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30 years of Hollywood on the Gold Coast

3 Aug

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By Bella Schiwy, Bond University journalism student

Village Roadshow studios on the Gold Coast this month marked 30 years of Hollywood productions, which has included the likes of  Thor: Ragnarok and Aquaman.

Since its conception in 1988 the studio has provided a direct link between Hollywood and Australia by providing services from pre-production to post, as well as nine state-of-the-art sound stages and three water tanks.

Producer and director Chris Fitchett said the celebration of the milestone is also an incredible achievement for an Australian company who started very small.

“The company started with one of the first Australian drive-in cinemas in Melbourne in 1954 and now has many cinemas, waterparks and of course studios,” he said.

“It’s a really good example of a company that grew from simple beginnings.”

Mr Fitchett also said he was in awe of the sheer immensity of the studios facilities when shooting his own film, The Fear of Darkness.

“We were using the ‘small’ studio and I walked in like a little kid and went ‘wow’,” he said.

“It is incredibly convenient as you can really do your whole film there.”

Local film and television student Victoria Hetherington said the milestone is inspiring for students looking to break into the Queensland industry.

“Knowing that the studios here on the coast are able to accommodate these local and international productions is incredibly exciting,” she said.

“Being a film student, you dream of working on these big Hollywood films and having them filming right on your door step is really aspirational.”

The next international production Village Roadshow studios will host is Dora the Explorer.


Gold Coast stars set to ignite Ironman series in Bali

3 Aug

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By Alexandra Britton, Bond University journalism student

The World Ironman Series is set to ignite the sport of Surf Lifesaving when international athletes hit Canggu, Bali in August.

Sixteen of Australia’s best Ironman and Ironwomen will compete against athletes from the USA, Indonesia and Europe.

Ironman Matt Poole said he  hoped it will recreate and redefine the sport of Surf Lifesaving.

“Our sport has been struggling for the last couple of years from the famous Golden era ‘80s, it is now or never,” said Poole.

“We need new ideas to ignite change, we want to recreate and redefine our sport as well as entertaining our audience.”

Poole said when Finns Beach Club approached him and Ironman Matt Bevilacqua they saw an opportunity for Surf Lifesaving.

“To showcase just how amazing our surf sports athletes are to an international audience was the opportunity needed to drive the change we want to see,.” Poole said.

Bevilacqua has been working next to Poole and said if they can achieve what they hope to, they will deliver a great product for the sport of Surf Lifesaving.

“We have some of the best athletes our sport has seen over the last decade,” Bevilacqua said.

“Olympians, national and world champions across many different sports, coming together to put our sport on the world stage.”

Bringing the household names of Zane Holmes and Ky Hurst out of retirement, The World Ironman Series kicks off on August 17-19, Canggu, Bali.

Local musicians make their mark with Spotify audience

3 Aug


By Soleil Ritchie, Bond University journalism student

Up-and-coming local band Savv have hit more than 5000 listeners on Spotify after the release of their new song, Future Forever.

The track has received only positive reviews on Triple J Unearthed because of its synth-driven track and its catchy ‘80s pop melodies.

Savv’s lead vocalist Blair Condon and guitarist Jack Woodman said that the band is stoked with the response to their new song.

“We’re so happy that people outside of the Gold Coast are listening to us,” said Jack.

“It’s a surprise because our last single, Mirror, was mostly played in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.”

The song was created when Blair was studying music production at university.

Since then the song has transformed into what is now from the collaboration of the entire band.

“I wrote lyrics to the song after a big night out,” said Blair.

“It’s really meant to be a reflection of yourself before you get hurt.”

Savv unexpectedly formed in late 2016 when Blair and Jack promised one of their friends to open their show for them.

“The band was never really thought out, but it pushed us to get going,” said Blair.

Savv is a four-piece comprising vocals, guitar, bass guitar and keys.

After recently losing their drummer, Savv now plays with a drum machine which helps capsulate their ‘80s sound.

The band was originally named Savv Blonk but after a couple of months changed it to Savv.

“To be honest we weren’t big fans of the wine jokes,” said Jack.

The band is working on new material and hopes to tour the coast in the near-future.



Art helps heal wounds of sexual assault

3 Aug


By Paris Laurence, Bond University journalism student

A young Gold Coast woman is taking a colourful stand against sexual assault by offering to heal female and male victims through her art.

Artist Mazana Abraham’s exhibition Healing Through Colour features her latest series of artworks on at Reverends Fine Coffee and Bar last week.

The evening was a celebration of colour, with food, drinks and folk singer Sophie Kent setting an angelic atmosphere.

Mazana has always relied on art as a source of comfort and after experiencing trauma and sexual assault this series became her healing and gave her the strength to report the incident to police, she said.

“It was a huge process to create the event but so life changing and so empowering,” said Mazana.

“Passing these artworks along I hope to inspire more light, love and hope, just as these artworks have bespoken on me,” she said.

A multitude of stories have since been shared with Mazana by others who have experienced sexual assault and were inspired to heal through art.

“The evening was fantastic and more then I could have ever imagined; people from all walks of life came, if that was strangers, to people I haven’t seen for years, to family and friends,” said Mazana.

“The evening was wonderful with the venue, food and artist,” said Attendee Julie Noy.

“Congratulations to Mazana, she is so talented.”

Many pieces were sold, commissioned and some will be shipped to the USA next week.

Mazana said she hopes to find a way to incorporate her love for yoga teaching, naturopathy and art to help others.

Free trees for all in bid to boost green of the Gold Coast

3 Aug


By Sierra Haigh, Bond University journalism student

Free trees are being given away in a bid to make Gold Coast residents more environmentally aware.

The city council is aiming to increase environmental awareness by giving away small trees to council-held event-goers as part of their Free Tree Program.

Senior nursery hand Travis Dean said representatives of the council’s nursery are sent to events to encourage locals to become more eco-friendly.

“We go wherever the council wants us to go,” Mr Dean said.

“They might have an event, and we can bring free trees to their event.”

Mr Dean said the council’s nursery staff bring between 2000 to 3000 trees to each event, but there is never enough trees to go around.

“We do try to have enough, but you can never have enough of them,” he said.

“They always go, every time.”

Mr Dean said the council started the Free Tree Program to create awareness for the environment.

“The more trees that go in the ground the better the environment is,” he said.

Gold Coast resident Mikayla De Castro said the program is effective.

“I think it will definitely raise awareness on the issue and hopefully encourage individuals to consider the effects their everyday choices have on the environment,” she said.

“Encouraging people to spread the word and challenge each other to do better for the environment.”

Miss De Castro said it was essential council and residents wored together.

“Change cannot occur without the council creating awareness, but at the same time, it is up to the Gold Coast citizens to spread that awareness and encourage each other to make a difference for the benefit of the environment,” she said.

Half a world away not enough to separate young love

30 Jul



By Paris Laurence, Bond University journalism student

Half way around the world and more than 50,000 kilometres of travel is not enough to separate young love.

Colorado Exchange Student Natalie Huggins chose to study on the Gold Coast for its beautiful beaches and city lifestyle.

“I definitely was not expecting to get into a serious relationship with someone who lives half way across the world,” said Natalie.

“But I am glad I pursued a relationship with someone that I have such a strong connection with, as I do with Michael.”

Natalie met Griffith University student Michael Moore at a Board Riders Party, during her first few weeks in Australia, and felt an immediate connection.

The two then entered a serious relationship, falling head over heels for one another.

There was no hesitation entering a relationship despite knowing Natalie would have to return to America, said Michael.

“When you know, you know,”  he said.

Michael is working full time at Wet ‘n’ Wild while studying to pay for flights to visit Natalie in Colorado over Halloween.

“It is definitely love and we will see where the future takes us as we overcome the difficulty of distance and differing time zones,” said Michael.

Natalie is the application process of transferring to Griffith for the next academic year.

Natalie said the future is looking good and has already begun planning camping trips and activities for when she returns to Australia.

Future of television is in platforms, says Logies panel

27 Jul


By Sierra Haigh, Bond University journalism student

The future of television was the focus of an industry event in the lead up to the 2018 Logie Awards held on the Gold Coast this month.

Six industry members held a panel at The Star Gold Coast, where they discussed inevitable changes to film and television and how new members of the industry would need to adapt.

Screen Queensland’s Chief Executive Officer Tracey Vieira said the future of the Australian broadcast industry lies less in content and more in the platforms in which it is presented.

IMG_6138“It’s not about … making an effort to be a television show for a commercial broadcaster, which is what everyone was trying to do, but rather who’s the audience for that piece of content,” she told the conference.

“What’s the right audience? Because if you’re making something for kids, it’s probably not going to be in those more traditional television stations, because that’s not where kids are watching TV.”

Mrs Vieira said that she and her staff aid new and known screen-writers in getting their content onto the appropriate platforms.

“We had a lot of really intense conversations internally about what were the steps forward and what were the right ways to support practitioners in making the right content for the right audience and how we went about that,” she said.

Mrs Vieira said Screen Queensland runs about 30 initiatives a year to help content gain attention due to the intense competition.

“We did something called First Concepts, which was where we went out wide, and whether you were emerging or whether you were an established practitioner you could apply,” Mrs Vieira said.

“We wanted really big ideas, and so we took those submissions and we had Netflix and Stan both in this room for this initiative, and it was about bringing the market into the room as well.

“What’s really great about that process and having that market in the room is they’re providing input into what their audiences are watching and what they’re engaging with.”

Fellow panelist and Senior Lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology Kevin Sanson said competition is fiercer than ever in areas such as platform and location.

“Hollywood is no longer the default location for large scale productions,” said Mr Sanson.

He also said that there is a lot of platform-based competition due to the different business models of each online platform.

“Hulu, which is Netflix’s biggest domestic competitor in the States … is actually doing a lot of really, really interesting experimentation in the space, both with continuing sort of legacy practices of re-releases as well as full season releases, as well as giving audiences really seamless access to live television,” he said.

“The future of the industry needs to be worried about the working conditions of the industry.”

Surf champ couple ready to take on best in Hawaii

27 Jul

By Alexandra Britton, Bond University journalism student

Reigning Nutri Grain Ironman and Ironwoman Champions Matt Bevilacqua and Brielle Cooper will each be chasing the Molokai2Oahu World Championship title in Hawaii in late July.

Contesting for his fourth World Title, Bevilacqua said he has never felt better leading into the 52km crossing.

“I’m a lot lighter in weight but haven’t sacrificed any strength for that which is good,” said Bevilacqua.

“For the first time in my career for this race, I have been able to train on the same shape board leading into the event which is obviously very helpful.”

Bevilacqua said when he is surrounded by ocean and under his own power the best asset to get through the race is his mind.

“I have always done the work, including this year,” Bevilacqua said.

“I know there is absolutely nothing to worry about as I have simply done everything I possibly can in preparation.

“If I win or if I don’t, I will have no regrets and wouldn’t change a thing.”

Brie Cooper will contend in the women’s category on her maiden voyage from Molokai to Oahu.

“I am excited to take on an unfamiliar challenge but also nervous as it is nothing like I have ever contended before,” Cooper said.

“I know it will test me both mentally and physically.”

The Gold Coast couple have been training side by side for the past 16 weeks.

Bevilacqua said having each other is such an advantage for preparation and competition.

“We figure things out together, working on each other’s weaknesses and modifying our programs,” Bevilacqua said.

“It’s a very individual sport so it’s amazing to be able to share the hard work and the travelling experiences with someone,” Bevilacqua said.

Cooper has set no expectations for her first crossing but said she has done all she can to prepare for the event.

“Training has involved lengthy board paddles, swimming, running, gym and ski padding,” Cooper said.

“I have also had to learn how to control the 18-foot paddleboard, this has been more challenging than I anticipated.”

Cooper said she is excited to simply be a part of the special event that is spoken so highly of.

Traditionally a downwind race due to the prevailing trade winds at this time of year, Bevilacqua said it is the most amazing race he has ever been a part of.

“There’s an instinctual magic to paddling from one island to another,” Bevilacqua said.

The dynamic duo said they are finalising their training and will head to Hawaii, lining up to race on Sunday, July 29.

Coast filmmakers to tell tragic story of child beggars in India

27 Jul

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By Bella Schiwy, Bond University journalism student

A TEAM of Gold Coast filmmakers are hoping to expose the world of child begging in India with the production of their short film ‘Abbu’.

The film narrates the true story of Abbu, a man who was kidnapped, blinded and forced to work in the industry when he was just six years old.

Director and producer Jag Malhi said he encountered Abbu when he was 15 years old and the emotional story of the beggar’s youth touched his heart.

“I asked him what kind of circumstances land someone begging for food every night on the street?” he said.

“He lost him Mum in a crowd and was approached by a stranger who insisted she had allowed him to get the boy some ice-cream.

“The last thing he remembers was eating an ice-cream and he never saw anything again – they blinded him while he was unconscious.”

Mr Malhi hopes that by telling the story can help bring light to the horrific industry which targets young children.

“His childhood was stolen and so was his life,” he said.

“The main goal is to tell his story.”

First assistant director Lara Stewart said her experience interacting with child beggars at a young age fueled her desire to work on the project.

“It’s heartbreaking to think that I’ve had first-hand contact with people affected by this trade and didn’t do more to help,” she said.

“This project is a way of doing as much as I can to expose and eradicate this industry.”

Ms Stewart added she hopes people will see the project and understand the immensity of the industry.

“This story is not a one-off bad luck situation, it happens to hundreds of children every day,” she said.

“This project is not only telling his story, but also the story of the hundreds of thousands of children who have been captured and thrown into the begging industry.”

The Gold Coast team will travel to India later in the year to shoot their short film.

For more information visit their Facebook page.


Sounds of Pink Floyd come alive at Marketta tonight

27 Jul


By Soleil Ritchie, Bond University Journalism Student

Miami Marketta is bringing Pink Floyd to the stage to showcase some of the Gold Coast’s musical talents as they perform the iconic British band’s most timeless pieces.

The tribute night is named after one of Pink Floyd’s most powerful songs, The Great Gig in the Sky, and will feature local bands Sunrose, The Yams, Free the Genie, Space Blister and the Marble Odyssey.

Miami Marketta’s music director Melissa De Regt said that events like this aim to highlight and put value on the musical talent of Gold Coast bands.

“Bands like Sunrose and The Yams are recreating some epic music and it also puts these bands in front of an audience that might not be likely to go to one of their own shows,” said Ms De Regt.

“And being able to experience Pink Floyd by new and young bands keeps the music alive, fresh and relevant.”

Ms De Regt has been music director for over three years and has brought some great bands to the Marketta including The Growlers, Client Liaison, UB40, Ocean Alley, Meg Mac and The Cat Empire.

Miami Marketta’s first tribute night was to David Bowie after his death.

“To see what these bands can do and how their sound was inspired by these amazing past musicians is an incredible thing to experience,” said Ms De Regt.

“I’m really excited for all the bands on the night, its good when you know their sound will all flow together.”

Gigs almost always sell out at Miami Marketta which reflects how much the people of the Gold Coast value music and a place to experience it at.

“This space was just so needed for the Gold Coast,” said Ms De Regt.

“I think back when I went to gigs at that level and I can’t think of too many gigs like Marketta that I went to.”

The Yams is a contemporary three-piece comprising vocals, guitar, bass and drums.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Ondre Davis said they will attempt to bring the melodramatic song ‘Money’ to life.

“Personally, I am super excited to perform Comfortably Numb but as a band we really hope we can do justice to Money,” said Ondre.

“The level of thought that has gone into this song (Money) is timeless.”

The Yams have called on special vocalists and instrumentalist to help out in certain songs throughout the set.

They have been rehearsing every week for the past two months leading up to the event and have all enjoyed learning the different parts on their instruments.

“While learning these songs we have realised how much intricate instrumentation is underneath their lyrics,” said Ondre.

The Great Gig in the Sky is at Miami Marketta at 7pm tonight (July 7).








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