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In November-December 2021, visionary charity organisation Desert Pea Media (DPM) and ETC worked with Gumbaynggirr & local Indigenous Community from Coffs Harbour and Nambucca Heads to facilitate important conversations about identity, well-being and culture.

As part of these workshops, two short films and a cutting-edge music video were written, scripted and produced.

Who is Desert Pea Media?

DPM is an organisation that works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and communities in regional and remote areas of Australia. 

Their collaborative projects utilise contemporary storytelling techniques and audio-visual media to facilitate important social and cultural dialogue.

With ETC’s assistance, they were able to deliver a two-week collaborative storytelling project in Coffs Harbour. The project engaged Indigenous elders, young people, and community members in the production of a song, music video and short film.

“The DPM team feel deeply honoured and grateful to learn, share and create with the Coffs Harbour community. These projects not only uplift and inspire audiences and community members, but everybody involved,” said Project Director/Film Director/Facilitator/Co-Writer/Co-Producer Toby Finlayson.

The purpose of this cultural story-telling project

DPM explained, that the overall purpose of the broader project was to facilitate an important, inter-generational conversation about social and emotional well-being for Original Nations young people.

Focusing on knowledge, education, cultural identity, wellbeing and connection to country.

“Desert Pea Media projects involve a dialogue-based storytelling process that encourages participants to analyse ‘the real’, ‘the ideal’ and ‘the bridge’. In simple terms this means critically thinking about how to create positive change for yourself, for each other and for our communities,” said Mr Finlayson

ETC’s Indigenous Services Team (IST) worked closely with DPM on the project, with Indigenous Services Manager Ceharnie Martin even co-producing the productions.

ETC’s Philanthropic Commitment

As a not-for-profit organisation and registered charity, ETC has helped many organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate through local community grants.

This financial year, DPM were one of 6 organisations across our operating areas who were supported as a part of ETC’s Philanthropic commitment to the community.

“We are committed to reinvesting our profits back into the business and into the communities where we operate – it’s our way of giving back and thanking those communities which continue to support us,” said ETC Board Chair Rod McKelvey.

We were very proud to support Desert Pea Media with $100,000 to bring this unique opportunity to Coffs Harbour and local Gumbaynggirr people.”

The Community Launch event

The three powerful media productions premiered February 24 at the chic Jetty Beach House in Coffs Harbour.

With picturesque panoramic views of the stunning Mid North Coast coastline, this recently renovated venue was the perfect setting to showcase the project.

Crowds began pouring in, and before long it was a full house.

Attendees were first able to enjoy some delicious traditional Indigenous meals including Roo Stew, Damper and Pepperberry Chicken before taking their seats for the premier.

The evening kicked off with a welcome to country from a Gumbaynggirr elder Aunty, and then the talented Sari Mann-Wills and Troy Robinson took over to co-host the event – both having been heavily involved in the project.

The two short films and music video were premiered throughout the night, amongst some insightful yarns with key people involved.

Short Film 1: “Two Way” – with Uncle Tony Perkins and Troy Robinson

‘Two Way’ is a short film starring Gumbaynggirr Elder – Tony Perkins with an incredible, moving story about the history of the area, and his vision for the future.

Short Film 2: “Coby’s Yarn” – with young Indigenous film maker Coby Cochrane

‘Coby’s Yarn’ is a film about Young Kamileroi filmmaker – Coby Cochrane, talking about his passion for the industry and experience throughout the 2 week project.

Music Video: “Through the Smoke” – Gumbaynggirr Collective

This production is an outcome of a unique, collaborative creative process between Desert Pea Media artists, local Elders (Jagun Elders Group), local cultural leaders and an incredibly talented group of young people from Coffs Harbour and Nambucca Heads.

There was an array of emotions throughout the premier from tears of pain, to tears of pride.

During the premier, ETC’s Ceharnie Martin alongside Aunty Jennie Rosser took the stage to explain why this project was so special and important to them, ETC, and the community.

“Everyone at ETC have been so proud to support this amazing opportunity and it has been such an honor to work with Desert Pea Media.”

“But most of all, I wanted to share the joy our entire organization have experienced to hear these amazing people share their stories in the beautiful way that they have in collaboration with the team from Desert Pea Media.”

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