PEOPLE POWER: North Lismore residents took to the streets as part of the Rock the Gate protest.
PEOPLE POWER: North Lismore residents took to the streets as part of the Rock the Gate protest.

Were you at Rock the Gate?

A CAST of thousands, a multi-talented crew of dozens, 3500 still images, hours of music, inspired speeches all captured in footage from 11 cameras - mix it all together, spend a few weeks editing it and viola - you have Rock the Gate! the movie.

Director and stills photographer David Lowe said the project showcased the events during the massive anti-CSG protest and concert held in Lismore on May 12.

One of the film's producers and organiser of Rock the Gate, Heather McDiarmid, said David and his dedicated team had worked around the clock (just another way of rocking) since the rally to create the movie.

"From the passion of the music and speakers, to the extraordinary feeling of people power, this production encapsulates our day," Heather told The Echo.

"If you were there, you're probably in the movie!"

The film features performers and activists including Xavier Rudd, OKA, Dubmarine, Luke Vassella, Steady Eddy, Brian Monk, Drew Hutton and S Sorrensen.

"It records a major piece of Northern Rivers history," Heather said, "where 7000 residents walked together in defence of their land and water.

"What happened that day was a unique and important social statement, especially for regional Australia."

Mr Lowe said the idea for a movie grew out of short films he'd made of CSG protests at The Channon and Sydney earlier in the year.

"Rock the Gate organisers put together a team of volunteers with shooting stills, doing interviews, recording sound and some professional filmmakers using time-lapse, digital SLRs and steadicams," he said.

"On the day we had an outside broadcast van with a multi-camera switch and an operator talking to the camera people and calling the shots. At the same time we were recording multi-track audio, so we could do our own mixing later on."

David said the many hours of sound and vision - "a mass of material" - was painstakingly cut back to a two-hour "rough cut".

"Then we invited 25 people to view that and be merciless in cutting anything extra from it," he said.

David said the final cut involved some hard decisions, especially regarding some of the music that had to go.

"But we'll be putting out a DVD after the film that will have all the bits in it we had to leave out of the movie," he said.

"We're currently in discussions aimed at getting permission from the various artists to offer the film to television and film festivals."

David said the music from the Rock the Gate Concert was a highlight of the film, and especially wanted to thank Lismore singer-songwriter Luke Vassella.

"He wrote and performed the amazing song in the trailer, River, and he's also singing Mighty Dollar in the film," he said.

"And Luke will be performing live at the premieres.

"The CSG issue seems to be turning him from a mild-mannered wedding singer into a fire breathing protest inferno!"

Coming to a cinema near you

Rock the Gate is showing at the Star Court Theatre in Lismore on Thursday, August 9 and at the Nimbin Bush Theatre (August 12) and Byron Community Centre (August 15). Tickets available at the venues.

The Lismore event starts with Luke Vassella performing in the Star Court foyer from 6.30pm, with appearances from the Girls Against Gas and Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell.

After its Byron Bay screening, the film will travel through other communities. Funds raised will go to support Lock the Gate and anti-CSG groups.

The trailer of Lock the Gate - The Movie can be seen at: 43886948.

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