The Benalla Film Festival followed on from a Film Workshop organised by two locals, Anna Smith and Bernice Vance, in 2013.
It was hoped the workshop would inspire young film makers to continue in the field and enter their own short film in the proposed Inaugural 2014 Festival at BPACC .
Anna and Bernice were committee members of the Friends of BPACC and they approached this organisation to assist them and to sponsor the Short Film Festival. The Inaugural Benalla Festival saw 10 entries included in the screening in 2014, with Australian Actor, Mr. Tom Burlinson officially opening the evening via a video presentation. He wished the festival well and apologised for not being there in person, but other commitments had precluded that.
Support came from many in the Film/TV industry with Matt Preston from Master Chef wishing Anna and Bernice all the best with their venture and apologised for not being present as other commitments prevented that from happening.
Unforeseen circumstances prevented the 2015 Festival from being run, but it was only put on hold until 2016. This Festival saw 15 films accepted and screened, with the Friends of BPACC again the main sponsors. Local students entered films again and many business houses within the township added their support to the Benalla Film Festival and a very successful event was held.
The 2017 event saw some 420 films entered with 19 screened and we were honoured to have John Orcsik (Cop Shop and so many more) and Tom Long (Sea Change and the Dish) as judges. John attended the screenings and presented the prizes.
Tom Long has retired from our Judging panel (2019) and we thank him for his excellent assistance over the years. Tom was born in the United States as his Australian parents were there at the time, and on their return to Australia he grew up on a farm near Benalla. Tom needs no introduction as he has appeared in several Australian TV series and films, (Sea Change, Young Lions, Two Hands, The Dish, The Postcard Bandit, The Book of Revelation, Woodley and East of Everything. Tom is still busy writing.