The entire ASSI Stories series of short films is available to watch online for free! Find stories exploring Australian South Sea Islander identity, heritage and culture by first-time writer/directors Jessika Bezgovsek, Danita Merrypor, Jacintha Bezgovsek, Kerry Warkill, John Corowa, Joanne Warkill & Alison Edwards.
Aunty Valda’s Story by Jessika Bezgovsek
This animated documentary brings to life, the story of a well respected community elder Aunty Valda Coolwell. Aunty Valda talks of how her grandfather was blackbirded from Vanuatu to Australia and the life he built for himself and his family in Queensland. This touching film was written and directed by 10 year old Jess – the youngest ASSI Stories participant.
Wholeheartedly by Danita Merrypor
This short documentary features Australian South Sea Islander singer/ songwriter Georgia Corowa. A well seasoned musician and performer, this film showcases Georgia’s journey and explores the role that music and storytelling has played in her life; the discovery of her South Sea Islander heritage; and the importance of music for her children and into the future.
Counting Bottle Trees by Jacintha Bezgovsek
‘Counting Bottle Trees’ is based on Jacintha’s childhood memories of her Grandfather Joseph Merrypor. Set at a family property on Kinka Beach, Central Queensland Coast, this film steps back in time and revisits special moments shared between a Grandfather and Grandchild.
Famle Blong Yufala by Kerry Warkill
We follow Kerry as he takes his family (kids and grandchildren) on a trip to Creek St, Rockhampton, and Joskeleigh, Capricorn Coast. Kerry tells the stories of his Mother’s and his Father’s connections to these places and the history that these sites hold. His family look on and listen in a heartfelt journey to pass on this oral history to the next generation.
My Saltwater Dreaming by John Corowa
This film is a personal story that explores John’s family background, the connection he feels to the ocean and his holistic approach to health and wellbeing. We see John pursuing his passion as a practitioner of Kahuna massage, a traditional practice that originated in Hawaii.
Australian South Sea Islander Gala Event 2013 by Joanne Warkill
Joanne’s film showcases the first Australian South Sea Islander Gala Ball event held in Yeppoon, Queensland in 2013. The event was held as part of the 150 years commemoration program and it was a significant way for community members to acknowledge & remember their history and their ancestors, whilst celebrating ASSI community achievements.
Cultural Beginnings – Grassroots by Alison Edwards
In this film, Alison shares stories of her family heritage and culture through interviews with her Uncle Terry and her Mother Joan. We hear about the journey that Alison’s Great Grandfather made from Vanuatu to Australia; her Mother’s childhood memories growing up on the Sunshine Coast; and how her family kept island connections alive. The film shows how the passing down of culture and heritage through the generations, has impacted on Alison’s own personal journey.
The seven ASSI Stories films are available on DVD: