The Brunswick Mechanics Institute is showing a couple of my old documentaries today during the Sydney Road Street Party alongside a few films from the Human Rights Film Festival!

Eating Roadkills and King of the Forest will be aired during the day.

Thanks so much for including my work!

Nicole is really excited to be speaking on the Reel Impact" Environmental Film Industry Development Day on the How to make a splash and keep swimming panel today.

Reel Impact: Environmental Film Industry Development Day, session 2. Join us in conversation with established environmental filmmakers reflecting on what they’ve learnt since their first enviro film, their experiences working with NGOs, making an impact with their work, and their thoughts on the current state of the industry.

She's really excited to meet and connect with other filmmakers, and is honoured to be on such a great panel!

Tickets for the full day are $65 and individual sessions are $18.

www.effa.org.au/melbourne-program-201...

Come and ask her some curly questions!

Very excited to see our doco on the big screen again at Transitions Film Festival tonight alongside some really interesting other films!

If you are around, come by Cinema Nova at 8.30pm to see King of the Forest.

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We are very excited to announce our documentary, King of the Forest, has been selected for the Antenna International Documentary Festival! We are so honoured and can't wait!

antennafestival.org

Picture: Andy Drewitt

JUL
14
2015

Tiny Houses

I worked alongside Shane Luskie and Kylie Adoranti to put together this long form feature about the Tiny House Movement in Australia. Check it out.

www.heraldsun.com.au/news/special-fea...

Very excited that our documentary was a finalist for the Best Documentary at the 2015 St Kilda Film Festival!
What an incredible festival and such a great festival to be a part of!
Thanks to the amazing editor Oscar Strangio and cinematographer Andy Drewitt!


A Place by the Sea, a multimedia exploring Brighton's iconic bathing boxes has been selected as a finalist for the CNA best digital publishing award.

The multimedia, allows audiences to browse the difference beach boxes, click on them and learn the stories behind them or their owners.

The awards will be presented on June 19.

To view the entry visit:
www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/inner-sou...

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Our doco King of the Forest has been selected for the St Kilda Film Festival! The festival opens this Thursday and our doco will air in Docos to Feed the Mind session on May 29 at 6.30pm.

We're very excited to have been selected for the festival!

"Presented and produced by the City of Port Phillip, the Festival supports the Australian film industry by turning the spotlight on a wide range of fascinating works that may not otherwise see the light of day. Exceptional films by emerging artists and short works by accomplished industry professionals are shown on the big screen, where they look their shiny best.

Accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, it is now an Academy Awards® qualifying event–award-winning films from St Kilda Film Festival are eligible for consideration in the Short Film Awards AND Documentary Short sections of the Oscars®."

www.stkildafilmfestival.com.au/2015-s2/

Our latest doco airs tonight on SBS2 The Feed and is about the incredible Australian comedian Tania Lacy and her battle with Borderline Personality Disorder. Check out SBS2 at 7.30pm.

To read an story about Tania Lacy and the documentary, see the below image or visit:

www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/central/t...


We've just finished shooting and we're getting our hot little hands stuck into the edit. We've got another doco that's set to be released end of November. Stay tuned!

We're very proud to have been awarded a Community Newspapers of Australia award for a campaign we ran in 2013 with the help of worthwhile charity St Kilda Mums to get 200 cots for needy families.

We were awarded the Southern Division and National winners for the 2014 CNA Community Service Awards.

A big thanks to everyone who helped us, including the St Kilda Mums, Hanover, Gatehouse, Red Cross, Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service and everyone else who made this possible.

For our reports visit: www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/bayside/l...

Our doco: Sweat, Scars and Spandex: the life of a wrestler aired on SBS2's The Feed last month!

Check it out here:
www.sbs.com.au/thefeed/blog/2014/06/1...

Free tonight? Tune in to SBS2's The Feed at 7.30pm to see our doco, Sweat, Scars and Spandex.

Thanks to the team Andy Drewitt, Oscar Strangio and David Valkenet.

Hope you like it!

We’re working on an oiled up/muscle-bound doco which is headed for SBS2 screens shortly!

There’s literally been blood and sweat poured into this one!

More to come!

Our documentary A Taste for Roadkill is featured in theThe San Francisco Green Film Festival this weekend!

The San Francisco Green Film Festival is the leading destination for “groundbreaking and compelling films on the urgent environmental issues of our time”. Launched in 2011, the SFGFF’s mission is to educate and connect communities through forward-thinking programs of environmental films and discussions.

Our film is on tomorrow at 4pm. So head along and check it out! sfgreenfilmfest.org/festival/

We’ve been nominated for a CNA award in the community service category for our campaign Cots for Tots campaign!

We’ve very excited to be in the running for the award, which will be announced on June 27.

Stay tuned!

MAR
21
2014

We won a Quill!!!

So, so excited to have found out we won a Quill at the Melbourne Press Club’s Quill Awards last night at Crown Palladium!

We won the quill for our six week Cots for Tots campaign, which aimed to highlight areas of disadvantage among new families, alongside the amazing charity St Kilda Mums, while also getting 200 cots donated to help those families.

www.melbournepressclub.com/quillwinne...

It was a multi-platform campaign, which included both online, social media and print.

We’re honoured and very excited to have won!

MAR
21
2014

King of the Forest

Our documentary Into the weird and wonderful world of Noddy, King of the Forest aired on Thursday night!

If you didn’t get a chance to watch it, check it out here!

Busy tonight? Why not tune in to SBS2 The Feed tonight at 7.30pm to watch our doco, King of the Forest.

I hope you enjoy it!

During the shoot

We’ve just come back from a shoot and are busy in the edit suite tightening the screws on our next documentary.

More to come soon!

Heading into the forest to film a documentary

Our documentary, A Taste for Roadkill, airs on SBS2 on October 3 at 7.30pm.

Follow wildlife expert Len Zell as he explores the wonderful world of roadkill etiquette and eating.

Mr Zell, a passionate purveyor of curb cuisine, has spent a lot of his time on the road, even writing a book about Australian roadkill.

We’re very excited to have our film recommended by The Age’s Green Guide and The Sydney Morning Herald for the top five shows to watch this week!

Watch it and let us know what you think!

Our talented director of photography Andy Drewitt on location

In the edit suite with Oscar Strangio

I’ve been busy working away at a documentary for SBS2 that’s due to air at the end of August.

It may make some people feel queasy, but has been a lot of fun to film!

Stay tuned.

I was lucky enough to attend the launch of the 20 Years 20 Stories campaign to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the disability discrimination act.

My film, which I worked on with the Summer Foundation, features two incredible women, Anj and Michelle, both who lived in nursing homes at a very young age due to acquired brain injury.

Our film, Building better lives along with 19 others were launched by the Governor General, Quentin Bryce at Admiralty House in Sydney.

It was an honour to be a part of it, and great to meet so many inspiring people fighting for the rights of people with disability.

A shot while filming

Anj meeting the Governor General at the launch of 20 Years 20 Stories

On March 1, the Human Rights Commission will launch Twenty Years: Twenty Stories, a celebration of 20 years of the Disability Discrimination Act.

The 20th birthday is being marked with 20 films, one of which I had the pleasure of making with Building Better Lives, a brilliant organisation that aims to help give young people with disability an option of where to live, rather than being forced to live in nursing homes and pushes to provide more appropriate accommodation. www.humanrights.gov.au/twentystories/...

To learn more about Building Better Lives visit www.summerfoundation.org.au

The short film includes two inspiring Building Better Lives ambassadors. Will post more soon!

It may be time to buy a new diary/calendar as the year begins and people head back to work.

Check out the People and Planet diary – one of my photos is featured in it and the funds go towards supporting 42 Australian social justice and environment organisations: peopleandplanet.org.au

I had the honour of judging fashions on the field at the Sandown Classic Guineas Day in November with the talented Franco Schifilliti and fashion blogger Jess Dempsey.

There was tough competition on the day, and some great diversity in style and colour. Click below to see a selection of photos I took from the day.

Fabulous fashion blogger Jess Dempsey posted this picture on her blog, whatwouldkarldo.com

Miss South Sudan Beauty Pageant 2012 was held in Keysborough this year, and was one of the most amazing events I’ve been to in Melbourne.

I’ve just found out that I’ve been chosen as a winner in the 2012 People and Planet International Photo Competition for ”Traditional Lands”

Selected from a pool of 7000 entrants from photographers from over 80 countries!

So surprised!!!

Foxtel recently included Al Jazeera in its broadcasting.

Consequently our documentary Aurukun: Mining for a Future airs tonight in Australia!

If you have Foxtel, tune in to Al Jazeera on channel 651 and let me know what you think!

After a lot of hard work, our latest documentary – Aurukun: Mining for a future airs on July 2 on Al Jazeera English. Very excited!

MAY
10
2012

CNA finalist

Excited to be shortlisted for best feature in the 2012 Community Newspapers of Australia Awards.

APR
28
2012

In the thick of it

As we arrived in Aurukun, flood waters had lead to the escape of about 200 crocodiles from a nearby croc farm. Filming out on country we were aware of the croc infested waters and the large croc tracks we came across.

MAR
19
2012

Wild weather

We’ve been in Cairns for a few days now and are about to head off to Aurukun today. We’ve been struck with some bad weather, including floods, and I am feeling thankful a tropical low south of Aurukun didn’t develop into a cyclone. Wild wind has caused some damage there though, and hopefully the rain will subside.

MAR
10
2012

Aurukun

About to head up for another Al Jazeera shoot to Aurukun in Cape York.

Very excited!

I’m very excited that I’ve been selected as a finalist for the 2011 Human Rights Awards in print and online media for the series I did on young people in aged care facilities.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s annual Human Rights Awards celebrates the contributions people have been making around the country to protect and promote human rights.

Nominees for the Awards compete in 10 categories including the Human Rights Medal and the Young People’s Medal. The remaining categories include Law, Business, Community (Individual), Community (Organisation), Literature (Non-Fiction), Print and Online Media, Television and Radio Awards.

Winners will be announced at a luncheon ceremony on 9 December at the Sydney Sofitel Wentworth.

www.humanrights.gov.au/news/stories/p...

I’ve been selected as a finalist for the Best Print – News category in the United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Awards for the series of stories I did about Ben Thompson, a young man who was living in an aged care facility due to an acquired brain injury.

The recent but few reports of a crackdown on thousands of ethnic Hmong Christians along the border of Vietnam and Laos, in the North West of the country is distressing to say the least.

With such little reporting or information available, it is hard to know what is really going on, but the Centre for Public Policy Analysis has reported 14 extra deaths overnight Sunday, bringing the death toll to 63.

With foreign journalists barred form the region, it’s hard to verify whether these figures are correct.

VOA News.com reported Hmong Advance group said hundreds of protesters had been wounded and dozens killed since the crackdown began in late April in Dien Bien province.

The article read ”Hmong Advance spokeswoman Christy Lee said the crackdown was launched April 30 in the Vietnamese border town of Muong Nhe, when about 8,500 Hmong gathered to pray and demand land reforms and expanded religious freedoms. Lee said hundreds of protesters were arrested, with some of them transported to locations in Vietnam and nearby Laos.”

Our film is now available to watch online! www.aljazeera.com/programmes/birthrig...

Fellow film maker Nick Ahlmark wrote this personal account

Back in the mid-1990s I was on a gap year before university and had somehow ended up in mid-West America. Wandering through a neighbourhood in La Crosse, Wisconsin, I saw groups of women in brightly-coloured dresses tending to corn crops in their front gardens and washing their clothes in large buckets on their porches.

In one of America’s whitest states, this Asian community stood out. I turned to my American friend and asked who these people were? “Oh, they’re the Hmong,” he replied.

Further questioning revealed that the Hmong are a race of four million people spread out across southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Burma. The Hmong of La Crosse are part of the about 180,000 strong refugee community in the US. The Hmong had fought for the Americans against the communists in Vietnam and Laos during the 1960s and 1970s and thus the US had taken in a significant number of Hmong asylum seekers after the Vietnam War.

What struck me on that sunny day in Wisconsin was how this community were dutifully sticking to their traditions. They were even stashing their garden crops in hand woven baskets, all this despite having been in one of the most modern countries on the planet for the best part of 20 years.

Fast forward to February 2011; myself and fellow filmmaker Nicole Precel find ourselves in Chi Ca Commune, a cluster of villages in Xin Man district, part of Ha Giang province in northern Vietnam, the poorest province in the country. We are here to make a film which will become the eighth and final episode of Al Jazeera’s Birthrights, a series examining maternal health around the world.

It is the culmination of four months of researching and organising that ultimately enabled us to spend a full eight days in this politically sensitive area of Vietnam that borders China. We were told that this is more time than any other foreign journalist has been allowed in the region post the Vietnam War.

The environment is about as radically different from suburban Wisconsin as one can imagine, but even here, the clash of modernity and tradition is evident. Renowned for its mountains and stunning beauty, the population of Ha Giang province is 90 per cent ethnic minority of which the Hmong make up the second largest group.

Here, in the isolated Chi Ca commune, very few Hmong women choose to use the government-run health services to give birth or seek maternal care. The reasons are numerous and complex, but the first is language. In general, the Hmong do not speak Vietnamese and the Vietnamese do not speak Hmong. As all health workers are from the dominant Vietnamese Kinh ethnic group, this has proved to be a major obstacle.

The second is tradition. The Hmong believe in Shamanism and have a specific set of rituals surrounding all aspects of life and this includes childbirth. It is believed that after the birth, the placenta must be buried in a hole beneath the parents’ bed. The babies’ bath water must be poured into the hole for one month at which point it is covered up permanently. This tradition ensures the good health of the baby and when the child grows old and dies it must return to collect the placenta for a successful journey to the afterlife. If women give birth at the hospital, conducting this ritual becomes impossible for the Hmong.

The third reason is a lack of trust between the communist institutions and the Hmong. Academics have argued that the Hmong simply pay lip service to Vietnamese nationalism and the communist way. Inside every Hmong mud brick house, a picture of Ho Chi Minh and the communist party flag hangs on the wall. But we very much got the sense that the Hmong would prefer to be seen to conform so as not to cause trouble. That way they can go about their traditional lives but at the same time appease the communist authorities by playing their expected roles without great conviction but with enough diligence.

The fourth reason is distance. The villages of Chi Ca commune are spread out over many kilometres of mountainous terrain. For some pregnant women, getting to the local health centre requires an exhausting trek of up to 10 kilometres. The district hospital is between two and three hours by motorbike, depending on the state of the roads. These journeys are obviously incredibly risky for a heavily pregnant women who is about to give birth.

Vietnam is booming and with the boom has come a massive improvement in health care. Over the last 20 years maternal and infant mortality rates in the urban and low lying regions have improved greatly. But in Ha Giang province the maternal mortality rate is almost 10 times higher than in the more urbanised parts of the country. There are no statistics for Xin Man, but as the poorest district in Ha Giang one can only imagine that the figures are even worse.

Enter the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Realising that cultural barriers are the main obstacles for ethnic minority women seeking professional health care, they have initiated a brilliant and highly successful scheme with the Ha Giang health authority. Targeting the most able and confident young people in local villages, the UNFPA selected 49 ethnic minority women, mostly in their late teens and early 20s, to train as midwives. After the 18 month training programme in Ha Giang’s capital, the women return to their villages, provide maternal and infant care to the community and try to convince local women to give birth at either the local health centre or the district hospital.

In Chi Ca commune, 20-year-old Ying, a bilingual ethnic Hmong, is the one taking on the immense challenge of trying to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rates in her community. As you can imagine it is not an easy task and we hope the film illustrates the incredible job she is doing in bridging the gap between the Hmong women and the Vietnamese health authorities.

Having graduated just over a year ago, Ying’s presence has already seen an increase in the number of Hmong women seeking to have their babies at the health centre or district hospital. In our short time in Chi Ca we witnessed first-hand Ying convincing, through sheer personality and force of will, two pregnant Hmong women and their families to go to the health centre.

Most Hmong in Vietnam still live off the land. But modernisation throughout Vietnam has been nothing short of thorough and in recent years has reached the most far flung corners of the country. As Vietnam hurtles along the path of economic progress it can only be applauded for attempting to alleviate the pockets of high maternal and infant mortality rates that still remain.

Ying and the 48 other midwives represent a happy medium between modernity and tradition. One can only hope that Vietnam will continue these types of forward-thinking policies in other areas relating to its ethnic minorities, which make up 13 per cent of its over 85 million population, so their ways of life are respected, whilst the nation continues to transform.

The Mountain Midwives of Vietnam airs on Monday on Al Jazeera English 10.30pm.

It will also repeat on Tuesday at 9.30am, Wednesday at 3.30am and Thursday at 4.30pm.

We’re very happy with the film, and it would be great to know what you think as well!

Ben Thompson is 25 and has lived in aged care for three years.

Please check out this video and help raise awareness of this important issue.

APR
6
2011

Vietnam

Al Jazeera’s comprehensive eight part series on maternal health, Birthrights, has explored teenage pregnancy in America, midwifery in Hungary and is still to feature a range of issues including illegal abortion.

Our documentary, Mountain Midwives of Vietnam, closes off the series and airs on 25 April on Al Jazeera.

Please make sure you tune in and comment! We’ve had an amazing experience making this film, and we’d love to know what you think!

Very excited to be preparing to film a documentary in the north eastern mountainous regions of Vietnam for Doha based international broadcaster Al Jazeera English for their award winning program Witness.

Witness presents observational and character driven documentaries that often explore greater economical, social and environmental issues through in depth personal encounters.

Can’t wait to start filming in Feb!

Rudely Interrupted aired at Lithuanian Film Festival, Tinklai International Short Film Festival in late October.

If anyone was at MIPCOM in Cannes in October, they may have noticed our film Incest:The Last Taboo? on page 48 of the MIPCOM Preview Magazines (Septembers edition):

‘Java Films is at MIPCOM with documentaries from Current TV (UK) after an agreement, first discussed at MIPTV earlier this year, to distribute their programming. Priorities include Incest: The Last Taboo, which has been picked up by TVE, TSR, RTP, Planete Poland and Pramer.’

Check out this video I took at the Sandown Classic, the last leg of Melbourne’s spring racing carnival.

Check out Marie Claire UK’s August edition, the cover story I’ve written, Incest & Love, features on page 76.

The article is about Genetic Sexual Attraction, a form of consensual adult incest that occurs with about 50 per cent of family members that reunite after adoption or separation from birth.

The story focuses on how it has affected the lives of brothers and sisters that have experienced it.

xxx

Rudely Interrupted, a rockin band I filmed with Nick Ahlmark, is touring the USA in their “Tragedy of the Commons” North American tour.

They’re hitting the Brooklyn Bowl first this Thursday at 6pm. They’ll also play Northampton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

A list of tour dates are available at rudelyinterrupted.com

Nick Ahlmark and my 2008 documentary about the physically and intellectually disabled rock Gods ‘Rudely Interrupted’ played at the Sprout Film Festival in New York in the beginning of May. The festival highlights the accomplishments and achievements of people with disabilities.

The festival’s mission is to ‘breakdown stereotypes, promoting a greater acceptance of differences and awareness of similarities’ which is exactly what we set out to do with the film so we’re chuffed it’s been recognized.

The band are about to embark on yet another North American tour – for more information on upcoming gigs visit rudelyinterrupted.com/tour-dates

ROCK ON THE RUDIES x

Last night our film became the highest rating show for Current UK’s Monday night documentary slot! The film is expecting to have further rating hikes as national media coverage continues and the film continues to air!
See below!

Current makes waves with controversial hard hitting Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA) documentary
You may have seen Current TV mentioned a few times in the media over the past couple weeks due to the controversial and hard hitting documentary we’ve worked on with Nick Ahlmark and Nicole Precel called ‘Incest: The Last Taboo?’
Last week ITV’s ‘This Morning’ interviewed ‘Ruth’ about her GSA experience falling in love with her biological father and having his baby. It’s an emotional and revealing interview about a relatively unknown topic. Click the link below to see that interview.

‘Ruth’ and her story feature in our documentary ‘Incest: The Last Taboo?’ Tonight at 10PM

www.itv.com/lifestyle/thismorning/rea...

current.com/items/92398965_current-ma...

Our documentary aired last night on Current TV UK Sky 183 and Virgin 155!

Thanks for everyone that helped out!! It was a long haul but one that paid off!

Don’t worry if you missed it! There will be plenty more opportunities to watch it as it will be repeated!

I’ll keep you updated!

This Morning on ITV1 featured one of the contributors from our documentary is a lead up to it being aired!

“Ruth” spoke about her experiences with GSA.

Check it out and vote it up!

www.itv.com/lifestyle/thismorning/rea...

This is an article that featured in Grazia UK magazine with an exclusive interview with one of the women who featured in our documentary.

“Ruth” is fighting for her rights and for more education, understanding and research into Genetic Sexual Attraction.

Make sure you tune in April 26 at 10pm in the UK on Sky 183 and Virgin 155.

If in the USA, tune in Directv 385, Dish Network 196, Comcast 107 and 125, Time Warner 103 and 142, AT&T and U-Verse 189 and Verizon FIOS 192.

In the mean time make sure you check out the trailers on Current.com and vote them up!

xxx

APR
21
2010

Trailer 2

Current TV have put out another trailer, “Taboo Couples” for our documentary Incest: The Last Taboo?.

It shows Alex and Pau, a couple we interviewed in Seattle about their relationship.

current.com/groups/videos/92380437_ta...

Check it out and leave a comment!

The film airs on Current TV on Monday April 26 at 10pm.

Check out the trailer to our new documentary.

It airs on April 26 on Al Gore’s news network Current TV. current.com/groups/videos/92380619_in...

Check it out! Leave a comment! Tell us what you think!

xx

An hour long documentary I have made about Genetic Sexual Attraction is airing on April 26 on Al Gore’s news network Current TV. Genetic Sexual Attraction can occur in about 50 per cent of family members that were separated from birth or early childhood through adoption or divorce and reunite as adults.

The film follows people in GSA relationships, or who have encountered GSA feelings and the struggles they face from society, the law, and misunderstanding.

It featured in UK’s Broadcast magazine. www.broadcastnow.co.uk/news/commissio...

APR
11
2010

Print Finalist

I’m a finalist for the 2010 South East Regional Media Awards for excellence in print for a range of stories written in 2009, including coverage of the Black Saturday bushfires.

www.southeastmediaawards.org.au

Extreme heat melted the alloy and glass on this Broadford vehicle in February 2009 bushfires.