After receiving almost 150 entries, the Blue Heeler Film Festival will announce its winners at Muswellbrook

THE much-anticipated Blue Heeler Film Festival is finally here.

Some of the nation's best emerging filmmakers will have their creative works on display in Muswellbrook this weekend, but they need your help.

The judges have been put to the test, narrowing down the winners of the Golden Bluey and Student Bluey with more than $10,000 up for grabs - but organisers are counting on you to vote for your favourite film for the People's Choice Award.

In order to cast your vote, you'll need to be at the outdoor area of the Upper Hunter Innovation Precinct, adjacent to the Muswellbrook Library, on Saturday night (October 19).

There will be music, food and drinks, as well as a screening of all the shortlisted films.

Bring a picnic and some friends to check out the talent on offer.

The film festival will take place from 6pm until 9pm.

Entertainment from duo Felix Quinn is scheduled to precede the screenings, which will get underway when the sun goes down, about 7pm.

The award presentations will follow.

In a new and innovative format, Muswellbrook Shire Council tapped into the creative abilities of five arts students from the University of Newcastle (UoN) to present this year's festival.

"The third year undergraduates were each awarded a Creative Works Scholarship by council to develop and curate the event as a component of their degree studies at the Faculty of Arts and Education, UoN," a council spokesperson said.

"The five-person creative taskforce comprised of pupils studying across the disciplines of marketing, design, film, music and visual and performing arts who undertook the festival project in conjunction with their university classes.

"By including the hands-on involvement of the creative arts students, we - supported by long-term sponsors Bengalla Mining Company and Harvey Norman Muswellbrook - aimed to generate a high level of excitement and attract a record number of quality entries to the festival.

"The scholarship team also hosted a series of workshops at Muswellbrook and Scone high schools where students interested in pursuing a career in the creative arts field were introduced to the wide variety of disciplines available at the Creative Industries campus at UoN and also encouraged to enter their own short film in the festival."

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