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The Competition premiere showcases Canberra's homegrown talent

Dreams can take a long time to materialise. The Canberra-made feature film The Competition took only four weeks to shoot in Gunning, Canberra, and other locations in the region. That was in 2009.

Greg Stott, musical director of the movie "The Competiton" at his home in Weetangera.
Greg Stott, musical director of the movie "The Competiton" at his home in Weetangera. Photo: Melissa Adams

But post-production - including editing, dubbing and colour correcting - took much longer, and The Competition, the first feature written and directed by Canberra Times film critic Simon Weaving, will finally have its premiere on Wednesday.

It's the story of small-town girl Steffie Waters (Leah Baulch) who dreams of a musical career. When a struggling TV talent show comes to town to run a music competition, she finds herself torn between conflicting loyalties and dreams and must make some tough decisions.

Star struck: Steffie Waters, played by Leah Baulch, in "The Competition".
Star struck: Steffie Waters, played by Leah Baulch, in "The Competition". Photo: supplied

Musical director Greg Stott said there was a lot of Canberra talent in the film, on both sides of the camera and on the soundtrack. The local musicians featured include Chanel Cole, Dubba Rukki, Owen Campbell and Fire on the Hill. Stott wrote the music and lyrics for three featured songs and composed the music for another to lyrics by Weaving, as well as some incidental scoring.

"It was a challenge, writing songs to a brief with particular themes."

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He said the film was a labour of love for all involved, many donating their time and talent on a profit-sharing basis - another reason it took so long to complete.

"For a local production it looks fabulous," he said.

"Quite a lot of CIT students were involved in the film," he said.  The students worked on sound design and post-production.

Baulch, whose credits include two previous films made in Canberra, The Dinner Party and Dark Souls, provided guide tracks for her character's songs in the movie but admitted, "I'm not a singer".  

Her singing was dubbed by fellowperformer Kirrah Amosa.

Producer John Frohlich worked with Weaving and Stott at the Canberra Institute of Technology. He said the film, which was funded privately and made on a low budget, would have a regular season at Dendy from December 11, and that they had taken it to Berlin in February and attracted international sales interest.

But the hometown premiere comes first.

"We'll see what people think of it," Baulch said.

The Competition has its premiere at Dendy Canberra on Wednesday at 7pm, and will screen there from December 11. Tickets: dendy.com.au.