Screen Australia, the Australian government’s main funding body for screen production, has awarded three Indigenous documentary filmmakers with financial backing.
The funding has been given as part of the Indigenous Department’s 25th anniversary celebrations. Since the Indigenous Department at Screen Australia was established, it has provided more than AU$35 million in funding for development, production and talent escalation, with 160-plus titles produced in that time.
“For 25 years the Indigenous Department has put our people in control of their own stories,” said Penny Smallacombe, head of Indigenous at Screen Australia, in a statement. “The funding model has been incredibly successful and has even inspired other countries to do the same for their Indigenous creators.
“It is our key focus to ensure Indigenous people continue to be seen and heard across a variety of storytelling platforms, and most importantly that Indigenous screen businesses are being invested in to continue producing such significant work,” she added.
Of the 20 projects to receive $1.5 million in special funding, Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department will present funds to three documentaries about the Indigenous response to climate change which will go into production through its State of Alarm program, a special documentary initiative for Indigenous makers developing screen content aimed at global audiences.
Successful projects selected to receive production funding to begin shooting include Gary Hamaguchi’s Saving Seagrass (Ramu Productions), a short documentary set to investigate the plight and importance of seagrass, which is 35 times more efficient at capturing CO2 than a rainforest; Ashley Gibb’s Shark Dreaming (Chili Films), which looks to explore the deep relationship some Indigenous people have with the oceans, sharks and seascapes around them; and Jason De Santolo’s Warburdar Bununu: Water Shield (Brown Cabs), following a young Garrwa song man from Borroloola determined to shield his Gulf Country homelands from mining, using ancient song and dance.
A further documentary project also received production funding outside of the State of Alarm program.
Directed by Erica Glynn, the feature documentary She Who Must Be Obeyed (Since 1788 Productions) will chronicle the life and experiences of Indigenous film pioneer, Alfreda Glynn, by blending archive and observational footage. Tanith Glynn-Maloney is producing the film. NITV and Adelaide Film Festival have both invested in the production.