In Development

The female imprisonment rate has doubled in the last decade, and indigenous women account for almost the entire increase. Now a new programme, ‘Woman in Prison Advocacy Network’ (WIPAN) aims to turn these women away from addiction, crime and poverty with an intensive education and mentoring programme. The driving force behind WIPAN is Kat Armstrong, a former addict and inmate, now about to graduate as a solicitor. ‘Changing Lives’ will document her struggle to help these very vulnerable women take on her challenge to turn their lives around. It will be raw and confronting as the challenges are very real, but this remarkable woman has a stunning success rate – no recidivism at 93% after 18 months and 76% for a longer period.

The Wake paints a vivid portrait of the complexity of forced migration due to sea-level rise, a reality facing literally hundreds of coastal communities across Fiji today. Weaving together multiple stories of resilience and innovation, The Wake takes us to the front-lines of climate change in the developing world.

Maria, the irrepressible matriarch of an extended family, guides her village through the controversial process of moving inland when it is nominated for relocation by the government. Sailosi, headman of the first village in Fiji to relocate due to sea-level rise, begins a program to teach students about climate-induced migration – using his own village as an example. A group of female community radio journalists band together to create the Women’s Weather Watch – a grassroots network that brings vital information about approaching storms and disaster management to at-risk coastal communities around Fiji. And in a one-room schoolhouse on the edge of the low-lying archipelago island of Kadavu, students put on a final school play about how to respond to the swelling ocean – just days before their school is relocated.

Created in collaboration with our characters, The Wake shares the hard-won, practical, and emotional strategies they identify as important for responding to the prospect of relocation – with strength, wisdom, and as often as possible, humour.

In Sydney’s South West, a racially diverse group of young dedicated Basketballers and their passionate and controversial Black American coach, train hard on a shoe-string budget preparing for the biggest junior basketball tournament in the world. When Coach takes his star players to try out before American coaches, will it be at the expense of the team and how will this impact their chances in the tournament. This is a character-based and event-driven documentary about a club, its people and the local community.

When the Agie people heard their chant had been used on the hit music track “Sweet Lullaby” by Deep Forest, without attribution or compensation, they were distressed. The misrepresentation of their song, which is about a plague, as a “Sweet Lullaby”, added injury to the insult. To musician and Agie leader Morris Takainiu, the song’s theft was felt like a death of a person from the tribe. Now, 20 years on, the Agie people set out to seek retribution.

In March 2016 Deep Lullaby documents the community as it meets to discuss the history of the song and what to do, then records its own version. A few months later, a delegation of Agie travel overseas. Led by Morris they will seek out alliances with key individuals and groups: Hugo Zemp, the researcher who recorded the song, The World Intellectual Property Organization, and Survival, a group representing indigenous rights activists. They will also attempt to contact Deep Forest.

Morris’s work will not be easy – the music industry and Deep Forest have been recalcitrant in moves by others arguing for indigenous rights over content and profits. Will Morris and his delegation be treated any differently? By following Morris the viewer will go on a personal journey that illustrates the challenges the remote, rural community face against a global industry. We will share their hopes, fears, successes and setbacks. If Morris and his delegation succeed, they could set a precedent for indigenous peoples seeking similar goals. If they fail, how will they face their community on their return?