A partnership between UnitingCare Community and Creative Regions, Indigenous Stories, Stories of Place gave a group of Indigenous teenagers a taste of filmmaking, and an occasion to represent their own lives and cultures, in their own voices.
Digital storytelling workshops were delivered in Bundaberg high schools by Stepping Black‘s Luke Barrowcliffe and Jenni Chew, and Sasha Mackay from Creative Regions.
These workshops enabled students to experiment with new technologies and processes of self-representation, and they encouraged young people to see their stories as interesting and as worth sharing.
The finished digital stories are touching, funny, honest, and provide a rare glimpse into how young people experience their lives. You can check them out on Vimeo.
This project also offered an outside of school Masterclass where Indigenous adults and school-leavers learned photography and filmmaking techniques and created a timelapse. The timelapse ‘Bunda Spirit’ captured iconic scenes and places, some of which are especially significant to Indigenous people. See it here.
The project concluded with the Full Tilt Film Festival – a free, public event at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre that celebrated each of these local stories. The students’ digital stories and ‘Bunda Spirit’ were screened alongside three of Luke Barrowcliffe’s short documentaries, each of which depicts the experiences of local Indigenous Elders and adults. The event’s focus was Indigenous voices, and all of the content screened were autobiographical accounts of Indigenous lives and culture.
Tonight I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, here in Bundaberg, but more than that I want to honour and acknowledge the pain and suffering experienced by those peoples in sharing this land with us. Tonight I’m feeling proud that I work for an organisation that promotes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories and narratives. Tonight at Moncrieff theatre I heard children, adults and elders tell their story of culture and country in Bundaberg and surrounds. I feel mixed emotions….I feel ashamed that the history I was taught was about settlement, and oh so flawed, I feel proud that for the last 15 years my children, my boys, were taught the same period of our history, but retold as invasion, and accurately. I feel humbled that our First Nations people show us patience, tolerance and humility while they teach us and pass their stories forward. I feel privileged to be an Australian and so so so so so so proud and humbled by the First Nations people who walked before me. May we continue to learn from you. Thanks Creative Regions for bringing this alive! We value your work and the integrity you bring to story telling. (Samantha Klintworth, Director – Community Services, UnitingCare Community.)
“Our students thoroughly enjoyed the experience, devoting their time and effort to create a truly professional product. We would like to thank all parties for the invitation to be involved and look forward to working with you again in future projects.” (Ross Robertson, Principal of North Bundaberg State High School.)
Words cannot express my gratitude to you and your Team for all your hard work over the six weeks. I truly believe in this programme to connect our young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to a storytelling medium they identify with, given the IT era we are in. Thank you. (Parent of youth participant.)
“It was very touching and candid.” (Audience member, Full Tilt Film Festival.)