In 2012 and 2013 I collaboratively produced two 26 min documentaries with Wadi Wadi and Mutthi Mutthi indigenous communities and Friends of the Earth Melbourne’s Barmah Millewa Collective, working closely with Michael O’Dwyer and community members. I co-produced and co-directed, shot and edited the films, screening on NITV, and at numerous festivals and community events.
From Our Darling Murray…
In partnership with the Wadi Wadi and Mutthi Mutthi Indigenous communities of the Murray Darling Basin, Friends of the Earth have made two documentaries about Indigenous connection to water. Titled Cultural Flows, these films capture Indigenous voices in a unique, honest and profound way.
‘The river to us is like the main artery to our heart.’ – Uncle Arthur Edwards, Wadi Wadi Elder.
They were produced using a groundbreaking participatory directing process, which gave ownership and creative control to the Indigenous communities involved. Described as “fascinating and moving” by the Sustainable Living Festival program director Julia Earlez. Cultural Flows showcases Traditional Owners, elders and families talking about:
- Traditional stories relating to being river peoples;
- Indigenous Knowledge of river health and management;
- The water’s importance for cultural heritage, including traditional medicines, connection to ancestors and traditional and contemporary activities; and
- Their desire to have their voices heard regarding the allocation of water to cultural and ecological assets in their Country.
People from all walks of life rely on water to live and prosper. Water gives life to every farm, every forest and every community in the Murray Darling Basin. These films highlight Indigenous people’s extensive knowledge of our ecosystems and reinforce the need for their greater involvement in water management decisions. Water is essential for Indigenous people to fulfill their cultural, social and economic needs:
“This river is part of who we are. It is about respecting that traditional knowledge. To bring it into the twenty-first century, and to put it as two words: ‘cultural flows … I guess all we’re saying is that what’s needed is for there to be enough water coming through all of our story places — through waterways and wetlands — to enable us to continue our ceremonial business.” –Cheryl Buchanan, Kooma (Gwamu) Nation, Deputy Chair Northern Basin Aboriginal Nation