... for the death of an oyster can reveal environmental changes or pollution that might have gone unnoticed.
- Kim beamish, filmmaker.
Oyster is a feature length documentary capturing the daily routines, chaos and drama of a lively, hard-working second generation oyster farming family on Merimbula Lake on the south-east coast of Australia.
By documenting a specific microcosm of a farming family on Australia’s south- east coast, OYSTER presents its audience with a story, a landscape, an environment and characters who face practical, ethical and personal decisions about things that matter to them – feeding their family, getting the boys to school, running the farm, looking after the lake, keeping their crop of oysters healthy and figuring out whether harvesting new crops will protect their livelihood.
This local story goes to the heart of matters of global urgency – climate, sustainability, farming, the health, livelihood and education of rural communities, and the challenges and uncertainties that come with farming a luxury product.
Observational in style, OYSTER stands back to watch and witness. The film’s director Kim Beamish likes to sit as close to his characters as he can so as to become really intimate with the world they are experiencing. This intimacy invites the audience in, as if they are almost becoming a character too, a part of what is going on, and a part of the character’s experience.
Dom and Pip Boyton are the main characters of OYSTER. Dom and Kim Beamish used to play together as boys, creating a life long rapport and a level of intimacy and trust which gives personal colour to the film and adds to the audience’s involvement in the story.
OYSTER will not seek to tell the audience what to think about the ethics, morality or politics of the decisions that face Dom and Pip Boyton but, rather, will present their story. It is a story that shows what is happening for Dom and Pip, and their fellow farmers and community. The story leaves it to the audience to make their own decisions.
OYSTER depicts the changes of rhythm as characters shift space and pace. The noise and mundane routine of tasks like running the oyster through 'cling clang' the grader is forgotten as Dom, Pip and the boys settle in at home to a meal. Later, exhausted, Dom is asleep on the couch, the television streaming cable, as Pip plays Candycrush and updates her Facebook account.
When Dom takes the punt out on the water, the mood shifts again, to the vibrant colours in the wide open spaces of the lake and the sky. Pre-dawn, sunrise, the heat of noon, sunset, midnight – the oyster farmer harvests by the rhythm of the tide.
The good times build up with a slower pace: clean water, good sales, family time, right decisions. Then the noise comes, the loud voices, the fast pace that breaks the good times down: bad decisions, storms, disease taking hold, family tension.
This build up and break down – both visual and aural – is like the waves when their rhythm is building. It’s as if we are awaiting that perfect wave at the back of the set. Will it be good or bad?
Kim Beamish is an award winning Australian filmmaker whose film ‘The Tentmakers of Cairo’ won the 2015 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award at the Margaret Mead Film Festival and Prix Buyens-Chagoll at the Visions du Reel Film Festival. He has been a tutor in cinematography, editing and documentary production at the University of Canberra for a few years. Also having previously been on the board of OPEN CHANNEL in Melbourne, Australia.
Pat Fiske has been producing and directing documentary films since the early 1970s and has been a prominent member of Australia’s independent filmmaking community. Her films have won many awards and screened in countless film festivals around the world. In 2001, she was awarded the prestigious Stanley Hawes Award for her outstanding contribution to the documentary industry in Australia.
Denise Haslem ASE is a producer and editor with over 25 years experience in the film and television industry. She produced and edited the award-winning Mabo Life of an Island Man, produced DocA Portrait of Herbert Vere Evatt and A Calcutta Christmas and co-produced Risky Business and Steel City..
Started making Super8 movies at aged 13. Worked for 5 years at Channel 10 Sydney as telecine operator grading live to air, film processing tech and news camera/sound. Moved into sound post production and was awarded the 2007 Stanley Hawes award for ongoing contribution to documentaries. Moved to Tasmania in 2008.
Michael Creswell Dooley is an Australian born pianist composer, song writer and producer. Studied classical and jazz piano, and composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of music. He has been enhanced by living and performing in the orient, India and the middle east for a number of years. He currently resides with his family in Canberra ACT, Australia.
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Ulladulla @ Arcadia Twin Cinemas
Thursday, 30 August at 6:30pm
Arcadia Twin Cinemas
Rowens Arcade, Boree St, Ulladulla, NSW
Nelson Bay @ The Nelson Bay Cinemas
Saturday, 18 August at 6:00pm
The Nelson Bay Cinemas
Cinema Mall, Stockton St, Nelson Bay, NSW
Tickets available through the Port Stephens Information Centre in Nelson Bay or below.
Merimbula @ The Picture Show Man Cinema
Monday, 13 August at 6:30pm
The Picture Show Man Cinemas
80 Main St, Merimbula, NSW
Chesapeake Film Festival, 2018
Saturday, 28 October at 8:00pm
Chesapeake, Maryland, USA
Canberra International Film Festival, 2017
Saturday, 28 October at 7:00pm
National Film and Sound Archive, ACT, Australia
River's Edge International Film Festival, 2017
Friday, 3 November at 1:00pm
Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, Kentucky, USA
Producer Pat Fiske
Editor Denise Haslem
Cinematographer Co-Producer Kim Beamish
Colour Grade, Sound Design and Mix
Digital City Studios Michael Gissing
Composer Mike Dooley
Treatment Consultant Alison Lyssa
Aerial Drone Footage Pi Production Services Raymond Toms
A Very Special Thank You
Dominic, Pippa, Solomon & Eddison Boyton Merimbula Gourmet Oysters
Shelley & Chris Boyton
Robert Seach, Michael Brown Aaron Trowbridge, Brendan Daley Brett Wiengarth, Craig Smith, Hazel Farrell Bridget Collier, Abigail & Thomas Beamish
and Thank You
Australia’s Oyster Coast, Broadwater Oysters, Sydney City Oysters Wolumla Tigers Junior Football Club, Durham Castle Arms Capital Brewing, Merimbula & Pambula Lkae Oyster Farmers Merimbula Primary School, Wolumia Pub, Five Barrels Brewery JJ’s at Bateman’s Bay, Sydney Cove Oyser Bar, Pot Belly Bar NSW Food Authority, NSW Department of Primary Industry Select Oyster Company, Page Bottler, Dulcie’s Cottage Environmental Management Systems NSW
Manta Bar & Restaurant, Dalgety Show
John Balazs, Helen Gaynor, Tom Zubrycki, Rob Nugent, Liz Burke, Mitzi Goldman
Vadim Dumesh, Cris Kennedy, Charissa Wright, Peggy Schrobback, Martha Ansara
Nick Hislop, Tim Rasheed, Mark Gillies, Mark Allsopp, Maureen McMahon
Johnny Zoch, Marina Finlay, Barbara Taylor, Emma Wilkie, Carol Douglas, Hannah Smith Hannah Smith, Sarah Horton, James Bardakos, Karen Lavelle, Louisa Wright
Emy Wah, Joe & Elenii Zappia, Ian Stone, Diyana Mansour, Josue Castro
Jillian Keating, Steen Rees, Robert Horn, Jazz, Lexi Sekuless, Geoff Ellis
Sam Griffin, Chimwemwe Mpaso, Monica Penders
Documentary Australia Foundation and Oyster Supporters
Paradice Family Foundation, Rebel Penfold-Russell, Ian Darling, Luigi Rosselli Alison Lyssa, Ali H, Elizabeth & Ken Herd, Jim Wilds Oysters, Dan, David Roach Don & Rosie White, Natalie Davey, Melanie Sandford, Robin Laurie, Mora Main Rita, Lou & Rachel, Debra Robertson, Lyn McGaurr, Jane Castle, Jennifer Crone DQ, Beau Vardos & Kitty Chan, Robert King, Roz Sharp, Thomas Marsden Susan Henderson, Alice Ansara, Merran Lang, Kate@fork_yeah
Robin Laurie, Anna Cater, Susan Henderson
and the many anonymous donors
Sea la vie Merimbula, Capt. Sponge’s Magical Oyster Tours Humboldt Bay Oyster Farm, California, USA, Nadine Robbins, Artist Cindy Johnson, Artist, Merv Beamish, Artist, John Danvers Woodwork R. Murphy Knives, MA, USA, Bluff Hill Cove Oysters, Rhode Island, USA
Alex Kelly, Alexandra Owens, Alison Lyssa, Alissar Gazal Allan Dawson, Amie Herdman, Andrea Foxworthy Angelique, Justin & Leon, Anna Cater, Annie Bickford Anne Coombs, Avryl, Banksia Investments Trust, Barbara Bloch Becky Wasden, Bonnie J. Becker, Brendan Toole Brittanie Leibold, Bronwyn Wright, Bryan, Bruce McKaskill Catherine Long, Charlie, Christie, Chase Pashkowich Christine Newsome, Corinne G. Ruff, Craig Beamish, Daniela Croce, Dar Gerber, David McKnight
David Mullins, David Noakes, Deanne Renting
Deb Rothschild, Delia Silvan, Denise Haslem
Digby Duncan & Sarah Gibson, Edwina Wright, Eliza Collier Elspeth, Emily Luck, Emma, Emma Wild, Emma Wilkie
Eric Damon Walters, Erika Addis, Erny, Eve Russell
Faye Hempenstall, Felicity Blake, Felix Hemingway Frances Mcilroy, Frans Vandenburg, Gardner Douglas Garen Sherwood, Garry & Robin Collison, Genevieve Mott Geoff & Barbara Taylor, George Alexandrakis Georgia Wallace-Crabbe, Graeme Isaac, Graham Drummond Grant, Harriet McKern, Hilary Balmond, Hugo Temby
Ian Millliss, Irene Gaskell, Ivy & Alan Green, Jan Dion Jean Fotheringham, Jean Lewis, Jeannine Baker Jeffery T Spaulding, Jennifer Bowker, Jennifer Luck Jennifer Rosewood, Jeremy Green, Jim Mellor
JJDH, Jo Huebsch, John M. Wright, Jolyon Hoff Josephine McKrell, Judith & Peter Hurditch
Judy Warner, Julie Chapman, Julie Hurt, Julie Marlow Kamala Fiske-Downing, Karen Johnson, Karin Altmann Karin Steininger, Kate Barclay, Katharine, Kate Maloney, Katharine Symonds, Kathy Gollan, Kristy, Kim Curtis, Kylie Hurt, Laila Fanebust, Lena Rogan, Leo, Lex Cran Liane Colwell, Liese Baker, Lis Shelley, Liz Burke, Lot & Lionel Louise Kan, Ludo Mcferran, Luke Carberry Madeleine Blackwell, Malla Nunn, Mares Delofski Margaret Herdman, Marilyn Beamish, Martha Ansara Mary Lightfoot, Mat Farrington, Mathias Sinning
Matt Power, Matthew Mancini & Emma Horrigan Mervyn Beamish, Merilyn, Michael Bacash
Michael Rubacki, Michelle, Millie, Michelle Murch, Miriam & Ambrose Reisch, Monica Penders
Murray & Lucy Guest, Nancy Fiske, Nell Schofield
Neil Stephen Cranmer, Nicholas Wrathall, Nina Bate Oliver, Oyster Obsession, Paige Livingston, Pat Fiske
Pat Woolley, Patsy Lisle, Phillip Walker, Richard Baker
Ricky, Rita Coenen, RksN, Robert Yates, Robin Freedman Rosie Jones, Rowena Potts, Russell Cheek, Russell Collier Ruth Berger, Ruth Hessey, Ruth Maddison
Sam Bowker, Sanaz Fotouhi, Sam, Sandra Krac Scott Bordignon, Seamus Gill, Serge Ou, Sonia Bible Spiros Bay Oysters, Steen Rees, Stefan Beaumont Susan Maxwell, Susan Rallings, Sylvania Crawford Sylvia Swallow, TDG, Therese Totten, Thomas Bolster Tom Fiske, Thomas Van Gool, Tom Truong, Tom Zubrycki Tony Drake, Trevor Graham, Trias, Trevor Moore, Victoria Treole, Vincent Emerson, Vivien Altman Walter McIntosh, Warren Armstrong, Warwick Baird Wendy Carlisle, Wendy Emerton, William Atkinson
Shaun Miller Lawyers Shaun Miller
H W Wood Australia Pty Ltd
Production Accountant Mandala Production Services Jannine Barnes
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Library Sales UNSW Water Research Lab
Pixel Pinkie – blue Rocket Productions
ABC South Coast Radio
Joshua Becker, Simon Lauder, Sophie Longden, Lisa Markham
Weather Report Sean Carson
Filmed on location in New South Wales, Australia
© 2017 Bower Bird Films Pty Limited, Non'D'Script Australian Capital Territory, Screen Australia