Australia’s favourite koala returns to the big screen in his very own feature film, these school holidays!
Blinky Bill is a little koala with a big imagination.
An adventurer at heart, he dreams of leaving the little town of Green Patch and following in his missing father’s footsteps. When Blinky discovers a mysterious marker that hints at his Dad’s whereabouts, he embarks on a journey that takes him beyond the boundary of Green Patch and into the wild and dangerous Outback. He quickly makes friends with Nutsy, a zoo koala, and Jacko, a nervous frill-necked lizard. Pursued relentlessly by a vengeful Cat who has a personal score to settle with Blinky, the trio must learn to work together if they ever want to survive the rugged Australian landscape and find Blinky’s father!
Starring Ryan Kwanten, Toni Collette, Robin McLeavy, Rufus Sewell and Barry Humphries.
Classification: G – Some scenes may scare very young children
Distributor: Studio Canal
Dates & Times:
Friday 30 September 2:15pm
Ticket, Popcorn and Drink includes a standard popcorn and Fruit Box popper
Please note, children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times, including performances and workshops. Riverside Theatres is not responsible for the supervision of children.
Riverside is committed to making theatre accessible for all people. We are happy to be able to offer the following services to assist patrons.
• Wheelchairs – Riverside offers level access and space for wheelchairs in all venues. Spaces are limited, however, so booking is required. Please let the Box Office know when booking.
• Courtesy Wheelchairs – A limited number of courtesy wheelchairs (standard manual wheelchairs) are available for loan if required.
• Accessible Toilets
• Parking – Limited paid parking is available at the venue for patrons with a current disability parking permit. Please note, there is a $5 fee for parking and pre-booking is essential, as there are limited spaces available.
• Guide Dogs or any animals trained to assist people with disabilities are welcome. Please let the Box Office know when booking.
• Hearing Assistance – Riverside has installed new state-of-the-art hearing systems in all three theatres to assist patrons who are hearing impaired. Please let Box Office know when booking.
• National Relay Service – Users who are deaf or who have a hearing impairment can call (at no cost) through the National Relay Service TTY users phone 13 36 77, then ask for 8839 3399. Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users phone 1300 555 727, then ask for 8839 3399. Internet relay users connect NRS (www.relayservice.com.au) and then ask for 8839 3399.
• NSW Companion Card – Recognised for all performances held at Riverside Theatres.
Blinky Bill The Movie Colouring In and Activity Booklet
Download your copy here: Blinky Bill The Movie Colouring In and Activity Pack
Festivals and Awards
2015 – Nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Asia Pacific Film Festival
Blinky Bill: Australia’s Favourite Koala
Blinky Bill is one of Australia’s most recognized characters and a bona fide national icon. The lovable antics of the mischievous koala from the sleepy village of Greenpatch have captured hearts the world over since the release of The Adventures of Blinky Bill book series in 1933. The Blinky Bill books are internationally recognised as an Australian children’s classic– indeed, they have never been out of print since first publication.Millions of Australians share childhood memories reading the Blinky Bill books before bedtime, lapping up a sense of excitement, humour and adventure that could be found in their very own backyard: the Aussie outback.
Blinky’s character appeals to a quintessentially ‘Aussie’ spirit of optimism and mateship. For Blinky, friends and family are everything. This sense of mateship is deeply embedded in the Australian collective consciousness and has made Blinky somewhat of a cultural ambassador. For proof, look no further than the flashing light on top of the Sydney harbour bridge, which is affectionately known as ‘Blinky Bill’!
From the best-selling page to the big screen, in the early 1990s, Blinky’s legacy blossomed with the box office success ofhis first feature film, Blinky Bill: The Mischevious Koala. Yoram Gross Studios – now Flying Bark Productions – developed a unique visual style involving superimposed 2D animation over live-action footage, a technique that was revolutionary for its time. Blinky Bill: The Mischevious Koala was a worldwide smash hit, releasing in key major territories such as the UK and France and earning Blinky a whole new generation of fans around the world.
Following on from the triumph of the movie, Yoram Gross Studios produced the highly successful TV series, The Adventures of Blinky Bill. Continuing the story of Blinky, Nutsy, Wombo and friends, the TV series ran for three seasons from 1993 – 1995 and inspired several spin-off feature films, Blinky Bills Extraordinary Excursion and Blinky Bill’s White Christmas. With an extensive international licensing program – and an undeniably catchy theme song – the TV series was another winner for Brand Blinky, demonstrating his immense appeal across ages, time zones and formats.
After more than a decade on hiatus, the decision to bring Blinky back into the spotlight was a no brainer for the creative team at Flying Bark Productions.The time was ripe to introduce Blinky to a new generation and development on a CGI Blinky Bill feature film commenced in 2010. With such a rich cultural heritage and proven commercial track record, it was only a matter of time before Blinky made his way back to the silver screen in CGI.
The Flying Bark team decided the new movie should introduce new friends as to not completely infringe on the stories from years ago; of course many of his old friends from the previous books, movies and TV series will feature too. This threw quite the curve ball in the early stage of development, as it was no mean feat staying true to three different incarnations of an iconic character, whilst still keeping him relevant for the children of today!
Producer Barbara Stephen has her own take on the appeal of Blinky Bill The Movie to a 21st Century audience: “Blinky Bill The Movie is both a rollicking Aussie road film and an origin story, taking the essence of what made the previous books, films and TV series so endearing, reimaging them for the next generation of children and their parents.”
Now, with an all-star cast breathing life into the much-loved characters and an all-Australian creative team visually translating the rugged beauty of the outback in stunning CGI animation, Blinky Bill The Movie has arrived to engage, inspire and entertain another generation of adoring fans.
An Outback Journey from Page to Screen
Screenwriter Fin Edquist explains how he approached the script-writing process:
“My grandmother had a set of the Dorothy Wall Blinky Bill books that my brothers and sisters would occasionally dig out, but I never saw the original movie or TV series. It was liberating in a way because I didn’t have any personal expectation to deliver a script that paid homage to a legacy from my childhood. That kind of pressure can make you go crazy! Initially, all I knew about Blinky was that he was Australia’s marsupial Denis the Menace, which worked fine for a TV show…but for a feature film, the character needed heart and a motivation beyond annoying the local Mayor or powers that be. I wanted to create a character from scratch to tell a compelling story about a kid who challenges himself, his fears and his abilities, to find his Dad.”
Edquist describes the transformation of Blinky’s character from idealistic young koala dreaming of adventure, to a fully-fledged outback hero:
“When we meet Blinky, he lives with his Mum in Greenpatch, a beautiful oasis-like village in the middle of the outback. His Dad has vanished into the outback and everyone thinks that Dad is dead – it’s basically the unspoken secret in town. No one actually articulates this to Blinky besides Mayor Cranklepot, his arch nemesis. Blinky is alone in refusing to give up on Dad. His prime motivation is to bring him home and reconstitute the family.
For Blinky to really grow, he needs to change his situation. Greenpatch is the marsupial equivalent of suburbia; but in the outback, danger and death lurk around every corner. In order to find Dad, Blinky can’t walk across the street; he ventures across the most inhospitable terrain on the planet and only survives the journey by relying on abilities he never knew he had because they were never tested in Greenpatch. In surviving the outback, Blinky develops the necessary skills that allow him to rescue his Dad and bring him home safely.”
Blinky Bill is a character who has delighted children across formats and generations. Edquist describes Blinky’s appeal in Blinky Bill The Movie:
“Kids love a character who challenges authority, but who can also do the things they would love to be able to do. Blinky is a small koala in the ferocious Australian outback, meeting the outback head on, refusing to listen to all the naysayers in Greenpatch who say that he’s too little or not ready to go on an adventure. He essentially sets out into the outback on his own, with no parents, to rescue his own father. And then he has to deal with the notion that his Dad might actually be dead and the journey was all for nothing. For characters made of lesser ‘stuff’, that would be the end of them…but for Blinky, he’s strong enough to continue his mission. We like him for his ingenuity because he has to use his brains to get out of trouble – he’s no Tasmanian Tiger. To outwit enemies, Blinky has to be smart. And kids like smart characters. Blinky’s also funny. We like him because he’s stubborn, pig-headed and thinks that he knows best – even when he doesn’t. I really believe the characters people like the most are inherently flawed, but it’s precisely because of their flaws that they manage to succeed. Blinky is definitely not a perfect hero, but he’s heroic in that he confronts things that are scary. It’s refreshing for kids to see a character that confronts their deepest, darkest fears and finds a way to overcome them.”
Blinky’s friendship with Nutsy, his best friend throughout the original books and TV series, has been given an origin story in Blinky Bill The Movie. Edquist explains:
“When Blinky embarks on his journey, he meets another koala by chance, Nutsy, who grew up in a zoo as an orphaned koala. Nutsy has only ever lived in a zoo and has never known the concept of family that Blinky has. Nutsy’s journey is to discover that she’s more than just a caged koala – there is a ‘wildness’ in her. She learns that she has an active role to play in the outback. In the end, Nutsy becomes an adopted sister to Blinky and a valued part of the Greenpatch community in her own right. It’s a classic story structure for this kind of film; the idea that in order to come of age, you need to sublimate your ego and selfishness to embrace something that’s bigger than yourself, which in this case is family.”
Edquist perfectly sums up the main themes of Blinky Bill The Movie, which could read as a summary of Australian values:
“Always look out for your mates. Believe in yourself to do the right thing. Never give up against all odds. Take responsibility for your actions. That’s what makes a real hero”.
Interview with Ryan Kwanten: Voice of Blinky Bill
What are your first memories of Blinky Bill?
My first memories of Blinky Bill are probably like many Australians my age: Mum and Dad reading the books to me and my younger brothers at bedtime. I’d never be able to fall asleep during the story and would always have to wait till the very end. Blinky’s roguish nature always appealed to me. The mere fact that Blinky’s story has lasted throughout the generations is testament to the fact that this is both a story and a character that is timeless in every sense of the word. I’m hugely honoured to have the ability to recreate Blinky for a modern day audience.
What do you love most about the Blinky Bill character?
I’ve always had the opinion that life is better lived as an adventure. Blinky is that guy who lives and breathes adventure, although he really doesn’t know the true sense of the word yet. He looks up to his Dad with this sweet reverence, as any young boy does. Blinky’s Dad is a great explorer and a great man, so Blinky definitely wants to follow in his footsteps. That level of respect and inspiration that Blinky has for his Dad is also something I have for my own Dad. It drives Blinky throughout the whole film, the search to find his Dad and be just like him.
Tell us about the Blinky Bill story.
This is the story of Blinky and the whole host of characters he interacts with, but when we first find him, his Dad has been missing for the last year. He left on this epic voyage with the promise of coming back, but hasn’t returned. Blinky misses his father and wants to figure out exactly what’s happened. The story is really this epic adventure about Blinky, and soon after Nutsy and a whole host of characters, travelling across the outback in the hopes of finding his father. We have really revolutionized the way we look at Blinky and I think audiences are going to be very surprised with his nature and the personalities of characters he meets in this story. As much as it is an Australian story, the film very much has universal appeal. Everyone knows what it’s like to search for something, to feel love and loss. Blinky is that guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and it’s a story that I think we are all going to be in tears by, inspired by and have a laugh at the same time.
Do you think that throughout Blinky’s journey, there is a connection with Blinky’s mum and there is a realisation that being an adventurer is one thing but being a hero also comes with responsibility?
The first time Blinky steps outside of Greenpatch, the bravado eventually gives way to the true sense of who he is. I’ve always loved the quote, “What lies before us and what lies behind us is nothing compared to what lies within us”. I think up until that point, Blinky has been living in this very sheltered environment, and his Dad’s been the one coming back with these amazing stories of adventure and travel. Now that his Dad’s been gone for a year, Blinky and his mum have forged this relationship and she’s trying to make up for the fact that Dad’s not there. They have this beautiful relationship, but there’s this undying need in Blinky who wants to get out of town and find out where he is. When he does eventually get out, there comes a point in time where, like any son, he misses his Mum. I think it’s that he’s torn between searching for his Dad and coming back and making his Mum happy.
Can you describe the relationship between Blinky and Nutsy?
Blinky and Nutsy have a beautiful but rocky relationship. Nutsy is a caged Koala and Blinky is a wild koala, and that doesn’t really seem like much of a difference, but it really is. Blinky has lived his entire life out there in the wild: he’s climbed trees and eaten gum leaves where as Nutsy has been the exact opposite as her life has been lived entirely in a zoo. As we find out later, her family was ravaged in a fire, so she’s lived her own version of a sheltered life. They’ve both got to learn a bit about each other and a bit about how they have grown up in order to get through the journey.
Why do you think parents should take their kids to see this new Blinky Bill?
I think you take one look at this guy and think it’s going to be a really fun film, which it is. I had a little reservation at first, because Blinky has such sweet reverence with me from my childhood memories. When I read the script, I was in tears of laughter. It really is an extraordinarily funny film. At the end of the day, there are some great morals in the film and some great life lessons to be learned. For 90 minutes, you’re going to be strapped in for a pretty big adventure yourself.