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NAIDOC Week Spotlight: Colleen Raven Strangways

11 July 2024

Every year the South Australian Film Corporation celebrates NAIDOC Week by highlighting the work of First Nations screen creatives living and working in South Australia.

This year we are showcasing seven First Nations South Australian creatives who are currently in the midst of writing original short film scripts as part of phase one of the SAFC’s First Nations Short Film Program.

The program is well underway, with the writers participating in an intensive weekend workshop last month with experienced First Nations filmmakers and mentors Pauline Clague, Dena Curtis and Aaron Fa’aoso, and experienced producer Paul Ryan of Adelaide Studios based 57 Films.

Once their polished scripts are completed each writer will be eligible to team up with a director and producer to apply for phase two of the program, and have the opportunity to take their short film into production.

Find out more about the First Nations Short Film Program here.

In this article we meet Arabana and Mudbura Warlpiri creative Colleen Raven Strangways.

How long have you been involved in the screen industry? How did you get started?

I got started back in 2018. I attended a writer’s workshop in my hometown Alice Springs as part of the NT/SA Centralised initiative, so a few years ago now.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from the SAFC’s First Nations Short Film Program so far?

Structure and the simplicity of the approach to writing – which is hard to do when you have so much of the story in your head. The writer’s program got me to focus more and think outside the box.

What can you tell us about the script you’re working on? What has inspired you? What themes are you exploring?

As Blackfellas we are natural storytellers. We grew up with family always telling us stories. And my culture is something I have always presented in my work whether via my photography or film.

I grew up with and was influenced by such films as Women of the Sun, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, and The Fringe Dwellers. I was in awe of them. My script is something I see on the daily in the clash between our Western hospital systems and our bush hospitals and medicines, and how belief systems play into that.

I hope if it goes into production that people come away with a new perspective on the important role these things have within our lives.

What does NAIDOC Week mean to you?

NAIDOC is our blak Christmas. It’s where we get to celebrate and support both our up-and-coming Mob and our more established Mob in their chosen path. It’s recognition of the hard work and achievements in our communities, and I couldn’t be prouder of those in our community making it better for all of us.

Read our other 2024 NAIDOC Week Spotlight articles on emerging Ngarrindjeri creative Leesha ColeWongutha, Mirning, Barngarla, Ndaju, Gubrun and Bulang creative Shania Richards, Whadjuk Noongar creative Joshua Barbo and Kokatha Aboriginal/Greek creative Dylan Coleman.

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