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Three films greenlit for production under SAFC First Nations Short Film initiative

31 March 2023
First Nations filmmakers Tammy Coleman-Zweck, Adam Jenkins and Travis Akbar, images supplied.

Three First Nations South Australian filmmakers have each been awarded a grant to take their fresh and original new short film projects into production under the South Australian Film Corporation’s (SAFC) First Nations Short Film Initiative.

Writer/director Travis Akbar, writer/producer Tammy Coleman-Zweck and writer/director Adam Jenkins will each receive the SAFC First Nations Short Film Production Grant of up to $45,000 in addition to up to $10,000 of film equipment hire provided by Panavision.

Akbar’s Warriors, Coleman-Zweck’s Black Time, White Time and Jenkins’ The Getaway were all developed through the first phase of the initiative in 2022, the SAFC’s First Nations Short Film Writers’ Program. Over a six month period the filmmakers worked with industry mentor and SAFC First Nations Screen Strategy Executive Pauline Clague and experienced script consultant Taryne Laffar through workshops and mentoring to develop their short film concepts into polished final drafts.

Now in phase two, the three filmmakers and their teams, which include First Nations producers and directors, will take their short films into production.

Arts Minister Andrea Michaels said: “The Malinauskas Government is proud to support South Australian First Nations people to tell their stories through the power of film. These grants will support three talented emerging filmmakers to take their project to the big screen and I’m looking forward to seeing the films that are produced.”

SAFC First Nations Screen Strategy Executive Pauline Clague said: “The SAFC First Nations Short Film Initiative is just one of many initiatives launched under the SAFC’s First Nations Screen Strategy designed to grow, highlight and support South Australian First Nations voices and perspectives and advance the careers of South Australian First Nations screen practitioners. This support from the SAFC and Panavision will assist these emerging First Nations filmmakers to develop and hone their skills, enable them to gain credits and experience, and expand their professional networks, all of which will help to advance their careers in the screen industry.”

SAFC First Nations Industry Development Executive Tyme Childs said: “I congratulate Travis Akbar, Tammy Coleman-Zweck, Adam Jenkins and their teams on moving forward into production with their exciting short film projects, and I look forward to seeing their careers continue to progress and expand thanks to these significant opportunities. I also look forward to continuing to work with SAFC First Nations Screen Strategy Executive Pauline Clague, SAFC CEO Kate Croser and the rest of the SAFC team to grow and support South Australia’s First Nations screen sector.”

South Australian Film Corporation CEO Kate Croser said: “Congratulations to these talented emerging filmmakers and their teams. The strength of each script combined with the talent and passion of the teams, backed by support from the SAFC and Panavision, will 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.”

Panavision National Sales and Marketing Manager Nic Godoy said: “Panavision has a long and proud tradition in supporting filmmakers at all stages of their professional development. We are incredibly honoured and excited to sponsor the 2023 SAFC First Nations Short Film Fund. We look forward to meeting and working with the recipient filmmakers, and assist in their vision to become reality.”

The announcement follows the recent international success of short film Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) from First Nations South Australian writer/director Derik Lynch and South Australian writer/director Matthew Thorne, which was developed under the SAFC, Adelaide Film Festival and Panavision Short Film Production Initiative in 2020. The film 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.

Previous SAFC First Nations short film initiatives have included the 2020 Adelaide Film Festival Welcome to Country Video program, which assisted several First Nations practitioners to gain work as Heads of Department with filmmaker Rolf de Heer on feature film The Survival of Kindness, which was invited to Competition at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival, and short documentary series Deadly Family Portraits broadcast on ABC iview. 

About the Projects

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?


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