Anna Smith - Benalla Achiever of the Year


Anna Smith is a passionate and dedicated member of the community and has been recognised for her dedicated and committed efforts to the field of Arts.

Anna has been instrumental in the development of the annual Benalla Short Film Festival and the Let Us Entertain You (LUEY) theatre group.

The Film Festival began following a film workshop co-organised by Anna in 2013.  It was designed to inspire young local film makers to continue in the field and many entered the inaugural 2014 Festival at the Benalla Performing Arts and Convention Centre. Anna was able to engage well known Australian Actor, Tom Burlinson to officially open the event. Additional support also came from others in the Film and TV industry including Matt Preston.

In early 2016 fifteen films were screened and local students entered again, with many business houses in Benalla adding their support to the Film Festival following Anna’s encouragement.

Through her dedicated efforts in 2017 and 2018 she was able to secure two well known Australian actors John Orcsik and Tom Long to judge the films.

In 2019 the Festival saw a sell-out crowd attend with Anna moving to support the Wall to Wall Festival weekend.

COVID-19 provided a challenge so the 2020 film awards were presented via Zoom.

Anna’s drive and inspiration has seen six Benalla Shorts Film Festivals screened locally and at other communities within the North East including Swanpool Cinema with Anna working tirelessly to promote Benalla.

Anna’s dedication has provided young film makers from Benalla and across Australia the opportunity to go on to bigger and better things.  Two winners of the Best Film have had more success with one having their entry selected for Cannes and also included in the Sound and Film Archives while the other as invited to visit the Pixar Studio in USA.

Other groups Anna has been involved with include Friends of the Benalla Performing Arts and Convention Centre and a current member of the Friends of the Benalla Library.

Congratulations Anna, our 2021 Benalla Achiever of the Year.