Bentley Blockadem, April 7 2014. Photo: Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star
Bentley Blockadem, April 7 2014. Photo: Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Bentley doco to take centre stage at film festival

THE story of the Bentley Blockade will screen as the centrepiece film at the Byron Bay Film Festivals 10th Closing Gala.

The Bentley Effect, a powerful documentary about the growth of the social movement that blocked the incursion of CSG exploration into the Northern Rivers, will have its world premiere at the Festival.

Made by Alstonville father Brendan Shoebridge, the film is primarily a celebration of the power of ordinary people to stand up to and fight for what they believe is right.

Not just a testimony to their courage and creativity, the documentary also proves an important and necessary historical record.

It's emotionally charged: joyful at times and gutting at others.

The protestors at Glenugie and Doubtful Creek were beaten when police allowed the drill-rig through and when all seemed lost, Mr Shoebridge said.

So the stakes were high at Bentley, but there was no showdown: Metgasco's licences were suspended.

It was the point when the seemingly unbeatable forces were turned around by a greater moral and social power.

"The beauty of the story is that a real threat was combatted by real people in our own backyard," Mr Shoebridge said.

"They were true heroes."

But the film comes with a warning: the Baird government has criminalised protest.

Bentley was a victory but the war continues.

"I wanted to leave the audience inspired, uplifted, but things are so serious we must not become complacent," Mr Shoebridge said.

His film helps to maintain the rage.

The Bentley Effect will screen on Saturday October 22 at 7:30pm as part of the BBFF's Closing night celebrations at the Byron Community Centre.

Tickets available to buy now: