An image from Brendan Shoebridge's film The Bentley Effect (2016).
An image from Brendan Shoebridge's film The Bentley Effect (2016). RJ Poole

The Bentley Effect: A document of our history

FILM MAKER Brendan Shoebridge attended an anti-CSG Rally in March 2011 in Lismore and when he realised there was no camera shooting the event, he grabbed his camera and started filming.

"I didn't know much about the topic so I thought I'd go and find out a bit more but I was amazed to see that no one was filming it" he said.

"I grabbed my camera and soon realised I was getting some pretty valuable footage."

That was the start of a five-year project capturing the highlights of the anti-CSG movement in Northern NSW in a film called The Bentley Effect.

The local film maker and Lismore native said he decided to then 'bare witness' with his camera.

Shoebridge never imagined he would end up with 48 Terabites of footage, countless hours of images and audio, trimmed down into the final version of only 85 minutes.

The film became the story of the Northern Rivers 'protectors' and a compelling record of public events once the director realised that the industry and its supporters were reluctant to go on camera.

He also directed and edited Fractured Country - An Unconventional Invasion, a documentary done for the Lock the Gate Alliance, but he decided to put The Bentley Effect together after the NSW Government suspended Metgasco's gas exploration licence at the Rosella site, near Bentley, in 2014.


The film follows the story of the social movement that grew in response to unconventional gas mining and it concludes with the final showdown between 'protectors' and the gas industry.

"At Bentley, an unprecedented community action took place. What we had there was a rare and previous win over big business and corporate greed. As soon as it finished, I knew it was time to tell the story," he said.

"I think I gave myself five days off after the Bentley suspension and it's been a full time job ever since," he said.

The Bentley Effect team have so far raised more than $84,000 between crowd funding, and philanthropic donation through the Documentary Australia Foundation to complete the project but this is a shoe string budget for documentary feature films.

Brendan and his team worked day and night to have the film finished for a world premiere this month in Byron Bay, followed by an official launch in Lismore.

"The Byron Bay International Film Festival is the perfect place to premiere the film and it's a great honour to be chosen as the closing night film"

Mr Shoebridge said he is working out further local screenings of the film.

"We have an Official Launch at the Lismore Star Court Theatre, then a special screening in Nimbin, hosted by the Nimbin Environment Centre, and we are about to organise a big roll out with screenings in Kyogle, Ballina, Lennox Heads, Murwillumbah, Grafton and beyond."

The film maker said the film will bring back very emotional memories for much of the local audience.

"Judging by the screenings we've had so far, the film is likely be an emotional roller-coaster for many people. I have looked at audiences after the credits roll and seen lots of watery eyes but big smiling faces, so I think audiences have to prepare themselves for a fairly emotional ride but overall it's a celebration of a massive community win and a really inspiring journey."