The Dressmaker to light up Quambatook

SILO SCREEN: A film that drew Hollywood stars to regional Victoria is set to attract a crowd to Quambatook, a town in the Mallee with a population of about 200.
SILO SCREEN: A film that drew Hollywood stars to regional Victoria is set to attract a crowd to Quambatook, a town in the Mallee with a population of about 200.

You’ve heard of the silver screen, but what about the silo screen?

The population of a small town in the Mallee is set to swell on Saturday, as The Dressmaker is projected onto the area’s silos. 

Quambatook Silo Cinema organiser Laura O’Dwyer said the screening had attracted bookings at the town’s caravan park, and dinner patrons at the Quambatook Hotel. 

“Movies cost a fair bit of money to get a licence for screening and we are hoping to get a good crowd in order to break even,” she said. 

“We will be having a prize for best dressed, so patrons are welcome to frock up.”

Scenes of The Dressmaker were shot in the Victorian region neighbouring the Mallee, the Wimmera.

Ms O’Dwyer said a silo screen seemed fitting for a film that features silos.

Those which starred in the film can be found in the Wimmera town of Jung, about two hours from Quambatook.

The Dressmaker is based on the novel of the same name, by Rosalie Ham, and is set in early 1950s Australia.

Stars include Kate Winslet, Hugo Weaving, Liam Hemsworth and Judy Davis. 

Themes of fashion, family, murder and malice propel the plot. 

A 5500 Lumens projector, purchased by the Quambatook Community Development Association last year, will be used to project the film onto Quambatook’s silos on Saturday. 

Ms O’Dwyer, also the development association’s treasurer, said The Dressmaker was the group’s third screening.

“We screened the Labyrinth in April 2016 and the Rocky Horror Picture Show for Halloween last year,” she said.

Fifty people attended Labyrinth, while 15 people watched Rocky Horror.

“We are thankful to the Gannawarra Shire for assisting us with hiring a professional sound engineer so that the cinema, while being in the country, looks spectacular and sounds awesome,” Ms O’Dwyer said. 

Quambatook – or Quamby, as the locals seem to call it – is about an hour and 45 minutes from Bendigo via Boort and has a population of about 200 people.

Ms O’Dwyer said the town was famous for being the home of the Australian tractor pull championships and the childhood homes of Molly Meldrum and singer-songwriter John Williamson.

“The silo cinema idea came about after an artist-in-residence program run by Gannawarra Shire and Regional Arts Victoria placed artist Dave Houston in Quambatook a few years ago,” she said.

“For Dave’s project he interviewed a number of people around town about our art and hobbies, which resulted in a short film that he screened on our old concrete silos.

“We thought it was fantastic and surprisingly clear, and so the idea was born.”

The Dressmaker starts at 8.30pm on Saturday, February 18. Tickets are $10 per adult and $5 for students and pensioners. 

Organisers have advised patrons to bring their own chairs, drinks and food.