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:: Big Dreamers

Australians sure do love big things. New South Wales has the Big Banana; Victoria the Big Koala; South Australia the Big Lobster; and so it goes as a small town follows the same formula in the light hearted Australian documentary “Big Dreamers”.

Said town is Tully, located in Far North Queensland. Besides being the wettest town in Australia, it was also a prosperous sugar producing town until Brazil dumped its sugar stockpile on the market, which in turn dropped sugar prices and left Tully facing bankruptcy. Desperately in need of an idea to draw tourist dollars to Tully, tenacious town elder Ron Hunt proposes that the town commissions the construction of the World's Biggest Gumboot in honour of Tully’s record breaking annual rainfall record of 7900mm set in 1950. Hunt’s idea is given the great light, and subsequently hires famous out of town artist Bryan Newell to design and sculpt the gumboot. Yet the project is met with various obstacles such as an engineering fault, numerous communication breakdowns, artistic differences with local artist Roger Chandler and (of course) rain.

“Big Dreamers” is a quintessential Australian film which focuses on a small town struggling for survival. Director Camille Hardman does a fine job capturing the spirit of small town Australia, and should be applauded for truly documenting and not exploiting the town’s hardships or their eccentricities. It is not mentioned in the film, but Tully is the UFO headquarters of Australia, a fact which other filmmakers would have used to their advantage to paint the people of Tully as quirky, paranoid rednecks who happen to be constructing a giant boot. Yet Hardman does no such thing, keeping her camera squarely on the townspeople and the men behind their new attraction as a pipedream becomes a reality. Supposedly tourism is on the rise since the unveiling of The Golden Gumboot. Hopefully this movie will increase those numbers.

The DVD is also now officially released.