Emerging Gooseberry Hill producer up for major awards at Sydney Film Festival


Emerging producer Brooke Silcox of Gooseberry Hill at the Calamunnda Camel Farm in Paulls Valley. Picture: David Baylis d483395
Emerging producer Brooke Silcox of Gooseberry Hill at the Calamunnda Camel Farm in Paulls Valley. Picture: David Baylis d483395

AN emerging producer from Gooseberry Hill will head to the Sydney Film Festival as a triple threat next month with three of the films she helped bring to the big screen up for major awards.

Among the films produced by Brooke Silcox is Judas Collar, the tragic story of a wild camel in the Australian outback who is captured and fitted with a tracking device known as a Judas Collar.

“Up until a few years ago the Federal Government was culling feral camels by fitting female camels with a Judas Collar,” she said.

“These Judas camels would then go into their communities and the device would alert the hunters to where the herd was.

“The hunters would then come along and shoot all of the camels, except for the female camel with the tracking device.

“Being a herd animal this Judas camel would then find another group and the same thing would happen.”

Silcox said filming Judas Collar was incredibly difficult logistically and emotionally.

“We were working in regional WA in the heat during November with eight camels from the Calamunnda Camel Farm,” she said.

“All the while, director Alison James was pregnant with her first child.

“Despite the challenges Alison kept her vision to create this incredibly unique short film with no dialogue and told from the point of view of a female camel.

“It’s such an incredibly sad practice and there are cases of the Judas camels becoming aware they are a traitor and walking alone to save the herd.”

Judas Collar will have its world premiere in Sydney and has been nominated for the Best Australian Live Action Short film.

It was also selected for the prestigious Dendy Awards, which launched the careers of filmmakers Phillip Noyce and Jane Campion.

Silcox said her producing career took off after she secured an internship in 2017 as part of the Screenwest emerging producer initiative.

The internship gave her an opportunity to associate produce Jirga, the story of a former Australian soldier who travels to Afghanistan to seek forgiveness.

Jirga will also have its world premiere at the film festival and is in the running for the festival’s top prize.

“As a result of working on Jirga, I was introduced to Travis Beard, a journalist-turned-documentary filmmaker,” she said.

“He approached me to produce RocKabul, his eight-year-in-the-making documentary on the only metal band in Afghanistan at the height of the war.

“Travis put on the first music festival in 35 years in Afghanistan and nurtured the music scene there.

“All of that came with life threatening risks.”

RocKabul has been nominated for the Best Australian Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival.

Silcox said she hoped to continue contributing to the WA screen industry for years to come.

“The opportunities that have opened up to me have been phenomenal,” she said.

“I truly would not have been able to take advantage of the experiences I have had with these three films without the support Screenwest has given me to progress my career.”

The Sydney Film Festival starts on June 6.

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