In May 1973, 10,000 artists, activists, hippies, radical students, gurus and visionaries descended on a small dairy town for 10 days of social and cultural exploration that changed a generation. Those 10 days birthed an irrepressible movement that may have been the much-needed blueprint for sustainable change.
When thousands of young people travelled the back roads of Northern New South Wales 50 years ago to camp and explore a new way of living at Nimbin Aquarius Festival something unexpected happened amongst all the bliss, drugs and dram. Through extensive collaboration and hours of precious newly-uncovered footage, the film directs our gaze to the Festival – its inception and its aftermath – and examines the power of that one event to continue to shape history. Aquarius is about the constant struggle between the establishment and the alternative, between community and the individual. And Aquarius is a film about the people and the power of change, of unintended consequences and the radical wisdom that reaches down through generations today.
Wendy Champagne is a writer and filmmaker based in Byron Bay, Australia. Starting as a freelance radio and print correspondent in South-East Asia and ending up as an author and documentary filmmaker her writing and filmmaking tackle difficult and disparate subjects looking for the points of connection, the threads of our shared human experience.
Her films have been viewed and awarded internationally and revolve around themes of exile and belonging, justice and redemption, gender and spirituality. Among others, Women of the Earth was an ode to Indigenous women elders, Taxi followed the lives and fortunes of immigrant taxi drivers at a Montreal Taxi School and Love Under Cuban Skies explored the blurred lines between love and sex tourism for women visiting Cuba and Bas! followed a young sex traffic victim as she returns to the Mumbai determined to bring her trafficker to justice.
Her writing has appeared in magazines, newspapers, books and TV series in Australia and around the globe. In 2015 she returned to Australia and the Northern Rivers and took time out from her film career to focus on bringing up her young daughter.
Oren Siedler has written and directed documentaries and short films broadcast on ABC, NITV, Nat Geo and Discovery Channels and on numerous international broadcasters including USA, Ireland, Finland, Canada, Israel and Germany.
Oren’s feature documentary Bruce & Me, a Canadian/Australian official co-production, had its world premiere at IDFA and has aired on the ABC, the Sundance channel, as well as a host of international broadcasters and film festivals.
Oren’s memoir of the same title, Bruce & Me, was published by Random House in 2009 to wide acclaim.
Oren’s most recent film work involves a series of privately funded eco-philanthropic projects set in the ‘Big Scrub’ region of Northern NSW.
Born in New York City, Oren immigrated to Australia in 1976 with her alternative parents who settled in the ‘rainbow region’ of the far north coast of NSW.
In addition to writing and directing, Oren plays violin in a classical string ensemble. She lives in the hinterland of Byron Bay with her partner and two children.