Indigenous Filmmakers unearthed

Screen Australia

Media Release

Thursday 8 September 2011

The Indigenous Department of Screen Australia, in association with the ABC, is pleased to announce the five participants selected for Call to Country, a new initiative to unearth Indigenous Australian documentary makers.

Victor Steffensen (Queensland), Ella Bancroft (New South Wales), John Harvey (Victoria), Dylan McDonald (Northern Territory) and Kelli Cross (Western Australia) will each make a film documenting aspects of Australian life from an Indigenous perspective to be broadcast on ABC TV.

The five participants will first take part in a week-long documentary making workshop in October 2011. Following the workshop they will be allocated surprise Australian locations and funded to research and develop stories from these locations for production as broadcast half-hour ABC TV documentaries.

Led by award-winning documentary filmmaker Pat Fiske, Call to Country is the latest initiative of the National Indigenous Documentary Fund (NIDF), which has produced 12 successful series to date.

Head of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department Erica Glynn said, “These filmmakers will not only have the opportunity to develop their screen storytelling skills; they will also be uncovering a slice of Indigenous life rarely represented on Australian screens.”

Head of ABC’s Indigenous Department Sally Riley said, “The NIDF has a long history of unearthing Indigenous filmmaking talent and the ABC is looking forward to broadcasting this exciting new work and partnering with Screen Australia on this innovative new approach.”


Victor Steffensen – Cairns, Queensland
Victor has worked on film projects for several years in communities throughout the Gulf Country in Far North Queensland and across Australia. With previous experience in land and cultural management, Victor began using his interest in filmmaking with his work, creating the Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways program in 1999 which saw him produce several corporate films on revival of land management practices and traditional knowledge specifically in relation to fire and water management.

Ella Bancroft – Sydney, New South Wales
Ella completed the Foundation Course at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) this year. With an initial interest in photography and the arts, Ella began pursuing a career in filmmaking in 2010 when she completed short courses in directing at Metro Screen and Shooting on HD at AFTRS. In 2010, Ella undertook an attachment in the camera department on the feature film Here I Am. Call to Country will be Ella’s introduction to documentary filmmaking.

John Harvey – Melbourne, Victoria
John is an emerging filmmaker with a strong background in arts management. In 2009, John made his first short film producing writer/director Romaine Moreton’s short drama The Farm through Screen Australia’s The New Black short drama initiative. John is currently developing several projects through his production company Brown Cab Productions including two short drama projects as producer and a documentary project as writer/director. He is also currently undertaking a part-time Producer Internship with Rob Connolly’s company Arena Media. Call to Country will be John’s introduction to documentary filmmaking as a director.

Dylan McDonald – Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Dylan currently works as Production Assistant at CAAMA Productions in Central Australia.
He has made several short films, documentaries and advertisements. In 2010, Dylan’s collaborative film Pop Goes the Weasel was shortlisted for Tropfest. In 2011, his advertisement Alcohol Can Effect Anyone won first prize in the Tell ‘Em That’s Enough Grog Campaign competition.

Kelli Cross – Perth, Western Australia
Kelli made her first short drama film Turtle through the Australian Film Commission’s Bit of Black Business short drama initiative in 2006, followed by You’re Not Playing That (2007) and Bingo (2010) through the ABC/FTI/ScreenWest Deadly Yarns initiative. Call to Country will be Kelli’s introduction to documentary filmmaking

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