THE clothes were glamorous, the atmosphere electric.
Hundreds of people packed into the Horsham Masonic Centre, and then Horsham Centre Cinemas.
Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth and Judy Davis might have been the Hollywood names decorating The Dressmaker, but on Thursday night everyone was there to see the real stars – our Wimmera extras.
When the footy scene came on the screen, everyone sat up a little straighter, focused a little closer.
It was fast-paced but there were Wimmera faces – and no doubt a few nudges to the actor sitting there watching themselves on-screen as well.
A few scenes later, at the wedding, we saw familiar faces once again.
When something funny happened, everyone laughed loudly, and when Hemsworth’s shirt inevitably came off, everyone admired his fine acting – or at least his abs.
At the end, everyone applauded a wonderful movie featuring our own.
There’s no doubt about it – Thursday night’s Dressmaker special screening was a great night.
The Wimmera Mail-Times and the Wimmera Health Care Group Friends of the Foundation hosted The Dressmaker special screening.
The event was a fundraiser for the foundation.
Special guests included book author Rosalie Ham, movie producer Sue Maslin, extras casting director Charlotte Seymour and editor and former Horsham resident Jill Bilcock.
Wimmera VIPs – the extras – gathered with their family, friends and admirers for drinks and canapés ahead of the screening.
Maslin and co mingled with everyone, sharing their memories of filming in the Wimmera nearly a year ago.
The chatting continued as everyone walked from the hall to the cinema and took their seats for a question and answer session with Maslin and Ham.
(Video: Ham and Maslin talk about the Wimmera – post continues below)
“The real surprise was being able to bring Liam Hemsworth and Kate Winslet up here,’’ Maslin said.
“That was really special for them to experience the town – and they did experience the town.
“The best bit was Liam Hemsworth went down to the Bull and Mouth and had dinner down there one night and managed – has anyone eaten a parma at the Bull and Mouth? It’s that big! He ate that in seven minutes.
“Not only did he eat it in seven minutes but he then got a plate and signed his name and said, ‘I smashed a parma in seven minutes’.”
Maslin talked about having the Laharum footballers involved in the film – and the crowd cheered when she said she’d heard they won the Horsham District grand final.
Ham broke things down for the would-be writers in the crowd: “If you want to be an author, it pays just about as much as farming.’’
The main message the pair wanted to share with the audience was simple: Anything is possible.
Soon, the laughter died down and the anticipation grew. The lights dimmed as Wimmera people prepared for their first taste of The Dressmaker.
A buzz grew in the cinema as soon as the lights came back on.
The Wimmera had helped create something special.
The recognisable faces – both Wimmera stars and well-known Australian actors – added to the excitement.
Nhill’s Joan Lynch attended the screening with her family.
At 93 years old, it was a special night out.
Mrs Lynch’s father’s old 1937 Buick featured in the film. The car now belongs to her son Rob Lynch, who was also an extra.
Mrs Lynch was 16 when her father bought the car.
“Now it’s famous,’’ she said.
Horsham’s Brodie Fitzgerald was one of the Wimmera’s younger extras.
The 10-year-old was excited to see himself on screen.
“There was a football scene I did, and then there was a classroom scene," he said.
He said he would jump at the chance to be involved with another film.
Mockinya’s Simone Bell said she loved the movie.
"Kate Winslet was fantastic,’’ she said.
Horsham’s Felicity Taylor attended the event with her book club.
She said the group was impressed with the move from book to screen.
“It was so well done and well acted,’’ she said.
“The movie had a bit of everything – sad, fun and great frocks.’’