A film program as part of the Clancestry celebration.

BY ANDREA BRIGGS

Our Black Screen program was part of this year’s Clancestry: A Celebration of Country, the annual week-long festival celebrating the arts and cultural practices of the world’s First Nations’ Peoples, with a particular focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. It is produced by the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane (QPAC)

This year, Black Screen teamed with QPAC for the first time and introduced a film program as part of the Clancestry celebration.

We presented a fantastic line-up of Indigenous short dramas and documentaries over three nights, and the selection was tailored to feed into three conversations curated by Dr Chelsa Bond: #BLACKACTIVISM, #NOTSOBLACK and #SOVEREIGNTYX.

Richard Bell, Andrea Briggs, Gary Foley

Richard Bell, Andrea Briggs, Gary Foley

The first night saw a big turn out and it was an absolute pleasure to have one of Australia’s talented filmmakers, Dunghutti woman Darlene Johnson, to introduce her first short film Two Bob Mermaid.

Created nearly 20 years ago in 1996, it’s a story inspired by Darlene’s mother’s experiences growing up under the assimilation period of the 1950s. It deals with the effects of racism on a fair-skinned Aboriginal teenager. This is one of many films in which Darlene explores themes of race, identity and perception in both documentary and fiction.

We were also privileged to have Gumbainggir man Dr Gary Foley, activist, academic, writer and actor, as our guest on the Second Conversation #BLACKACTIVSM. Dr Foley was part of a panel which included inspiring Professor Gracelyn Smallwood, Luke Pearson and Amy McQuire, that discussed the role of Black Media in the digital age. This was then followed by the Black Screen film event and Dr Foley’s introduction of Basically Black, the first ever all-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander TV show seen in Australia. It was shown on ABC-TV in 1973 and, according to Dr Foley, it was heavily censored and politically ‘watered-down’. The TV version was a success but did not continue as a series. It was co-written by Dr Foley and Bob Maza and starred Foley, Maza, Bindi Williams, Zac Martin and Aileen Corpus.

Clancestry is a natural home for Black Screen as it draws on rich spiritual culture and provides a space to learn about, and connect with, clan groups across the country. In presenting performances, workshops, free events and conversations, the festival celebrates a diverse and stimulating mix of the traditional and contemporary. Black Screen is proud to have been part of the festival, bringing great Indigenous film and Indigenous filmmakers to the Clancestry audiences.

Films shown by Black Screen at Clancestry 2015

  • Two Bob Mermaid
  • Jubulj
  • Black Chicks Talking
  • Shit Skin
  • Mimi
  • 30th Anniversary of the Commonwealth Games Protests 1982
  • Basically Black
  • Babakiueria
  • Shifting Sands shorts
  • Black Comedy EP Serious 1