The Carnival
Projects Supported


Three generations of the Bell family battle to keep Australia’s oldest show on the road.

Directed by Isabel Darling
Produced by TOM ZUBRYCKI



Family carnivals and shows have been in Australia since the mid 1800’s. Today over a hundred multi-generational show families are still operating in Australia, running their own shows and carnivals across the country. This is the story of one of these families: The Bells.

The Carnival is an observational documentary, filmed over the course of 8 years and capturing the most intimate moments of this one family and its workers. We’ll follow them as they haul their convoy of 30 trucks and rides across the country with their workers in tow where they’ll face the elements, shutdowvns and bushfires as they battle to keep their show running and on the road. More >

This is the story of not only the carnival itself – a nostalgic and much-loved place that has thrilled Australian families over the years – but a story about the salt-of-the earth people everyone is curious about: the carnival workers, the showies. They live in a different world, in a parallel universe where the old world meets new world, where technology is changing their lives not always for the better. This is a family drama underpinned by a quest to uphold their ancestors’ traditions and to ensure that the carnival never dies.

The Carnival is a sticky, colourful place filled with happiness and screams of laughter – but underneath is a darker side, one filled with pressures and expectations. Now, as the insurance industry pulls out of Australia, hundreds of show and carnival operators no longer have the ability to insure their rides, leaving families like the Bells on the potential brink of collapse.