view from plane, looking over central australia. photo by me, pjb.
Lara Damiani is a young australian filmmaker whose film-making adventures I've been following closely over the last few years. I first heard about her through the Tibetan community in Dee Why, Sydney - it was early 2007 and there was a rumour going around that this young woman had plans to go into Tibet to film. I was intrigued and inspired, to say the least. After doing some research I found out the rumour was true - Lara sold nearly everything she owned to set off for Tibet, risking her life to make a documentary about the plight of the Tibetan people. That documentary was Tibet's Cry for Freedom, you may recall I wrote about it upon its release, right here. Since its release, Tibet's Cry for Freedom has been acquired by two international television broadcasters, and has screened at 14 film festivals across the world.
Lara has just embarked on another film making journey which I've been wanting to share with you for some time, this one is a little closer to home. Banjo’s War follows the story of the Alyawarr people of central Australia as they attempt to create a self sustaining community from mulga scrub on their land at Honeymoon Bore. It’s a story about self-determination, freedom, dignity, human rights and why the Government’s Intervention is wrong. The doco will be centred around Banjo Morton who led a successful walk-off back in 1942 and now, 68 years later has led another in protest against the Government’s Intervention.
Filming has begun - last week Lara and her crew went to Alice Springs to attend the Gathering of the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People. Here is a snippet from Lara's account of the event:
"As I sat, filmed and listened to the stories from the Traditional Owners of their experiences after the Government's Intervention, I came to fully understand their struggle. I couldn't help but think of the thousands of years of history, tradition and culture that were standing before me over the course of the week - elders, children and other Indigenous Australians - and how little mainstream Australia really knows about the issues and the struggle affecting our Indigenous People. How rich Australia is to still have our Indigenous people. How sad it is that they are struggling to survive."
This is a story that needs to be told, and I'm more than thrilled that Lara has taken this doco on board. I've been thoroughly enjoying seeing Lara's photos and video journals come through from her visits with the Alyawarr people, and I thought I'd share with you one of my favourites below. It's a little clip of young Jesse-Lee showing Lara how to find and eat bush banana - brilliant, check it out...
The completion of Banjo’s War relies heavily on donations, so if this is a topic that you are passionate about like me, you can help make this film happen - for more info click here. And to see the film's teaser trailer, click here.
Well done Lara, your work is awe-inspiring and I hope to meet you one day - even better, work together. Until then, as they say here in Holland, succes!