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REVIEW: Rise Fly Fishing Film Festival

Fishing World last night attended the much anticipated Rise Fly Fishing Film Festival 2010 in Sydney.

Once again the festival – the brainchild of passionate film maker and fly fisher Nick Reygaert – brought home how rare and fantastic it is to experience quality fishing films on the big screen. Last night’s venue was aptly the art deco style Chauvel Cinema in Paddington. 

The first screened film was an American short, Off The Grid, that featured sublime river fly fishing for big steelhead rainbows, shot during a blizzard. The fast-paced entertaining footage showed plenty of big steelheads caught and released and grabs of frozen rod runners and fly lines, icy river banks and landing nets that captured the realism of the harsh conditions. As the snow fell one of the young “trout bums” featured in the film seemed genuinely surprised to be one of the few fishing the river (despite the obvious freezing conditions..) You don’t have to be mad to be a fly fisherman but it helps….

Aussie movie Heads or Tails, a production by Mad Phil Media, was the second film screened on the night. Shot in north-western Australia Heads or Tails follows a couple of permit obesessed fly fishos as they pursue their elusive quarry along sections of WA coast near Broome. Reminiscent of Running down the man, an excellent American roosterfish-on-fly feature from the festival a few years back, Heads or Tails portrays all the thrill and frustration of fly fishing for one of Australia’s most recently “discovered” prestigous sportfish. The film’s pace ups the ante as the stars of the film appear, tails pointing to the sky and all a dark mass as they descend over rocky outcrops close to shore. Their pursuants run after them or cast frantically from shore, or from a tinny, before a fleeting chance at fly fishing glory is missed. The film is complemented with a rocking soundtrack featuring acclaimed Aussie bands such as COG. Entertaining and highly recommended – see trailer below.    

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Gin-Clear Media’s The Source – New Zealand – the second in the acclaimed The Source series – is the feature movie of the festival. Nick Reygaert has taken up where he left off with last year’s The Source – Tasmania to produce a magnificent on-screen feature fitting of the subject matter. To say some of the footage is stunning is underselling it. And anyone who’s tried their hand at video taping with the trusty handicam will appreciate the effort that has obviously been made in getting The Source – New Zealand to final cut stage. It’s a rich recipe of stunning NZ river landscapes shot from all possible (and seemingly impossible) angles and views mixed with memorable fishing for monster trout, interspersed with slow-motion sequences capturing the thrill of the stalk and the ultimate release, all woven over a fitting soundtrack showcasing bands such as the Celibate Rifles. If this film isn’t a great advertisement for NZ back country fly fishing nothing is…

Reygaert said before the screening that he’d kept the movie to an hour, cutting endless scenes of double figure trout captures and quality footage that might otherwise have been far too valuable to cull. It shows in the end result which has a good mix of the final outcome and the getting there, first. For mine, the closing jet boat sequence and another portraying the short life cycle of large terrestrial insects in big trout country were memorable. Another fine effort from a talented film maker.

The night closed with a trailer of The Source – Iceland the planned feature of the 2011 festival. Stunning vistas are again a highlight of the next Source feature, those of south Island New Zealand replaced by landscapes of a country famously known for singer Bjork and more recently a volcanic smokescreen that closed airports across Europe. The skies are clear here though, the scenery not too dissimilar to the preceding feature, but the fish are. Brown trout and crimson cheeked rainbows replaced by sleek silver Atlantic salmon. The Source – Iceland looks to be a fitting follow up to the first two in the series. 

Remaining festival locations and dates:

* Bowral 27 July

* Canberra 29 July

* Albury 30 July

* West Melbourne 2 August

* Melbourne 3 August

* Geelong Show TBC

* Ballarat 7 August

* Launceston 9 August

* Hobart 11 August

* Burnie 12 August

* Perth 16 August

* Darwin TBC

For more details on venue locations and screening times go to: www.gin-clear.com

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