It’s a WRAP!!!!

After an amazing week back at Robinvale P-12 College we have captured some amazing footage that will now be part of the two films that the Harmony on the Murray  team is creating.

The 9 young people that have been involved were thrown straight back into the project on Monday morning, revising what we had learnt during the first workshop and storyboarding for their films. The films being made are around “Talented people in Robinvale” (an idea pitched by participant Moj) and “Religion & Spirituality in Robinvale” (an idea pitched by participant Ofiu).  Both really big topics with heaps to explore within such a dynamic community like Robinvale.

Shoot with Eric for the ‘Talent’ film. © Pacific Stories 2012

“Talented people in Robinvale”  saw the film makers look into the lives of Chrissy Ale- a 16 year old singer who is working hard to become a professional singer when she leaves school.  With a voice of an angel, Chrissy performs across the region.  Chrissy’s song that she wrote and plays guitar to will definitly be a major feature of the film!!  We also met Eric Peniongo who is a 12 year old drummer with mad skills!!  Eric is a drummer for the Robinvale Brass band- which is headed up by Tongan conductor Siua and has a 20 strong membership- you should hear them play R-E-S-P-E-C-T!  We also meet the newly established Hip-Hop dance crew “MIXTURES” who mix cultures and dances to come up with their own dances.  Congratulations to Jarome, Mary, Sarah and Moj for working as such a great crew on the film.

“Religion & Spirituality in Robinvale” allowed the film makers Lillian, Juanita, Kadeasha, Dua and  Leone to explore religion and spirituality from both the Tongan and Indigenous perspective.  A massive topic, the filmmakers interviewed three prominent community members.  Sissy Petit, who is a cultural advisor and grew up in and around Robinvale was filmed down at “Easter Camp” along the Murray River.  Sissy spoke about cultural connection to country and it’s importance to Indigneous people.  We heard stories from that land and learnt things that we didn’t know about Robinvale’s first people.  Thelma Chilly was also interviewed, she explored Spirituality and Christianity and the role that it has played in her life.  From the Tongan community, Alefosio Ale who is the P-12 Chaplain and Pastor of the Wesleyan Methodist Church.  Ale (who is also Chrissy’s dad) talked about his role as a Pastor and how it informs him as a community and youth worker.

Interview with Sissi Petit at ‘Easter Camp’. © Pacific Stories 2012.

Overall, the community of Robinvale has again been incredibly gracious and generous with sharing their time and stories with the film makers.  We now have heaps of great footage that we are taking back to Melbourne to get edited with assistance from some of the Young Media Makers Project crew.

Participants, Facilitators and Project Supporters on our last day. © Pacific Stories 2012.

The screening has been booked for Tuesday June 26th in Robinvale so mark the date in your calendar and stay tuned for more information  about what is going to be another amazing Pacific Stories event. We have a group of students developing and managing the screening event.

Pacific Stories would like to thanks all who have participated in week 2 of this project.  From the filmmakers and their parents who have supported them to be part of this project, the school staff and all of the community that we have worked with and our project partners, funders and supporters.  A special thanks to Glenn in the music room who has allowed us to use his space and gear.  It takes a community to raise a child – and in Robinvale there is such a supportive community behind these children – we feel very blessed to be a part of it!!

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Pacific Stories – Harmony on the Murray PRESS RELEASE


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 Stories – Harmony 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.

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For further information please contact Pacific Stories on

Pacific Stories SCREENING

We have been working hard since December and have just started shooting our films.  See the details of our screening below book before June 10. (Bookings Now Closed)

"This is My Culture" written and directed by Ranu James/ photo by Amie Batalibasi

** Any trouble with the Booking Form, please email details to:

Date: Saturday 25 June
Location: Footscray Community Arts Centre
45 Moreland St, Footscray, Victoria 3011
• street parking available • train to Footscray Station • bus 216 or 402 OR  219 or 220
Time: Doors Open 4:30pm for a 5:00pm start
Details: $5 entry to be paid at the door (includes food and entertainment after screening). Kids under 12 free.
Booking: BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL. Book before 10 June 2011
More Info & Enquiries: Find Pacific Stories on Facebook, Phone: 0405 926 209, Email:
Supported by:  Multicultural Arts Victoria, Australia Council for the Arts, Footscray Community Arts Centre

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