AN IPSWICH film festival is in the works after a chance meeting of minds on the Ipswich set of a star-studded feature film.
The scene was set when Mayor Paul Pisasale went to the old Ipswich police station to meet Ipswich-born actor Tony Barry.
Mr Barry was in Ipswich with fellow actors Hugo Weaving and Aaron Pedersen filming scenes for Ivan Sen's thriller Mystery Road.
After helping Mr Barry celebrate his birthday on Tuesday, the mayor got to talking to the veteran actor.
"I hear you're the motivating factor in getting this city moving," Mr Barry said to Cr Pisasale.
Mr Barry has featured in almost 60 feature films, including the popular Australia, and 45 TV shows such as the provocative Scales of Justice.
"A film festival in Ipswich based on the power of youth and the environment would be a really innovative and
socially-responsible thing to do," Mr Barry said. "I suggest it would be based in Ipswich but you would open it up to film-makers who want to come to Ipswich."
The mayor, who is on the board of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), quickly got the ball rolling.
"I've taken up Tony's offer and I want him to be our patron," Cr Pisasale said. "I've already spoken to Des Power, who is one of the gurus of the film industry and the chairman of APSA.
"I've have also made calls to Sekisui House about sponsorship and they said: 'We're in'.
"What better way to let people know about our care for the environment than to have a film festival around the environment."
He said the buzz about Ipswich was already growing and a film festival had the potential to turn the city into a blockbuster success.
"I've been in Geelong this week talking about Ipswich and everyone is very excited about Ipswich," he said. "We've got our pride and our culture and we work together.
"A film festival could be used to show the world how important the environment is to Ipswich. Kids can get involved, schools can get involved; who knows who we could find through this."
Mayor Pisasale said a group would be appointed to develop the film festival concept but the basics were already being worked out.
"I'll sit down with Tony and Des and we'll start formulating what type of festival it should be," he said. "What I would love - because there's no such thing as small to me - is for it to go international.
"What I'll be doing is writing to people about getting the prizemoney up so we can maximise the prestige so it's a film festival that grows and grows to an international status so people from all around the world will want to come here and take part.
"There's no limit to this; it can be as big as we want it to be. For the judging panel, we'll try to get some really well-known actors involved with the contacts that Tony and Des Power and I have."
He said he wanted the Ipswich film festival up and running by the end of next year and said the old North Ipswich railway workshops would be an ideal venue.