SAFC selects projects for First Nations Short Film Initiative

Tammy Coleman-Zweck, Adam Jenkins, and Travis Akbar.

South Australian filmmakers Travis Akbar, Tammy Coleman-Zweck, and Adam Jenkins will receive production grants of up to $45,000, as well as up to $10,000 of Panavision film equipment hire for their short film projects as part of the South Australian Film Corporation’s (SAFC) First Nations Short Film Initiative.

Akbar’s Warriors, Coleman-Zweck’s Black Time, White Time and Jenkins’ The Getaway were all developed through last year’s First Nations Short Film Writers’ Program.

Over a six-month period, the trio worked with industry mentor and SAFC First Nations screen strategy executive Pauline Clague and script consultant Taryne Laffar through workshops and mentoring to develop their short film concepts into polished final drafts. 

The filmmakers and their teams, which include First Nations producers and directors, will now take their short films into production.

In congratulating the grant recipients, SAFC CEO Kate Croser said the strength of each script combined with the talent and passion of the teams, backed by support from the SAFC and Panavision, would deliver “three outstanding short films that showcase and highlight South Australian First Nations voices, stories and screen capability”.

“Many of South Australia’s leading writers, directors and producers got their start in short films, and we are excited to support this new wave of South Australian First Nations key creatives to develop their craft and build their professional careers,” she said.

The announcement comes after Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne’s Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) – developed under the SAFC, Adelaide Film Festival and Panavision Short Film Production Initiative in 2020 – had its international premiere at the Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival) last month, where it won the prestigious Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) and the Teddy Award for Best Short Film.

The successful projects are as follows:

Writer/Director: Travis Akbar
Producer: Wayne Campbell, Adam Gerard
Synopsis: Arriving home from the horrendous Gallipoli campaign, young First Nations soldier Tambo heads to town for a drink with his digger mates before returning home. Feeling worthless after a racist incident, the traumatised Tambo treks into the bush to take his own life. Coming across another veteran, however, Tambo hears the truth about the land he fought for. With new feelings stirring, Tambo realises that the only place he wants to be is home.

Black Time, White Time
Writer/Producer: Tammy Coleman Zweck
Director: Edoardo Crismani
Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Florence is sent to live with her Deaf Aunty Janice after her parents’ divorce, where she must urgently learn Auslan language to communicate. As the red-headed, tech-savvy teen learns more about her Narungga heritage, she encounters her opposite – a reclusive, retired watchmaker who lives a lonely existence surrounded by his priceless clock and watch collection. With a generation gap of 60 years, complicated grief, cultural differences and an overprotective Aunty, the curious teen and the elderly widower clash, and challenge each other’s worldview.

The Getaway
Writer/Director: Adam Jenkins
Producer: Tim Harkness
Synopsis: Kyle Williams, a young Aboriginal man who recently lost his mother, decides to return to Country to find out where he belongs, leaving his pregnant girlfriend Sophia behind. Now, out of his comfort zone and out of luck, Kyle unwillingly disturbs a grave unleashing a spiritual protector that will stop at nothing for revenge. Can Kyle make it home safely and prevent Sophia from being drawn into the tangled web of terror?