Three Stories from Country to premiere at Sydney Film Festival

Jirraginy Joo Goorrarndal: Frog and Brolga

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The SharingStories Foundation (SSF) in collaboration with Jaara, Gija and Bangerang First Nations Communities, is thrilled to announce the premiere of three short films from the Stories from Country collection, screening in the 68th Sydney Film Festival in November.

Each film is a fun and accessible telling of an ancient Creation story unique to each Community, combining traditional and digital storytelling techniques, and integrating animation, artwork, dance, songs, language, and cultural knowledge.

The visually rich, animated, all-ages films were all created on Country by young people working with Elders and Senior Cultural Custodians , as part of the inter-generational transfer of knowledge essential to cultural continuity.

Through the screenings at Sydney Film Festival the Communities welcome all audiences to experience and learn about their culture and stories in an engaging and vibrant new format.

The Eagle, The Crow and The Bat is a Jaara Dreaming story narrated by Senior Cultural Custodians Uncle Brien Nelson and his son Uncle Rick Nelson which tells the story of why the Eagle is the Lord of the Highlands, how the Crow discovered fire and protects the lowlands and how the Bat is seen as the peacekeeper.

Children from The Meeting Place Castlemaine and St Peters Primary School in Bendigo, worked with SharingStories to create the animated film.  The Eagle, The Crow and The Bat (4 minutes) was directed and produced by Uncle Rick Nelson and SSF’s Liz Thompson from a story handed down by Uncle Brien Nelson.

The film will screen in the Festival’s Family program, ahead of family feature film The Ape Star (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) on November 7 & 14.

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Meanwhile, the SFFTV big screen in Pitt Street Mall will feature two animated Stories from Country in its dazzling free lineup from Friday 29 October to Sunday 14 November.

Jirraginy Joo Goorrarndal: Frog and Brolga is a Creation story which tells of an event at the Gawarre (Bungle Bungles) brought into being the plants, animals and the Gija people.  Shared by the Gija Community of the East Kimberley region, the film was directed by Gija Elder and Gawarre Traditional Owner Shirley Drill, and SSF’s Taz Miller.

Dunggula: The Murray River is the fascinating Bangerang Creation story of the Murray River, and tells the story of Biami the powerful creator, and the journey of Gunyuk, the wise old lady who travelled a great distance to bring water to her people. The film is based on a story shared by Bangerang Elder, the late Uncle Sandy Atkinson, and was directed by Irene Hamlyn with SSF’s Taz Miller and Daen Sansbury-Smith.

Each film represents the extraordinary and collaborative work of the SharingStories Foundation, working in partnership with 17 First Nations Communities across the country to protect, maintain and grow language, stories and cultural heritage.

All three films screening in Sydney Film Festival also have free downloadable multi-touch digital books, which further expand on the stories with interactive maps, incorporating drone-footage and photographs, grounding the stories and language with the Country and people to whom they belong. All three books are also finalists for ‘Best Educational Ebook’  in the 2021 Australia Teacher of Media (ATOM) Awards.

With community partnerships spanning 20 years, SharingStories has created an extensive collection of work including interactive resources, educational materials, multi-media exhibitions, films and books in language, some of which have involved awakening sleeping languages, with the story able to be recorded and heard in language for the first time in generations. Specific related resources for teachers and schools will be released in 2022 via SharingStories’ Cultural Education Portal.

The Eagle, the Crow and the Bat
10:30am, Sunday 7 November at Ritz Cinema, Randwick
10:00am, Sunday 14 November at Event Cinemas George Street
Tix: http://sff.org.au/program/browse/the-eagle-the-crow-and-the-bat

SSFTV Friday 29 October to Sunday 14 November in Pitt Street Mall
SharingStories Foundation Films at SFFVTV here: sff.org.au/program/sfftv/

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