Written by Joanne Warkill and presented at the Australian South Sea Islander Stories Film Festival, 14 December 2014 at The Edge, Brisbane.
First of all I acknowledge my God for all his blessings, secondly I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land in which we stand on today. I acknowledge all elders past and present and elders here today including my mum and dad Monica and Joe Leo.
I would like to thank the ASSI Secretariat body for thinking of this great project and for obtaining the funding from Australia Council for Arts. I thank the funding body for giving us this opportunity in gaining some extra skills in video production and making. Of course I thank the team and other participants that participated in this project. To Amie our creative producer for all her hard work and I mean Hard Work, hey Amie?
When I first received an email about workshops on learning to create video, small documentary films, my first thought was: “Oh how awesome this would be to learn because we have a lot of elders who still yet to tell their stories and would be great if we learnt how to do this so we can then pass onto other families so they can in turn tell their stories by creating their own documentaries”.
I have worked voluntary and non voluntary in the ASSI community and the indigenous community for the past 30 years. I have had a strong South Sea island upbringing and might add a strict upbringing by my parents here.
My experience in making this film and helping others to make theirs was very rewarding . My husband and I have had fun and laughter in making our films, but also had frustrations. Our journey started when we participated in our first workshop on Stradbroke Island what a beautiful island, what a beautiful setting. It was an enjoyable weekend of work and play, meeting new faces and seeing old faces again and was truly a blessing.
Having some stories told by our Aunty Valda Coolwell was also amazing. We learnt about storytelling, storyboards, shot lists, call sheets, and media consent. Whilst on Stradbroke Island we were also taught the history about this island and attended some historical sites by Georgia Corowa, her husband Mat Burns and family.
With our storyboards we drew our pictures and I remember thinking: “Oh my goodness how am I suppose to draw this and that?” It took me back to old school days of learning how to illustrate things. This workshop also taught me how to think ahead for our story, from the beginning to the middle to the end of the story. What story do we want our film to portray? So then we would write down our ideas on how we wanted our story to be shown and told. That was a big exercise in itself.
Then in October we actually had to shoot our film so then we co-ordinated dates with Amie to do this. Amie is such a great teacher. We were shown more of how to hold the camera and narrate on films. Having the right settings in the backgrounds and also settings on the camera. I remember learning how to hold the camera in a car while the car is moving, making sure I was capturing the right scene – it was fun, even falling in the sand was great, hey Jacintha?
Then after doing camera work and interviewing people for our films, we would edit our own films, we were lucky in this area to have our neice Kaylene Butler, who is a producer in Rockhampton, to show us some hints. My husband Kerry Warkill knows more about editing than me, so he will be showing me more editing when we make more films.
My film was very emotional to me remembering 150 years ago why our ancestors were brought here to Australia and why our community held the ASSI Gala Event to signify this. One of my daughters Joella, who dances in the film was also effected emotionally. As I am sure all of the other participants were effected this way while they were completing their own films.
I am confident you all here will enjoy tonights films and once again thank everyone involved in this project for giving us such an awesome experience we will never forget.