documentary Wirriya: Small Boy received AFC Indigenous
Unit production investment funding. It was written and directed
by Beck Cole and produced by Beck Cole and Citt Williams.
facilitate and resource the participation of Indigenous Australians
in the Australian film, television and digital interactive media
Indigenous Unit offers professional development to Indigenous filmmakers
by providing both development and production investment funding
for drama, documentary, animation and interactive digital media
projects. These projects may be in the short film, short feature
or feature film format.
The unit provides production investment in collaboration with broadcasters
or other funding entities through specific initiatives. By capitalising
on its relationships with other film funding agencies and broadcasters,
the unit is able to make the best use of its funds to provide a
greater number of production opportunities for Indigenous filmmakers.
The unit also provides travel grants to filmmakers who have a film
screening in an international film festival, funding for filmmakers
to be attached to feature films or feature documentaries and grants
for workshops to progress the development of projects, for example
casting or development workshops.
The unit works with the Indigenous filmmaking community in developing
strategies for enhancing the employment and training opportunities
for Indigenous filmmakers.
feature project received development funding:
Outer Limits (w/d: Ivan Sen).
films receiving development funding were:
Plains Empty (w/d: Beck Cole)
Bush (w/d: Warwick Thornton)
Djarn Djarns (w/d: Wayne Blair, p: Kylie du Fresne)
Dreaming (w/d: Darlene Johnson, with David Gulpilil)
Primitive (w/d: Catriona Mckenzie, p: Aline Jacques)
Black Thing (w/d: Rima Tamou, p: Pauline Clague)
Colours (w/d: Samantha Saunders) and
Tale (w/d: Erica Glynn).
One animation received development funding:
- Search for Kudanew (w/d: Denise Groves, p: Jennifer Gerhardi).
series receiving development funding were:
Kooris (writer/originator: Anita Heiss, p: Prue Adams)
the Edge (w/p: Dot West)
Creek (w/p: Sam Conway)
Jungi (w/p: Kimba Thompson)
Kirrili Jones (w: Jane Harrison), Nevermind (w: Paula
(w: Gina Rings)
(w/d: Mark Olive) and
Time (w/d: Rima Tamou, w/p: Pauline Clague).
One interactive digital media project received development
Hut/Close to the Bone (w/d: Idis Art, p: Suzanne Ryan).
The Indigenous Unit committed production investment towards the
inaugural ScreenWest Indigenex Initiative for Indigenous
filmmakers. One short drama will be funded into production.
short drama The Djarn Djarns received AFC Indigenous
Unit development and production investment funding as part of
the 'Dramatically Black' initiative. It was written and directed
by Wayne Blair and produced by Kylie du Fresne.
Black', the current drama initiative of the Indigenous Unit,
has finished its development phase with two projects completing
production in this financial year. The aim is to support
Indigenous filmmakers with at least one short fiction film credit
to consolidate their work in the longer format.
The initiative has been established in association with SBSi, who
is offering a presale and investment in each project. The FTO and
South Australian Film Corporation are also providing production
investment in projects selected or shooting in their states.
A six-day cinematic storytelling workshop was held in the first
week of October for the eight shortlisted writer/directors.
A mini-studio was set up in the St Scholastica's School in Glebe
with four sets of video camera equipment and three video editing
suites. Four cinematographers joined the workshop for the week (Martin
McGrath, Kim Batterham, Ellery Ryan and Nino Martinetti) along with
three editors (Tania Nehme, Mark Perry and Karen Johnson) to shoot
and edit for the filmmakers.
Specialists were called on as required. Garry McDonald worked with
one of the filmmakers on creating comedy, Rowan Woods worked with
two filmmakers on creating suspense and tension on-screen, Shawn
Seet (MDA) worked on directing and editing, and Mike Bullen
(Cold Feet) worked on writing romantic comedy. The filmmakers
were all able to workshop their scripts with actors and to shoot
and edit at least two key scenes.
Actors included numerous well-known Indigenous performers such as
Aaron Pedersen, Lisa Flanagan, Luke Carroll and David Gulpilil (who
is the co-creator of one of the films) and other actors such as
Victoria Longley, Tina Bursill, Tony Bonner and Zoe Carides. Don
McAlpine gave a keynote address on cinematography and Rowan Woods
gave a masterclass on his experiences in creating work, using The
Boys as an example.
The five projects selected for production are:
Black Thing (w/d: Rima Tamou, p:
Dreaming (w/d: Darlene Johnson, p: Sue Milliken)
Bush (w/d: Warwick Thornton, p: Kath Shelper)
Plains Empty (w/d: Beck Cole, p: Kath Shelper)
Djarn Djarns (w/d: Wayne Blair, p: Kylie du Fresne).
for Series Television Workshop - Third Stage
unit conducted the Writing for Series Television Workshop for Indigenous
writers and producers during 2003. The aim of the program is to
equip Indigenous writers and producers with the skills required
in the area of television drama, as well as to forge connections
with television producers and networks in the Australian industry.
Filmmakers attending the workshop were supported by their state
funding agencies: Film Victoria, Pacific Film and Television Commission,
ScreenWest, and the South Australian Film Corporation. The agencies
have provided grants towards travel and accommodation and/or attachment
costs for the workshop.
Starting in March, a five-day introductory week was held in the
AFC theatrette for 14 participants. Kelly Lefever, the workshop
facilitator, took the participants through a block of Home and
Away. The aim was to give them the skills to enable them to
be 'writers for hire' on existing shows. Jimmy McGovern and Mac
Gudgeon attended the workshop for two sessions to talk about their
second stage involved each participant undertaking an attachment
with a series television production. Producing and writing attachments
were completed on All Saints, Blue Heelers, Kath and Kim, Home
and Away, Neighbours and The Secret Life of Us. Each
production was asked to request a speculative script submission
from the writers.
The final six-day residential week focused on developing participants'
own ideas for television series. Highly experienced script producer
Kelly Lefever once again oversaw the week. The UK's Cold Feet
creator and writer Mike Bullen and local script editor/writer Jon
Stephens attended the second half of the week to conduct one-on-one
feedback sessions with each participant about their series idea.
Mike gave a keynote address about the creation and writing of Cold
Feet. He also gave a sneak preview of his new series Life
As an extra incentive for further development of their ideas, the
Indigenous Unit offered seed development grants of $5,000 for each
participant to take their idea to the next stage of development.
projects receiving development funding were:
442 (w/d: Mitch Torres, p: Citt Williams - CAAMA Productions)
Me in the Blue Tarp (w/d: Darin Ballangarry)
Not the Money, it's the Land (w/d: Mitch Torres, p: Tom Zubrycki)
Australians (w/d/p: Rachel Perkins, p: Darren Dale) and
(w: JC Renshaw, Brett Bailey).
One documentary project received production funding:
Story (w/d: Debbie Gittens, p: Brian Beaton).
Indigenous Documentary Fund
National Indigenous Documentary Fund (NIDF) is a fundamental
cornerstone in the Indigenous film and television industry. It provides
production opportunities for new and emerging Indigenous documentary
filmmakers and gives support to a strong documentary impulse in
The Indigenous Unit assumed a management role on Series 5 and is
continuing this role for Series 6 in association with Indigenous
Screen Australia (ISA). The FFC has committed funding to the NIDF
for the first time on Series 6. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Commission (ATSIC) and the state agencies provided development
and production funding, and SBS is the broadcaster.
Projects selected for development and production are:
Sisters (w: Peter Bartlett, w/d: Beck Cole, p: CAAMA Productions)
Death Us Do Part (w/d: Adrian Wills, p: Sienna Brown)
(w/d: Tracey Rigney, p: Carmel McAloon)
of Love (w/d: Lawrence Johnston, p: Peter George, Lawrence
(w: Tom E Lewis, d: Ivan Sen, p: CAAMA Productions).
continues to be a high demand for travel grants from Indigenous
practitioners to attend international festivals and conferences.
The Indigenous Unit provided 16 grants totalling just over $50,000
for attendance at festivals conferences and events.
The unit also funded three attachments, and co-ordinated the attachments
for the Writing for Series Television Workshop.
short feature Queen of Hearts received AFC Indigenous
Unit development and production investment funding. Part of
the 'Fifty/Fifty' initiative, it was written and directed by
Danielle Maclean and produced by Charlotte Seymour. It screened
at the Chicago International Television Competition (Mar 2004)
and won the Certificate of Merit, Feature Length Telefilm -
receiving funding were:
Video Production Workshop (Murray Lui, Denise Haslem, Trevor Graham)
Turkey Casting Workshop (w/d: Steven McGregor, p: Priscilla
Indigenous Unit hosted a delegation of 10 Canadian Aboriginal producers
during their visit to Australia. The delegation was visiting Australia
and New Zealand, seeking out co-production opportunities between
Maori, Indigenous and Canadian producers.
Festival and Lecture Tour in Japan
Glynn (Project Manager) attended the Australian Film Focus in Tokyo
and participated in a lecture tour to universities and schools in
Japan on Indigenous filmmaking in Australia. The lecture tour was
organised by the Australian Embassy and the Japan/Australia Foundation.
The films Mimi, Shit Skin and One Night the Moon
were subtitled and screened as part of the lecture series.
unit funded the Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival held at
the Sydney Opera House. Film screened included the Australian premiere
of Wirriya: Small Boy and Mr Patterns as well as Indigenous
films from Canada, the US and New Zealand.
unit provided film prints to the Sami (Norway), Arizona and Jurlique
LA (US), Solothurner Filmtage (Switzerland), New Zealand, Dreamtime
(Berlin) and First Short (South Africa) film festivals.
unit contributes to AFC policy development issues relevant to its
area and assesses projects with Indigenous content that are submitted
to the Film Development Branch. It provides an industry focus for
uniting screen organisations across Australia to promote Indigenous
filmmakers and screen culture, and acts as a conduit for the Indigenous
industry to have a voice in the wider film industry. The unit also
plays a key role in Indigenous film policy development, as well
as providing significant input to the AFC's work in developing industry
policy in Australia.
Manager Indigenous Unit, Sally Riley, participates in the Archive
Indigenous Unit working party, which is investigating setting up
a unit within the Archive to concentrate on the significant collection
of Indigenous audiovisual materials.
She also attends Indigenous Screen Australia meetings to maintain
contact with industry members and to co-develop policy initiatives.
Indigenous Film and Television Training Strategy
Indigenous Film and Television Training Strategy is being jointly
developed by the Indigenous Unit, Indigenous Screen Australia (ISA)
The objective of a national training strategy is to ensure that
training opportunities match training needs. In determining this,
the strategy will identify existing career paths, levels of training
and accreditation, as well as those technical and creative roles
which do not have active Indigenous participation and then make
recommendations for how training might address these deficiencies.
The strategy will also identify active existing policies that encourage
self-representation and determine the best base for a coordinator
to implement the resulting strategy.
The initiative was launched in November 2003 by the Hon Daryl Williams,
then Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the
Television Working Party
Riley has been participating in the working party on Indigenous
television which has been meeting during the year.
Before 1 January 2005, the Minister for Communications, Information
Technology and the Arts is required by the Broadcasting Services
Act to conduct nine separate reviews into various aspects of
the digital television conversion scheme for commercial and national
One of the reviews is looking at:
the viability of creating an Indigenous television broadcasting
service and the regulatory arrangements that should apply to the
digital transmission of such a service using spectrum in the broadcasting
this review in mind, ISA and the Australian Indigenous Communications
Association (AICA) have formed the Indigenous Television Working
Members are: Rachel Perkins (ISA), Wayne Wharton (Acting GM AICA),
Owen Cole (CAAMA), Sally Riley (AFC), Rod Bishop (industry representative),
Jan Forrester (industry representative), Russell Bomford (IRCA),
John Corker (Director, Australian National Pro Bono Resource Centre),
Jason Ramp (independent filmmaker), Cilla Collins (AICA Chair),
Bess Price (IMPARJA TV) and Peter Johnson (SEIMA).
The working party's aim is to provide a submission to DCITA that
is an 'all of industry' supported position on the model for a National
Indigenous Television Service, incorporating feedback from the Indigenous
Indigenous Communications Association (AICA)
Riley attended the AICA annual general meeting and conference, 24-26
May, in Sydney. Delegates working in Indigenous broadcasting and
media came from around Australia with representatives from radio,
film and TV, print and online. This was the inaugural AGM for the
newly incorporated association.
Roads Film Project
Riley was appointed to the board of the All Roads Film Project created
by National Geographic. The program was created to provide a broader
platform for Indigenous minority-culture storytellers who work in
film and video. To be held in October 2004, the All Roads Film Project
has as its centrepiece a film festival designed to showcase Indigenous
filmmakers' work from around the world. The project will support
international talent with grants, access to National Geographic's
own media outlets, masterclasses, and networking opportunities with
power brokers from the world of independent film and the mainstream
of the entertainment industry.
Other Australians appointed to the board include Leah Purcell and
Bain Stewart. International appointees include Bird Runningwater
(Sundance Institute), actors Kiefer Sutherland and Stockard Channing,
David Beal (President, Palm Pictures) and Alicia B Adams (Vice President,
Dance and International Programming, John F Kennedy Centre for the
and Ethics Conference, NZ
Riley attended the Nga Pae o te Maramatanga Centre for Research
Excellence for the Maori Conference in Wellington, New Zealand,
as a keynote speaker. The conference theme was research ethics,
tikanga Maori/Indigenous and protocols for working with communities.
Indigenous Unit hosted a visit by Bird Runningwater, programmer
for the Sundance Film Festival, in June 2004. Bird was special guest
at the Message Sticks Festival at the Sydney Opera House and presented
a selection of Native American films that had screened in the Sundance
Native Forum. He also visited the set of Green Bush and the
cutting room of The Djarn Djarns, met with local Indigenous
filmmakers and spoke at open forums in Sydney and Melbourne.
Production Development Association (SPADA), NZ
Riley attended the SPADA conference and spoke on a panel entitled
Culturally Specific, Internationally Successful.
Film Festival 2003
Riley spoke on the Indigenous Perspectives panel at the Sydney Film
Festival. Other panellists were Frances Peters-Little, Tom Eccles,
Erica Glynn and Terri Janke.
following Indigenous Unit-funded films screened at international
festivals. See Appendix 3 for details
Talk (w/d: Wayne Blair, p: Kylie du Fresne)
Skin (w/d: Nicholas Boseley, p: Kimba Thompson)
Around (w/d: Samantha Saunders, p: Jenny Day)
(w/d: Beck Cole; p: Rachel Perkins, Darren Dale)
(w/d: Warwick Thornton; p: Rachel Perkins, Darren Dale).
Turkey was nominated for two AFI awards: Best Script and Best
Actor (Open Craft award) for John Moore.