdale family and the Wimmera community, the film stimulates thinking about the power of memory and the nature of our attachment to particular country, drawing parallels between Indigenous and settler modes of country-keeping and providing elements of revelation and affirmation about rural life. A meditation on the power of country and also a demonstration, quite literally, of the power of film, Combining sequences from the archive with contemporary footage and voices 'The Farmer's Cinematheque' teases out important questions about our custodianship of places and communities in the context of a rapidly changing global environment. It is a lyrical film about the power of memory, the nature of our attachment to country and the ways in which communities strive to balance change and tradition.
‘The Farmer’s Cinematheque’ has its own website, where you can get a sneak peek at the film trailer. The film is a Reckless Eye Production, written and directed by Malcolm McKinnon and Ross Gibson, with cinematography by Ben Speth, produced by Annie Venables, and music by Chris Abrahams.
The world premiere will be at the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival, on 19th October, and importantly its local screening is a free event on 1st November, in Natimuk, part of the Nati Frinj Biennale.
The Nati Frinj Festival is a bi-annual event with an eclectic mix of programs and performances (one of the most notable has been the pictures and lights projected onto the exterior walls of Natimuk’s railway grain silos).