Movie magic!

COFFS Harbour amateur film makers Roger Cowland and Barry McKnight have just won two major awards in the Canadian International Film Festival.

The pair won the Amateur Animation award for their science-fiction adventure Sole Survivor and the Amateur My Country Award for Beyond Sydney - A Musical Journey, a scenic exploration of Australia outside the capital city set to music.

Roger and Barry, who retired to Coffs Harbour a year ago after careers working in the post-production side of the professional film industry, say they are very excited by the awards.

But their new 'gongs' are just the latest in a series of successes for the talented videographers, who have won more than a dozen prizes at overseas film festivals since 2002.

Their documentary Lady Elliot- Cinderella Island gained them the Photographic Society of America's Gold Medal plus four other awards.

"We are retired and this is just a hobby, Roger Cowland said.

"We do absolutely everything ourselves except for the music.

Their animations are done on home computers using a software program called Poser.

They shoot their live action movies using digital video cameras, which they edit on computers, adding music and commentary, which is usually written and narrated by Barry.

Most of their films are relatively short Sole Survivor is eight minutes and beyond Sydney 15 minutes, but they have made films up to 45 minutes long.

Some of their work, including Sole Survivor can be seen on YouTube via their website http://home.iprimus.com.au/robar but Roger warned the quality was not particularly good because of YouTube's format.

Sole Survivor is on Movies 2 but Beyond Sydney is not there as it is over the 10 minute YouTube limit.

Another of their award-winning films, the animation and live action mix Rebel is on Movies 1.

Rebel runs for 45 mins but is split into five episodes. Barry and Roger's retirement hobby draws on their years of behind-the-scenes experience with professional film and television.

Roger was a film optical effects supervisor and Barry a negative cutting supervisor.

Roger, who handled film editors' post production special effects requirements, worked on some classic Australian classics films, including Mad Max, Crocodile Dundee and Babe.



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