Tilbury’s VERY Personal Picks

By April 27, 2021News

Hi, I’m Owen Tilbury. As BOFA’s Festival Director I get to focus on funding, volunteers, logistics and other glamorous stuff. Helen Tilbury, as Program Director, does an amazing job of finding and choosing all the films that we are screening in-cinema and online.

So, with just a few days before we kick off on Friday 30th April and you are choosing what to go see, I’d like to share with you – indulge me – MY very personal picks.


Who doesn’t love a dreamer? Helen and my first dreamy business venture was the restoration of a semi-derelict 1830s coaching inn in Deloraine into a colonial style eating house. Deloraine was a haven for “alternatives” who were following their dreams, so Meet the Wallers brought back memories of many dreamy artists with a partner with a proper job. Nicole’s terse “Feast.. famine, feast.. famine. I’m over it” came right from that experience. See it. You must know a couple like them.


Speaking of Deloraine The Hunter was shot in that area and was partly funded by Screen Tasmania. Kim and Kieran Booth, who were leading local Greens, helped find some of the hero locations for the film! The Hunter is tough guy Willem Dafoe and the ubiquitous Sam Neill, who joined us at BOFA 2019, plays a major role. Even if you’ve seen The Hunter see it again – it’s aged well like one of my favourite red wines!


Segueing again, if you love wine – and who doesn’t – Three Days of Glory has everything to recommend it as an insight to Burgundy and the challenges of wine making. We have an expert panel of local winemakers for a post film Q & A – plus a wine tasting of top Tasmanian wines after both Launceston and Hobart screenings. See you there!


As a wanderer in my youth I almost drowned while caught in a whirlpool on the raging Orange River in South Africa, strapped on crampons for a transalpine crossing at Copeland Pass, NZ, after a night where 4 mountaineers died on neighbouring Mt Cook, and travelled rough for 5 months around India in the 1970’s. So, Hillary: Ocean to Sky is a top pick for me. If you are a traveller and love exotic places don’t miss this wonderful film.


I grew up with dogs. Our kelpie in rural NSW used to cause consternation by following bridal couples down the aisle and our loyal Labrador, Lance, was a loved companion as our kids grew up. Stray is for dog lovers. Shot from the level of a dog’s eye view it gives you a most novel perspective on the ever-fascinating Istanbul.


Having spent a month in the other-world Rift Valley of Ethiopia in the 70’s I can relate to the young man who is sent to the far Himalayas of Bhutan to teach kids where there is no electricity and heat comes from dried Yak-poo, hence the need for his very own resident Yak. This sweet, beautiful and inspiring film is the perfect way to finish your BOFA 2021 in-cinema viewing. I’ll certainly be there. Come up and share your stories with me. I might have a few to tell you as well!


Someone recently said that being born in Australia is like winning the lottery. Well, in these crazy times living in island-isolated Tasmania is like winning the grand jackpot.

BOFA 2021 has gone to extreme lengths to tick all the boxes to be a Covid Safe event and Village Cinemas in Tasmania have just been granted the right to go back to 100% capacity in light of the low risks in their Tasmanian cinemas.

So, yes, stay socially distanced but rest assured that this festival will be as safe a place as you can find to get out, watch great films from around the world and have meaningful conversations with friends – and strangers – just like in the good old days before we even knew what Covid-19 meant!

See you soon, I hope