The Benalla Film Festival followed on from a Film Workshop organised by two Benalla locals, Anna Smith and Bernice Vance, in 2013. The Film Making Workshop was held in November that year, and the aim was ‘to provide the youth of Benalla, a taste of independent film making, with the hope to inspire budding young artists who have an interest in film and digital media’.
The workshop was facilitated by two young local brothers (Jake and Sam Bowtell) who are the founders of ‘Killer Pig Productions’. They shared their expertise with participants and guided them on how to write a scene, how to edit, use light and sound and finally how to film.
It was hoped the workshop would inspire them to continue in the field and enter their own short film in the proposed Inaugural 2014 Festival at BPACC and that hope was realised when a number of local entries from students were received for that event.
Anna and Bernice were committee members of the Friends of BPACC and they approached this organisation to assist them and 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. Matt has links with Benalla as his wife comes from the town.
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.