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By Derek Schlennstedt

Who is Baba Desi? The question has long weighed on the minds of those living in the Dandenong ranges.

Residents are used to seeing his welcoming smile and unique fashion sense as he makes his way down Belgrave Main Street. Nearly every day of the week he can be seen enjoying a chai in front of Grunge Café.

Despite his celebrity status – appearances on Billy Connolly and Coxy’s Big Break – not much is known of his past, and the beloved icon often avoids talking about himself.

Though, now his story is being told in a short 12 minute film titled ‘Baba Desi’ that will feature at the St Kilda Festival on 19 May.

Local Upwey Filmmaker and Director of the movie, Alex Lowes said that having lived in Tecoma since he was he was a boy, he was always fascinated by the man dubbed ‘the Belgrave Wizard’.

“I guess living in Tecoma since I was very, very little, I’ve always seen him walking around.”

“Even when i was just 3-4-years-old, he’s always been around, and a lot of people know of him but not much about him,” Alex said.

In 12 short minutes the film tells the story of Des Bergen who in the Dandenong Ranges has transformed himself into ‘Baba Desi’ — an activist, local icon and (most notably) a wizard.

“I’ve compiled a bunch of interviews with him, to tell the story,” Alex said.

“It starts off biographical and tells the story of who he was before he became this wizard figure and how he transformed into that.”

Though, the movie will feature at the St Kilda Film Festival, Alex said he was keen to bring it up to the Dandenong Ranges too.

The movie has taken several months to create, and Alex thanked his colleagues Llewellyn Fowler (Producer), A. L. Solopotias (Director of Cinematography), Bridget Webster (Sound Recordist) and Edward Foo (Co-Editor) for their contribution to the film.

For more information and to book tickets go to https://bit.ly/2JHp222

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