Thousands of car movie enthusiasts gear up to visit Cobar

Cobar’s Running On Empty Festival is attracting international attention with a movie fan sending some memorabilia from when the movie was released in Germany. Pictured with the ‘Mike’ movie poster (as the movie was renamed when it was
released in Germany) are Mel Manns with festival co-coordinator John de Bruin.

Cobar is gearing up for the Running On Empty Festival in October, with event co-organiser Ben Hewlett estimating around 2,000 visitors are coming for the weekend.

Running On Empty, filmed in 1982, is described as one of the most iconic Australian car movies ever made.

It features Mike, played by actor Terry Serio, who loves his fast cars and women.

According to the synopsis when Mike fancies the girlfriend of street racing king Fox, he gets way in over his head when he finds himself racing for his girl, his money and his life.

Through racing, nightclubs and small road trips (including one to the Cobar/Canbelego area) the film depicts what it was like to be a teenager in Australia in the 1980s.

A number of the movie’s scenes were filmed in and around Cobar and included stunts shot at the Old Res, the Pinky, Glen Hope Station and Canbelego.

Serio (also of 1990s Australian TV show Blue Heelers fame) will be coming to Cobar for the festival along with a number of other original actors from the movie.

The film’s stars are all keen to reunite at Cobar’s Running On Empty festival including Gerry Sont, who played Victor (and has also appeared in Home and Away); Jeffrey Rhoe, who portrayed Ram (and went on to act in Puberty Blues and Home and Away); Kristoffer Greaves who was Starter (and also of Mad Max 2, Babe: Pig in the City and Dead to the World fame); and Max Cullen, who portrayed Rebel, the blind owner of Rebel’s Garage at Canbelego, who has a long line of Australian TV and movie credits including Spider and Rose, The Flying Doctors, Secret Valley and Love My Way.

Along with the ‘human stars’ from the movie, the original FOX 1, the film’s 1970 Dodge 440-powered R/T Challenger, will also be a star attraction at the festival.

Visitors and locals will be in for a ‘fuelled up’ weekend of activities that include a screening of the movie, a cruise out to Canbelego where Rebel’s Garage was created for the movie, a Show ‘n’ Shine event, and a gala dinner.

Ben said festival is a fundraiser for two local projects, the RSL Sub Branch’s World War I monument and the Cobar Miner’s Memorial.