SEIZING THE CAMERA
Australian Indigenous Filmmakers take control of their stories…
SPECIAL SESSION INPUT2008: WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 14h00-18h30, BLUE ROOM
Above: From My Bed Your Bed (see below for more)
Session Leader: Graeme Isaac – Australian National Coordinator
In Australia over the last 15 years an Indigenous production sector has sprung up as if from no-where to challenge the way that Australians think about their country and it’s past. It has also produced work that has been screening and winning international awards at major festivals such as Berlin, Cannes, and Sundance.
The film makers and their programs will be introduced by South African broadcasters and independents, looking to draw out the many issues that may also be of local relevance – the politics of representation, dealing with a contested history, the question of mainstreaming vs. servicing minority audiences, and the question of who speaks for whom. This will be investigated with regards to the content, aesthetics and narratives of the films themselves – how do these films begin to complicate representations of Aboriginal people.
Through discussion of the programs the session will examine the targeted workshop and development program that has been used in Australia to fast track the development of Indigenous film and television talent. It will also look at the partnership between a funding body (the Indigenous Branch of the Australian Film Commission) and the Australian public broadcasters that has brought this new Indigenous work to a wide audience.
Episode 1 – 70 min (the remainder of the series is 6 x 1 hour)
Directors: Rachel Perkins & Beck Cole
Producer / Presenter: Darren Dale
Shop Steward: Angie Mills
Produced by some of Australia’s finest Aboriginal filmmakers, this critical series chronicles the birth of a country and the collision of two worlds. It is an epic story that comes alive through the struggles of individuals, both black and white. Beautifully filmed, the series melds landscape, art, interviews and first-hand accounts with a vast archival collection to present the birth of contemporary Australia as never seen before, from the perspective of its first people—the first Australians. The series is independently produced and pre-sold to an Australian Public Broadcaster and to ITVS in the US.
Director / Presenter: Warwick Thornton
Shop Steward: Pat Van Heerden
DJ Kenny works the night shift in a remote area radio station in Central Australia, hosting a program for a local prison audience and their friends and relatives. The night takes an eerie turn as a succession of elderly visitors appear, equipment breaks down and domestic violence intrudes. In a film full of suspense, humor and insight, set against a background of posters and music of Aboriginal pride and protest, we observe Kenny’s feelings of helplessness as he attempts to hold his small nocturnal community together.
(GREEN BUSH premiered at Sundance and won Best Short Film in the Panorama section at Berlin International Film Festival)
MY BED YOUR BED
Director / Presenter: Erica Glynn
Shop Steward: Graeme Isaac
A tender portrait of a young couple embarking on an arranged marriage in a remote desert community. The young newlyweds appear to be fond of each other but attempts to achieve sexual intimacy are fraught with reticence and impatience captured by intimate and carefully framed cinematography.
(MY BED YOUR BED was part of a short drama series that grew out of a development program sponsored by a national funding body and two public broadcasters, and which contained films that screened in competition at Cannes, Berlin, and Clermont-Ferrand.)
Director / Presenter: Erica Glynn
Shop Steward: Rehad Desai
In this simple but intimate observational documentary two senior traditional healers, Ngangkari, go about their work – calmly return lost spirits to ailing patients, checking on the quality of their community’s food available at the local community store, consulting in the community’s medical clinic along with white doctors, and worrying that the effects of marijuana smoking and petrol sniffing may be beyond their curative powers.
(Whilst NGANGKARI screened on national television and at international festivals, it was also produced for broadcast on a remote area network broadcasting to remote Indigenous communities, representing another whole level of the Indigenous television industry in Australia).