Bush tucker expert weeds out competition to win
NIMBIN'S Peter Hardwick is widely known as a bush regenerator, bush food expert and environmentalist, but now he has another string to his bow - award-winning filmmaker.
Peter's first short film The Bouquet won the jury award at the Byron All Shorts Film Festival on Sunday.
It's the story of a smitten young man who offers an expression of his love - a bunch of edible weeds that are then artfully transformed by the woman of his dreams.
The idea sprang from a 'weed walk' Peter did last year at the Aquarius Festival anniversary celebrations.
"I was thinking of trying to make a film about all the weeds you can eat that are under our feet and we don't even know. But rather than some dry technical documentary with all those droll experts and talking heads, we came up with the idea of putting it into fiction and blending the technical information with something that was creative as well," he said.
It turns out that Peter's co-director and main collaborator on the film, Pancho Colladetti, was on the weed walk, as were the two lead actors, Carla Muhling and Johnny Everson, though they hadn't all linked up at that point.
Peter, who works as an advisor to bush food restaurants, says he regularly harvests and cooks weeds to eat.
"But most of the leafy edible weeds are out in winter and early spring, whereas now I'm feasting on native fruits," he said.
There is no dialogue in the film and all the music was provided by Nimbin street musos Leif Larkin and Donato Rosella, who actually performed live as the actors were doing their scenes.
"It was hard work for the musicians who were improvising, but it gave us such wonderful layers. I feel like we were foraging the streets of Nimbin for weeds and foraging street performers - who I think are one of the most wonderful things about the Northern Rivers."
They hope to have the film screened at other film festivals throughout the country.