John Marsden at Big Screen

For Nambucca Heads festival screening
 John Marsden

To attend a film festival in Nambucca Heads for a screening of the film adaptation of my novel Tomorrow, When the War Began seemed an attractive idea, and I felt right at home there – the weather was exactly the same as Melbourne: cold and wet, bleak and grey.

`You should have been here last week,’ was the constant refrain from the locals.

‘Yeah, we use that line on visitors to Melbourne,’ I told them.

Organised by the NFSA’s Big Screen, the warmth of the welcome was unmistakable: if the weather report was ‘rain continuing, strong winds, maximum 14 degrees’, the people were `sunny, bright, warm to hot,’ (and I mean that in a strictly non-sexual sense). We walked into a highly-charged totally-positive vibe at the sold-out Nambucca Heads Cinema and I signed books till I could barely remember how to spell my name.

There were some great stories – people who had travelled vast distances (some of whom had failed to book and consequently had to go home again), people who were building careers in writing or in the film industry, and a strong presence of teenagers and children. Lots of family groups too – all in all probably not a typical film festival audience.

I copped a barrage of questions at the end, and they were distinctive for their variety, freshness and insight. I loved the whole experience, felt humbled to know that I was treading in the footsteps of Barry Crocker (last year’s guest), and came home, wet and cold, sure, but exhilarated.

Thank you Jacqui, Sarah and the good folk at the NFSA who were incredibly efficient in organising everything, thank you Majestic Cinema management and staff, and thank you to the people of the north coast of NSW!

John Marsden

Author of Tomorrow, When the War Began