With red carpets, hungry cameras and overflowing champagne, three new films sponsored by Central Coast Council premiered at the Avoca Beach Theatre for the region’s inaugural film fest, the Coastal Surge Film Festival. Star power was offered by Stephen Hunter – internationally-renowned character actor and star of Peter Jackson’s HOBBIT Trilogy. Hunter travelled to the Coast for the event and offered praise.

“Congrats to all the filmmakers for organising a brilliant festival. And especially to Glenn, Amelia and all the amazing MOTHER TONGUE crew for letting me play in their awesome, crazy wee film! I can’t wait for you all to see it!”

Brainchild of filmmakers Glenn Fraser and Amelia Foxton, the Coastal Surge Film Festival emerged out of a local need. Fraser says, “There are now so many filmmakers who call the Central Coast home. Events like this celebrate what makes its creative community so generous and special.”

Foxton added, “when I was awarded the creative commission by Creative Art Central to make my vision, I was certain that there would be some kind of censorship or control, but each of us had the opportunity to express our ideas honestly and with integrity. And that trust was borne out with the amazing crowd response tonight.”

Experienced documentarians Toni Houston and Sarah Beard premiered their open water opus BOUDDI WILD SWIM. An intimate character study, the immersive imagery hypnotised the local crowd. “Both Toni and I have made films all around the world for the past thirty years, but it was an utter and complete delight to make a film here on the Central Coast, where we live.”

Houston offers. “The variety of films saw a real melting pot converge at the theatre, asking insightful questions, engaging in great conversation. Huge thanks to the wider community filling the cinema with such supportive energy.”

With live music offered by local singer Stella Hannagan and delicious plant-based offerings by Morley’s Recipes, the cinema was packed to the brim over the evening’s five hour running time.

The films’ lives may have begun on the Coast, but the stories are universal. An intimate, magical experience, MUSIC CENTRAL is soaked in the creativity and humanity of the Coast’s burgeoning musical community. Its awarded director Kaye Harrison is excited to share more. “We can announce we will be screening the film to a national audience when it broadcasts on ABC TV in the Compass slot, 23rd of July at 6.30pm.” MOTHER TONGUE has been invited to headline an international festival later this year and the filmmakers are keen that the story lives on.

“The audience fell in love with our misfit characters and want more of them” Foxton laughed. “Ideally, we’d love to see this concept picked up by Stan or the like as a limited run series and even more, we’re confident we could shoot it all right here on the Coast.”

Coastal Surge Film Festival will run again in winter 2024.

photo: MOTHER TONGUE Director Glenn Fraser with actor Chiara Gizzi and writer/actor Amelia Foxton. Photo by Marc Charette