Pacific Stories – Harmony on the Murray PRESS RELEASE

YOUNG PEOPLE IN ROBINVALE USE THE MEDIUM OF FILM TO TALK ABOUT IDENTITY, CULTURE & RELIGION.

A group of young people from Robinvale P-12 College are talking about issues important to them by making short documentary films to be screened in Robinvale in June.

Harmony on the Murray project. © Pacific Stories 2012

The group of 9 young people are participants in a community filmmaking project called Pacific StoriesHarmony on the Murray where they have had the opportunity to learn how to make films with guidance from filmmakers & project facilitators Amie Batalibasi & Lia Pa’apa’a from Melbourne. The group of young people are from Pacific Islander and Indigenous communities in reflection of Robinvale’s Aboriginal & Islander Harmony Committee.

The young people were involved in a week long intensive in March where they learnt everything from storyboarding, to camera operation, sound and editing; and had group discussions about culture, identity and religion to come up with the two film ideas that are being shot around Robinvale this week– Talented Young People in Robinvale and Religion & Spirituality in Robinvale.

“The Harmony on the Murray project allows young people from Robinvale to explore their own identity, the identity of others through the medium of film. I think that the participants have found a lot of strength and beauty within their own communities by exploring the film topics of talent and religion” says Lia Pa’apa’a.

One of the participants, 15-year-old Lillian explains, “I think it’s important to be part of this project because if you have a message to tell people and you don’t have a voice, this project is the perfect opportunity for you get your message out and it’s also a great way to learn the different techniques about filming.”

This week, now that the stories for the two documentaries are confirmed, the students are behind the camera, filming around Robinvale, interviewing their peers and other respected community members.

“It’s been fantastic to see the young people working together as a film crew and figuring out group dynamics. Filmmaking is not an easy process. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing but we certainly are working together to learn and grow as a team throughout this process. Lia and I really expect a lot from them – and we are using professional filming equipment – so they have really done well and stepped up to the challenge,” says filmmaker Amie Batalibasi.

© Pacific Stories – Harmony on the Murray 2012.

Facilitators Amie and Lia are both filmmaker/ artists based in Melbourne and the Harmony on the Murray project is a continuation from Pacific Stories, a short film project run in Melbourne in 2011 where eight people from Pacific Islander backgrounds produced stories around culture and identity. “Pacific Stories was the start of what has become a great working relationship between Amie and I but also a vehicle for us to engage other communities across Australia. It has showed us that there is a need to empower community through film in order for them tell their stories to broader communities,” says Lia Pa’apa’a

Amie adds, “It is such a pleasure and a privilege to be here in Robinvale working with these young people and the community. The idea isn’t for us to come in and make a film about the community, but to share filmmaking skills with the participants so that they can tell their own stories in their own way. The young people are so creative and have come up with great ideas. I can’t wait to come back in June for the World Premiere Screening.”

Harmony on the Murray is funded by Regional Arts Victoria and Swan Hill Rural City Council. It is further supported by Robinvale P-12 College and Robinvale Network House.

To follow the project and see photos you can subscribe to the blog at http://pacificstories.wordpress.com OR find us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/pacificstories.

For further information please contact Pacific Stories on pacificstories@gmail.com

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