Real Film Festival 2019

15 November – 5 December

The Real Film Festival 2019 begins on 15 November in Newcastle, and will run across Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Port Stephens, closing on 5 December. Showcasing the stories of the region and celebrating its unique identity more than any other film festival, it’s an event not to be missed!


The Star Hotel is now a trendy inner city bar and restaurant, but it has had a shady past! Star Hotel Riot, a short film directed by musician/filmmaker Chit Chat von Loopin Stab of the infamous 1990’s Australian alternative rock band Machine Gun Fellatio and produced by Carnivore Film’s Tony Whittaker, is the first in a series entitled Stories of Our Town, putting Newcastle under the microscope with 12 uniquely Novacastrian stories.

The documentary, being screened at the Real Film Festival launch on Friday 15 November, reaches into the annuals of the 1979 Newcastle Star Hotel riot, and draws out the stories from those who were there that night; the musos, the coppers, the rockstars, the drinkers, the media and journos who captured the passion; pushing Newcastle onto the world stage, for better or worse.

Lake Macquarie:

This year, Lake Macquarie will host Real Film Festival skills building workshops and film screenings of two remarkable stories which have global, national and local significance.

One of the films to be screened on Thursday 21 November at Warners Bay Performing Arts Centre, It’s Time, is a short documentary about local Indigenous leaders navigating the path forward in these unprecedented times of global climactic chaos, motivated by a deep concern for the preservation of unique culture and knowledge. In response to the PhD studies of Uncle Pat Lock on Aboriginal Leadership with the University of Newcastle, Awabakal elders and community gathered for a traditional ‘yarn up’ at the Macquarie Life Church in Cardiff, NSW in March 2019, to discuss and share unique cultural knowledge specifically relating to the water crisis, seismic testing in our oceans and skilful use of fire to manage and care for country. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with film director Bridget Ninness, Awabakal Elders and community.


Maitland Gaol is the one of the region’s premier heritage listed historic sites and will be the atmospheric venue of the Real Film Festival outdoor cinema being held on Friday 29 November. Maitland Gaol is also a highly coveted film location for productions of all scales and is featured in the short film Execution Island being screened prior to the Advanced Screening of extraordinary feature film Sanctuary by Director Kaye Harrison. Real Film Festival Maitland outdoor cinema 6.30 – 8.30pm.

Port Stephens:

Mt Tomaree is the focus of a short film by local filmmaker Lachlan Carney which takes a journey through Tomaree National Park exploring educational messages, intriguing stories and the surreal beauty of the famed location. Tomaree: An Ancient Summit will screen on Saturday 16 November as part of the Real Film Festival Shorts, held in partnership with the University of Newcastle’s Festival X.  After the films, industry panellists; actress Rachael Blake, director David Caesar, producer Scott Hartley and cinematographer Don McAlpine will discuss the films, bringing together their diverse and extensive screen industry expertise to provide feedback to the film makers.

Go to for tickets and more information.