A curated selection of documentaries from AFTRS students will be available to watch on SBS On Demand from next week, spanning topics as varied as ibises, First Nations astronomy and the journey of Afghan refugees.
The collection encompasses 14 films from second-year Bachelor of Arts students. Students were briefed to create a film no longer than five minutes that explores culture and unique identity in Australia.
“The talented creatives at AFTRS have explored a wide range of topics providing a unique look into the diverse perspectives and experiences of Australians. The incredible documentaries of this year’s showcase are moving, entertaining and enlightening,” said SBS On Demand and World Movies channel manager Haidee Ireland.
“SBS On Demand is thrilled to provide a platform for the next generation of talented documentary makers to share the stories they are so passionate about. We congratulate AFTRS on celebrating 50 years of inspiring and guiding the future of screen and broadcast creatives.”
AFTRS CEO Nell Greenwood added: “AFTRS is really proud of this partnership with SBS. We had fantastic success with the program last year – it was an incredible experience for our students to screen their films to thousands of people across Australia.
“SBS and AFTRS share a commitment to identifying and nurturing new Australian voices and connecting these voices to audiences across Australia, so this continuing collaboration to showcase our School’s emerging documentary talent is exciting and rewarding.”
The AFTRS Documentary Showcase will be available to stream free from May 1.
Born of Water Born of Water follows Mary Goslett, a woman with a deep and special connection to water, who guides us through not only her love for the ocean and swimming, but also why it benefits all of us spiritually, mentally and physically.
Creatives: Anoushka Sutton (Director), Emilie Ziolkowski (Producer), Mary Goslett (Participant).
The Creative Moment
The elusive spark of creativity can occur at any moment but it’s how we recognise it that matters. One spontaneous thought, if acted upon can determine the entirety of an artwork with unexpected, yet beautiful results. Challenged to paint from an unseen prompt, Lincoln Johns must let his intuition take over and embrace the unknown. The Creative Moment provides a reflection on the innate desire we have as creative beings to express our inner thoughts and passions through our work to others.
Creatives: Jasmine Hair (Director), Anoushka Sutton (Producer), Lincoln Johns (Participant).
Dirty Bird Dirty Bird explores the story of the Australian White Ibis and their ability to adapt to urban environments. Called out as the “bin chicken”, this film explores how the ibis deserves more of our respect than you might think, even if they don’t show us any. It shines a light on their ironic symbolism in Australian culture and alludes to the conservation message they represent, although maybe not noticed.
Creatives: Hugo Bittar (Director), Hayden Jones (Producer), Dr Grainne Cleary (Participant), Matt Chard (Participant), Phil Shaw (Participant).
Disinherited Disinherited tells the story of Maya, who has become estranged from her parents. The cause for their strained relationship? Vaccination-based conspiracy theories, that engulfed social media in 2020. Depicted through re-enactments and visual imagery, this film aims to delve into the roots of how misinformation is spread on social media.
Finding Home Finding Home follows Zia and his family’s story of seeking refuge in Australia after the Taliban threatened their safety in Afghanistan. The film highlights the simultaneous triumphs and obstacles they encounter while trying to find a new home on the other side of the world.
Creatives: Grace Rodgers (Director), Oliver Roach (Producer), Ziaullah Zia (Participant), Melanie Morrison (Participant), Marie Kosta (Participant).
Guide to First Nations Astronomy The Guide to First Nations Astronomy is a documentary exploring Wiradjuri people’s connections to the stars. First Nations people have used astronomy for thousands of years. Kirsten Banks, an astrophysicist and science communicator, tells us the stories that have connected her Wiradjuri community to the stars for generations.
House Lights Down House Lights Down tells the story of the mysterious invisible forces that keep the Aussie entertainment industry going round. The film hears from technicians to tour managers as they take us through the fast-paced intricacies of the gig industry and help the audience appreciate the ‘village’ it takes to put on a live show.
Creatives: Annabelle Richens (Director), Luca Blades (Producer), Howard Freeman (Participant), Tim Bradsmith (Participant), Clare O’Doherty (Participant).
The Little Bodies In The Little Bodiesa modern-day Newtown barista uncovers the chilling truth and legend of the John and Sarah Makin baby murdering case, and its continued influence on the city of Sydney centuries on.
The Little Things The Little Things explores the ideas of present moment awareness and gratitude for the little things and moments in our day that we normally take for granted. With inspiring subjects such as Jony Badenhorst, Jeremy Yao and Barbara Simpson and the use of beautiful scenery, we explore the little things.
Creatives: Anna Cocquerel (Director and Co-Producer), Mack Callan (Co-Producer), Joany Badenhorst (Participant), Barbara Simpson (Participant), Jeremy Yao (Participant).
Lockdown Locals When her suburb was hit with Sydney’s harshest lockdown, fashion photographer Cara brought Hurlstone Park together by shooting free portraits in front of her house. One year later, members of the community come together again to reflect on what Lockdown Locals means to them and why it was so special.
Creative: Amelia Pieri (Director), Jasmine Hair (Producer), Cara O’Dowd (Cast), Ambrose Hayes (Cast), Shirley Milward (Cast), Liza Hathcock (Cast), Bruce Hathcock (Cast).
The Past and Pending In The Past and Pending a quiet, self-reflective observational documentary, a collection of people reminisce and reflect on their time at college, realising how it set them on the lifepath each of them now lead.
Creatives: Hugo Kent (Director), Hiruni Dharmasena (Producer), Michelle Laurie (Cast), Pooja Parashar (Cast), Ellis Swinbourne (Cast), Jai Bhayana (Cast), Erin Leavy (Cast), Remi Ferguson (Cast), Caitlin Bartie (Cast), Brydie Zorz (Cast), Shelby Robertson (Cast), Ren Kikuchi (Cast), Ahutosh Goel (Cast), Hugo Kent (Cast).
Sex and Solitude Sex and Solitude is a poetic, observational documentary that explores Meg Rodgers, a 65-year-old queer woman. Through Meg we see a character portrait of a mature Australian woman as framed through her sexual fantasies, slowly uncovering her relationship to ageing and desire.
Creatives: Rhory Mackellar (Co-Director), Heidi Shih (Co-Director), Mia Tikellis (Producer), Meg Dione-Rodgers (Cast).
THEY SKATE THEY SKATE is a character driven documentary tracking Dani Southcombe, a non-binary, queer, and neurodiverse skateboarder’s journey to a local queer skateboarding meet. Through their experience traveling as a minority within society, they reflect on the importance of this small skate community in providing a safe space in their lives.
Creatives: Jacqui Sharah (Director), Kristen Settinelli (Producer), Dani (Cast).
We Just Live Here Sollyy, a young DJ, producer, Triple J radio host and culture leader of the Western Sydney music scene, articulates his inspiring visions for the future of his area, friends, and self, while preparing for their first of many shows in the Western Suburbs.