No Ordinary Black: Screen Australia and NITV announce six short films

Screen Australia and NITV have announced the six films that will share in over $600,000 of production funding through the No Ordinary Black short film initiative. The initiative is aimed at bringing thought-provoking First Nations stories to the screen, authored and crafted by First Nations people.

Screen Australia’s CEO Graeme Mason said, “We’re very excited to take these projects through to production. Each of the six teams have created the kind of bold and ambitious stories that are exactly what we are looking for, with captivating scripts that explore a range of themes including family, identity, childhood, belonging and adventure. We are proud to support these talented creators take the next step in their careers and I can’t wait to see the finished films.”

NITV’s Head of Commissioning and Programming Kyas Hepworth said, “NITV are focused on bringing entertaining First Nation stories that resonate to our broad audience. These exciting six new short films reflect our diverse creatives’ experiences and distinct voices. This is our first time partnering with Screen Australia’s First Nations Department in their short film initiative and it’s safe to say we were both blown away by the incredible narratives that were submitted. It’s exciting to be a part of the future careers of these talented filmmakers, and we can’t wait to see these films come to fruition.”

The No Ordinary Black initiative is run in partnership Screen NSW, Screen Territory, Screen Queensland and Screenwest. Under the initiative, eight teams took part in a virtual development workshop in July 2020 and from these, six projects were selected to go through to production.

The short films will air on NITV in 2022.

The successful projects are:

  • 6LACK1DZ, a coming-of-age story from writer/director Meyne Wyatt (play City of Gold) and producers Taryne Laffar (KGB) and Jodie Bell (Saving Seagrass). Shot in Wyatt’s hometown of Kalgoorlie, the film centres on a man who returns to his hometown to see his dying mother, and recounts a boyhood memory of his first day at school in this rough and tough town. This project is also supported by Screenwest.
  • Blackfellas Who Can’t Dance, a comedy-drama from writer/director Enoch Mailangi (All My Friends Are Racist) and producer Majhid Heath (Dark Place). This story follows Nathan, who falls in love at a gym but soon finds his love interest is fundamentally different, and the two dance around their desires. This project is also supported by Screen NSW.
  • Finding Jedda, which follows two girls who go head-to-head for the role of a lifetime, in a reimagining of the 1954 auditions for the iconic Australian film Jedda. Writer/director Tanith Glynn-Maloney (Robbie Hood) teams up with executive producers Dan Lake and Meg O’Connell (Retrograde). This project is also supported by Screen Territory.
  • Mudskipper, about Martha, a Torres Strait Islander woman works tirelessly in a laundromat loading machines and folding washing, ready for the collection of her boss. When a mysterious visitor arrives, Martha is reminded of the life she has left behind. The creative team features writer/director John Harvey (Water), writer Walter Waia and producer Gillian Moody (Ties That Bind). This project is also supported by Screen Queensland.
  • Shiny One, a comedy from writer/director Viviana Petyarre (Utopia Generations), producer Tanith Glynn-Maloney (Robbie Hood) and executive producers Dan Lake and Meg O’Connell (Retrograde). The film centres on a youngfella named Wenye, who leaves his remote community to pursue a dream vision calling him to the big smoke to find his pot of gold. This project is also supported by Screen Territory.
  • The Lost Crystal of Jessica’s Room from writer/director Gary Hamaguchi and producer Jodie Bell, who previously collaborated on Saving Seagrass. The film follows two children who play a game where they use a treasure map to find a crystal in their backyard, but the crystal is not what is seems. This project is also supported by Screenwest.
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