Archive for the ‘Collaborators’ Category

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT Luigi Acquisto

I’m  convinced that this film will rate well, receive strong reviews, and be a  landmark film in dealing with the issue of trafficking and slavery.  However, I am also motivated by the real  impact this film may have on the lives of young women and children in  developing countries.  As an educational  tool it can raise awareness about the deceits involved in luring children into  foreign travel.  Simply put, this film  has the power to save lives, to prevent the course of events that led to the  destruction of Ning’s childhood, and despite her courage and dignity, to her  relationship with her family and husband.  Ning is now HIV positive.  Most  children who are trafficked are dead by the time they hit their twenties, or  HIV positive.  1.2 million children are  sold into brothels each year.  The social  justice agenda is an important one for Stella and I.  However, we are primarily filmmakers, and Trafficked-The Reckoning is not a  didactic piece, any more than Trafficked was  or our films about East TimorIt is a powerfully told story with a   strong understanding of what television audiences want to see.

Trafficked – The Reckoning Premiere Screening at Bella Union – Level 1, Trades Hall Corner of Victoria & Lygon Streets Carlton South (enter off Lygon Street). Tuesday 13th September 2011. Doors open at 6.30pm film starts at 7.30pm  Tickets on sale @ Bella Union Includes a Q & A with the Filmmakers following the screening

This is a very important project for a  number of reasons.  Stella Zammataro  (co-producer) and I have worked closely on the issue of sex trafficking since  1995.  Trafficked was the first Australian film, of any genre, to confront sex slavery in Australia.  Film Australia, SBS, and Stella and I, can be  very proud of that film.  As a direct  result of it’s screening it led to the first case in history, anywhere in the  world, of a slave receiving victim of crime compensation.  It is also the highest rating Storyline Australia documentary for SBS  which proved to the many sceptics we’d encountered in Australian broadcasting  that slavery does rate, certainly in the minds and hearts of the Australian  people, and certainly when it happens on a turf.   So this sequel, this second part, is a film  that as a director, and as a producer, I am passionate about.

I first met Ning in 2004.  But I had known her story since 1995 when I’d  read about a thirteen year-old Thai girl being pulled from a Sydney brothel and  deported.  There was no police  investigation, even though both the NSW police and the AFP were aware of the  incident.  Subsequently no arrests were  made in Australia.  Anti-slavery laws did  not exist in 1995 but the prostituting of a minor was a crime, and the NSW  State Police could have acted.  They  didn’t even though the Surry Hills police attended the raid and the King’s  Cross police were advised by Immigration that Ning was a minor.  I met Chris Payne soon after Ning was  deported.  Payne,  then an Australian Federal Police officer, was ‘pissed off’ that Paper Tiger, a  rogue operation that he’d started to combat sex trafficking, had been shut  down.  He’d been ordered not to  investigate Ning’s case. But he still went to the Immigration offices where  Ning was being interrogated before she was deported.  He was deeply moved by what he saw; a young  child, crying and shattered by the horrific rapes she’d endured.  That image haunted Payne for nearly ten  years.

We started to collaborate  on a documentary on Ning’s story and it took nine years for it to happen.  In 2004 Chris and I, and a crew, travelled to  Thailand to find Ning, and to understand how it was possible for a child from a  remote part of Thailand to end up in a brothel in the heart of Sydney.   We had no leads; no name, no address, no  access to Australian or Thai immigration or police records. We didn’t know if she was alive.  It was a remarkable act of faith on the part  of SBS Television and Film Australia to finance the film. We started in Bangkok and finally, after a  breakthrough from one of the Thais, then still in jail, who had trafficked her  to Sydney, we found Ning in a small town in Thailand’s northeast.  Her harrowing story was made into the documentary Trafficked, the first Australian film about sex slavery.

Ning was a young mother in 2004;  fragile and struggling to hold her life together after several suicide  attempts, drug and alcohol abuse, and an abusive relationship.  Her life fitted the pattern of most sex  trafficking victims.  When I returned to  Australia after meeting Ning I filmed the exterior of the Blackburn Street  Brothel where Ning was sold.  I felt an  immense rage that nothing had been done to find the man who ran the  brothel.  This was because Stella and I  now knew Ning.  She was part of our lives  and we became determined to do something to help her, and to get justice for what had happened to her in our country.  So we spent two years, together with Melbourne Senior Counsel Fiona  McLeod, researching and preparing a victim of compensation claim for Ning in  the state of NSW.  This was a difficult  process that involved three trips back to Thailand to organise statements and a  psychiatric evaluation for Ning.  In 2007  Ning became the first slave in history to be awarded victim of crime  compensation.  This was a landmark  decision, and it happened in Australia!  The award made a significant difference to Ning’s life financially but  it also convinced her that she was a victim and that the guilt and shame she  had felt for years after her time in the brothel was unjustified.

Ning, however, did not feel that justice had been done.  I agreed with  her, as did Chris Payne.  So we started a  new project, Trafficked-The  Reckoning.  The objective was to find  the man who operated the brothel that prostituted Ning and to assist in  bringing either criminal charges or a civil action against him.  Fiona McLeod again offered to represent Ning  pro-bono.  Screen Australia came on board  followed by SBS, and then Film Victoria.  We didn’t have a name or an address for the man.  We knew that he was from a Chinese background  from what Ning had told us.  But we had  no idea whether he was still in the country.  Nonetheless, on the surface this appeared to be a more straightforward  investigation than our search for Ning.  We at least had a place to start, the brothel at 1 Blackburn Street in  Surry Hills.   However, the investigation  proved to be a lot harder than Ning’s and took nearly twelve months from when  the research started.  It took us to  Thailand, to Tasmania, and to the back streets of cosmopolitan Surry Hills,  where the crime happened.

We found the man through a combination  of public records, information given to us by people who knew him, some of which will not go on record, and endless surveillance.  It was a slow, painstaking process that often  ended in despair.  I am relentless when  making a film and determined to get a result.  I was the only one in 2004 who never lost faith that we would find Ning.  But this investigation reached a point where  I felt that the man might never be found.  We discovered his name, William Lo, early on from public records, but we  couldn’t track him down, find an address or an image of him.  We were told that he still ran the Blackburn  Street brothel but our surveillance, and that of the private investigators we  hired, turned up nothing.  Lo, aka Hong Kong Willie, left few tracks.  He didn’t  appear in any Google search, and certainly wasn’t on Facebook.  Finally, a breakthrough led us to Lo.  We did a company search on an associate who  had once owned property with Lo, a woman called Bee Hong Ong.  We discovered that she had very recently  become the lessee on a property in Riley Street, Surry Hills.  This property was infamous as the site of  Sydney’s best-known bordello, A Touch of Class.  But it had been closed down for several years.  Now Bee Hong Ong, a woman connected to Hong  Kong Willie, was the new lessee.  But  William Lo’s name did not appear on any of the documentation for A Touch of  Class.   Surveillance established that staff vehicles associated with the Blackburn Street brothel were appearing at A  Touch of Class.  We then observed and  filmed a man, at the lane behind A Touch of Class, that fitted the description we had of William Lo.  We showed these  images to the property’s former landlord and he identified the man as William  Lo, as the man he’d dealt with directly in relation to Blackburn Street for  twelve years. We then confronted Lo,  filmed him again, and showed the images to Ning who positively identified the  man as the brothel operator.

Ning, together with  Melbourne Senior Counsel Fiona McLeod, will now try to bring a civil action  against William Lo.  If successful this  will be an historic case, as was Ning’s Victim of Crime compensation ruling.  Chris Payne has also written a report, which  he sent to the NSW Police in Surry Hills.  William Lo could still be charged for what he did to Ning in 1995.  The reckoning is not complete but we have
made a good start.

Trafficked – The Reckoning Premiere Screening at Bella Union – Level 1, Trades Hall Corner of Victoria & Lygon Streets Carlton South (enter off Lygon Street). Tuesday 13th September 2011. Doors open at 6.30pm film starts at 7.30pm  Tickets on sale @ Bella Union Includes a Q & A with the Filmmakers following the screening

Luigi Acquisto – Producer/Director

BIOGRAPHY

http://www.fairtradefilms.com.au/aboutus-luigi.html

Director/Producer Luigi Acquisto

Luigi Acquisto has worked as a filmmaker for twenty years.  He has produced over thirty short films, directed television drama and is one of Australia’s leading documentary producers. His work is committed to exploring confronting social justice issues in an original and cinematic way.  It is often groundbreaking.

Acquisto’s first film, Spaventapasseri, was one of the first of a new wave of films made in the 1980’s that explored post war migration from Europe.

Trafficked was the first Australian film to deal with sex slavery in Australia.  It is the highest rating ‘Storyline Australia’ program for SBS TV.

Acquisto has made four documentaries about East Timor since the country’s historic vote for independence from Indonesia in 1999.  The three part series  East Timor:  Birth of a Nation – Rosa’s Story & Lu Olo’s Story (2002) and Rosa’s Journey (2008), is the first longitudinal documentary series tracking the emergence of a new nation.

His next film project will be A Guerra Da Beatrice.  Luigi has co-written and will co-direct it with East Timorese partners. A Guerra Da Beatrice will be East Timor’s first homegrown feature film.  It will lay the foundations for a future Timor Lester film culture and industry.

Stella Zammataro – Producer

BIOGRAPAHY

Producer Stella Zammataro and Ning

http://www.fairtradefilms.com.au/aboutus-stella.html

In 1997 Stella co-founded Abracadabra Films with Luigi Acquisto.  Since then, she has produced many documentaries about some of the most critical social justice issues of our time.

The Life & Times of Malcolm Fraser was an engrossing portrait of Australia’s most controversial prime minister but also an indictment of Australia’s policies towards asylum seekers, aborigines and the decision to enter the Iraq war.

The two-part epic for ABC TV, East Timor: Birth of a Nation told the story of the 21st century’s first sovereign nation through the eyes of Rosa Martins, East Timor’s ‘Mother Courage’.  The film received an unprecedented five AFI nominations and won the major award for an Australian documentary at the 2002 Real Life on Film Festival.

In her twenties Stella Zammataro travelled and worked in South and South East Asia and formed a love for a part of the world that  features in many of the films she now produces.  Trafficked grew out of Zammataro’s abhorrence of the sex slavery she had witnessed during this time.  Stella was instrumental in securing victim of crime compensation from the NSW Attorney General’s Department for Jetsaporne Chaladlone, a thirteen year old Thai girl trafficked to a Sydney brothel.  This was an historic decision, the first recorded case in history of a slave receiving compensation.

In 2006 Stella returned to South East Asia for the third instalment in the East Timor series, Rosa’s Journey.  In 2008 Stella production co-ordinated the feature film Balbo.  It was the first foreign feature film to be shot in East Timor. In 2010, Stella’s determination to continue to tell the story of East Timor led to the formation of Fair-Trade Films.

Her next film project will be A Guerra Da Beatrice.  It has been co-written and will be co-directed and produced by East Timorese partners and will be East Timor’s first homegrown feature film.  It will lay the foundations for a future Timor-Leste film culture and industry.

Nick Calpakdjian – Film Editor

http://animusindustries.com/

Nick Calpakdjian is currently researching and writing THE BEER DETECTIVE for Fair-Trade Films. He wrote and directed the 6-part series, PRO JUICE, for Animus Industries which has just been sold to ABC ivies.  He has edited TRAFFICKED – THE RECKONING for Fair-Trade Films.  He has worked in the film and television industry as an editor since 2000 where he began editing television factual series in Perth, Western Australia. Since relocating to Melbourne in 2002, Nick has worked as a Director of music videos, sports magazine television segments and Edited documentaries, drama and educational videos. Nick was recently nominated by the Australian Screen Editors Guild as “Best Non-Drama” Editor for his work on the factual Lifestyle Channel series, BILL’S HOLIDAY (Dir. Bruce Permacel).

Nick has edited two previous documentaries for Fair-Trade Films aka Abracadabra Films, SURVIVAL SCHOOL (ABC, 2007) and ROSA’S JOURNEY (SBS, 2008).

Trafficked – The Reckoning Premiere Screening at Bella Union – Level 1, Trades Hall Corner of Victoria & Lygon Streets Carlton South (enter off Lygon Street). Tuesday 13th September 2011. Doors open at 6.30pm film starts at 7.30pm  Tickets on sale @ Bella Union Includes a Q & A with the Filmmakers following the screening

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COLLABORATOR PROFILE: Carpets For Communities

EVENT: Film Screening of Pray the Devil Back to Hell 

WHEN:  Thursday 14th July 2011

WHERE:  Basement @ Donkey Wheel House

ADDRESS: 673 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000 (near the corner of Spenser Street)

TIME: 7.30pm Doors open at 7pm

TICKETS: $20 tickets available online through Greentix Reserve your seat BOOK NOW!

To celebrate and raise awareness of women’s role in peace and development Arts in Action is excited and proud to HOST A CARPET PARTY on behalf of  Carpets For Communities – a project empowering mothers to break the cycle of poverty. A volunteer from the project will attend the screening of Pray the Devil Back to Hell to do a short presentation about Carpets for Communities, Fair Trade and development.

A wide range of beautiful hand crafted carpets made by women in Cambodia will be on display and available for sale on the night. They are simply gorgeous and buying a carpet supports an organisation that’s working towards solving poverty issues.

ABOUT CARPETS FOR COMMUNITIES

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

By empowering mothers to send their children to school through the production and sale  of one-of-a-kind, hand-hooked carpets, Carpets For Communities aim to improve the livelihoods of the poor in Poipet Commune and to help them break through the poverty cycle.

There are four key areas that Carpets for Communities focus on in order to achieve their goals.

  1. Empowering women to support their families
  2. Increasing levels of school enrolment and attendance
  3. Reducing the number of children at risk of trafficking, exploitation and other dangers
  4. Investing in the development of the Poipet Commune

ABOUT THE CARPETS

The rugs are high quality, durable floor rugs with stunning colors and multiple sizes.

They offer comfort for your feet and a beautiful piece for any bedroom, bathroom, lounge room or kitchen. Each rug is eco-friendly, made from post- production cotton t-shirt off-cuts and used hessian rice sacks.

Each piece of rolled cotton is individually hooked through the hessian sacks then stitched along the bottom. This hand-hooked process makes the carpets very durable, can be vacuumed and are machine washable.

GET ACTIVE: How to Support Carpets for Communities

1. Donate via Pledgie

Click here to lend your support to: I

2. Buy a rug online http://carpetsforcommunity.myshopify.com/

2. Host a Carpet Party http://wordpress.carpetsforcommunities.org/thecarpets/carpet-party/

3. Volunteer http://wordpress.carpetsforcommunities.org/volunteer/

4. Follow Carpets for Communities on FACEBOOK

 

On the eve of my first screening and the launch of Arts in Action I am very excited and have everything in place for a wonderful night. There are still a few tickets remaining. If you plan to come along you can purchase your ticket here or try your luck at the door. Planning this event has been an absolute joy! I have been able to collaborate and partner with the most incredible, socially conscious and creative individulas and organisations. And now I have a few new announcements so please read on…

Music by Andrew Bradsworth

Andrew Bradworth who is both a talented Melbourne photographer and musician is kindly supplying the background music on the night, which will be played before and after the film and during intermission. His latest CD tiltled “Look Up” will be playing and there will also be some CD’s available for sale.  Please visit his soundcloud page for a sample of his music.  You can contact Andrew via his website to purchase a CD.

See Andrew’s Artist statement below. 

Andrew Bradsworth – “Look Up”

Ambient, acoustic, electronic, experimental, soundscape

My compositions are a mixture of layered and textural soundscapes combining ‘music of the moment’ improvisations, loops and field recordings reflecting a passion for nature, the environment and how we deal and interact with it in our everyday lives. My approach to making music is of a ‘cinematic’ nature. I belong to environmental groups such as the Australian Conservation Foundation and Greenpeace. Musical influences range from Miles Davis, Brian Eno, Bill Frisell, Robert Fripp, Nels Cline, Steve Roach, Michael Stearns, Fennesz, Aphex Twin, John Martyn.

Special Guest

If all goes to plan, Richard from the 1 camera 1000 smiles project who is currently in Bali will skype in after the feature film to speak briefly with the audience about the project and to answer any audience questions. Zoe who is a volunteer with the project will also be there on the night to collect cameras that people donate.  She is heading off to Bali next week and may very well be personally delivering the donated cameras. I look forward to having both on board on the night!

Good Brew

Just quietly Deano from The Good Brew Company will be unleashing his new lemongrass infused bitter ale which is proving very popular with beer drinkers who are saying it’s the best beer they’ve tasted! I sure am looking forward to a taste!

A very special recycled art piece by Artist Sonia Grieve will be on display at the Donkey Wheel House on Thursday 12th May as part of the launch of Arts in Action and screening of Manufactured Landscapes. The documentary about world renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky encourages people to join a global conversation on sustainability and how we can minimise our impact on the environment. According to Sonia her piece titled ‘Atlas Novus’ (2011) began as a study in analysing and implementing sustainable work practices where the artistic process and its impact on the environment ran as a parallel creative narrative.

Artist Statement – Sonia Grieve smgrieve@tpg.com.au

Living in East Gippsland, Sonia works primarily in multimedia with a focus on the development of new pieces from found, recycled, reclaimed and liberated items. The Atlas, in its traditional form, has essentially been replaced by Google Maps, Google Earth and Global Positioning Systems. The creation of ‘Atlas Novus’ was an opportunity to transform a traditional bound volume of maps into a three dimensional, deconstructed, reimagining of a world globe. My desire was to create something beautiful and functional in my art work, to save it from landfill.

Materials:

Second-hand Atlas published in 1978, purchased from op shop.

Paper lightshade reclaimed from house.

Non-toxic glue;  1 cup of flour and 2 cups of water mixed.

 Construction:

The artwork was made during the day in natural sunlight. No electricity was consumed to make it.

The pieces of maps were hand cut with scissors and the remnants of paper were disposed into a household recycle bin.

Join the launch of Arts in Action 

Buy your tickets online now at Greentix as seats are limited  

A camera drive in support of the 1 camera 1000smiles project will also be held on the night, so please bring along any old unused cameras and photographic equipment which will be donated to the kids camera project. The Good Brew Company will be supplying beer, cider and/or wine brewed with a minimun carbon footprint. All inclusive, so come along bring your old cameras and toast the opening of Arts in Action with a good brew! Or if a Good Brew is not your cup of tea, then enjoy a STREAT coffee instead!

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An added feature of the Manufactured Landscapes screening on May 12th at the Donkey Wheel House is the inclusion of a “Difference Makers Segment” which screens a series of short clips and documentaries that shine a spotlight on local people, artists, projects and businesses that use sustainable principles and practices.  These are the people working at a grassroots level to make a difference in addressing global environmental issues. These are the people who are taking action, talking steps towards the creation of a more sustainable world. By supporting these people and their missions, we can make a difference on our own own individual level. I personally admire their creativity and innovation so I encourage you to learn more about what these tremendous people do. You can find out more and support them by coming along and participating in the Arts in Action launch, camera drive and film screening.  If you plan to come along get your tickets now @ $20 which includes a sustainable brew, fairtrade tea and coffee and freshly popped corn. Buy your tickets online now at Greentix.  Seats are limited and filling up.

Collaborators, Partners and Difference Makers

A recycled  art piece created by Artist Sonia Grieve titled Atlas Novus will be on display on the night. Sonia used sustainable art practices in the creation of her art piece. A paper written on how she created the work and how she used sustainable methods, will be posted here soon.

And thanks for the co-operation and involvment of these wonderful people.. 

Photo by Richard Piscioneri

COLLABORATOR PROFILE: 1 Camera 1000 smiles

Event: Film Screening Manufactured Landscapes

Click here for part 1 of the interview

Angie: So what’s happening in the next phase of the project?

Richard: Now that we’ve collated some camera equipment the next phase is to assign the cameras to the kids and work out a schedule where they go and take photos. We’re now going through the process of back peddling we’re going to start off creating a new curriculum, so there’s a lot more structure. And it’s developing into something more comprehensive. Actually this whole thing is more a media project, you know it’s not just cameras, it’s media overall. The workshops with the children also turn into sort of activity days. We stop and we do some song and dance or there may be a yoga workshop that happens in between it all. Perhaps something else, some books or other kids activities and then we always incorporate the recycling venture into it.  We run around the village and collect rubbish that’s around the area.

Angie: Tell us more about the environmental aspect of the project

Richard: And that’s one of the other purposes, that’s the underlying agenda here as well, is to create an environmental project alongside with the camera project. And in the end if you actually boil it down the camera project is an environmental project because it’s utilizing disused equipment, disused products and there’s so many disused products around the world particularly in places like here in Melbourne in Australia, people throw things out all the time hard rubbish, you can build an entire house if not a city on some of the things that are thrown away.

When you’re in a place like Bali or Indonesia, not even a stick is thrown out because it all gets reused. Like today I went and saw a friend who donated a box of toys to the kids which is amazing and there was another couple of boxes beside them and  I go what are those for? Oh we just went through those and we didn’t think those things were good enough to give you so we’re going to take it to the tip. I go, no you don’t realise that what’s in those boxes is just as precious or just as valuable. They gladly accept anything and will utilise it. And anything that’s really no good, we’ll sift through and get rid of  but there’s a vast difference between what we imagine is no good and what actually is, we have different concepts or understandings of what’s valuable and what’s not.  The majority of it can be totally utilised.

And that’s one of my main things I’m just a little bit concerned about the developments that happen everywhere and how things are produced quite cheaply monetary wise but they have an impact, they’re quite expensive because they have an impact on the earth’s environment.

So we’re so accustomed now to going into stores that import a lot of goods from very cheap economies like China for example. And they’re able to produce products, you know even things like tools. Certain brand of power tools are produced quite cheaply  so people would just buy these products and they’d buy them and then they throw them out and then they buy more and it all gets thrown out again, into land waste, so then it has to be remanufactured, reproduced, redelivered, reshipped, resold and rewasted.

And this is my own personal pet hate so I just want to try and do my two little bobs worth towards it, you know, just for my own personal, self satisfaction. You know if I can make my own differences to what surrounds me , then I’m happy with that.  I’m not trying to change the world, the only thing I can change is myself.

Angie: What are some of the project targets?

Richard: Well the target, I guess when designing and conceptualising the whole 1 camera 1000 smiles project, was always to set up a project like this and then utilize what we learn from the initial project and then taking this idea and implementing it into other areas, other parts of the world.  This could be done with cameras, it gets done with books, computers, and everything but it’s about, creating a little bit of happiness and then to taking it a little bit more worldwide. And you know, it doesn’t necessarily have to be underdeveloped regions, this project can happen right here at my own doorstep here in Australia. There are lots of groups here, that could utilize something like this, that could utilize a project of this nature. Lots of groups, ethnic groups,  youth groups, and a whole host of others.

Angie: How can people contribute to the project? What’s needed and what are some of the different ways people can contribute?

Richard: How can people contribute to the project, well there’s a host of different ways. The project is quite a young project; it’s starting now, beginning to really create a firmer foundation. Primarily the way to contribute is just by people going through their old drawers and just seeing what’s in cupboards or garages and sheds, and seeing if they have any photographic equipment or media style equipment, that they want to part with, or that hasn’t been used for 5 years or 10 years or 2 years and it’s not going to be intentionally used again. And rather than collect dust we could make use of it.  Most people can contribute by giving us their old disused cameras.

Other people can contribute if they really want to get involved as a volunteer. There are some roles for volunteers. We’ve got people at the moment beginning to work on creating some infrastructure to the project. As the project develops we’re going to need educators. People that want to contribute time. Money at the moment is something we don’t readily want to accept. We want to be able to self fund, but we don’t want to be a charity per se. We want to be like an NGO group where we can become a little bit self funding. We can create workshops and education programs for people who have the ability to pay and then use those funds towards the project itself. 

Yoga instructors, Trekking Guides, health practitioners, photographers, teachers, flight attendance, restauranteurs, architects, hoteliers, lawyers and artists have all shared their time and inspired our local Balinese children. If you would like to share your skill sets then please complete the on line application form.

Click here to get involved in the 1 camera 1000 smiles project

Angie: So people who attend those workshops are indirectly funding the project?

Richard: Absolutely yes.

Angie: So people who have an interest in photography and want to learn from you, can attend those workshops?

Richard:  Yes anyone who wants to support the project financially indirectly can attend a camera workshop and learn about different facets of photography or they can go on a photographic tour. We’d rather have something of an exchange like that than just outright collect money. Because we’re not really prepared to or in a position to be collecting people’s monies.  At the moment pretty much, it’s only a couple of us doing this and we haven’t got the capacity so perhaps when things develop there may be provision for that.

 Angie: What do you need to help the project move forward?

Richard: Well to do a project like this we need equipment, we need facilities, transport, we need to house it all. Transporting equipment from Australia to Bali initially is expensive and I fund it all myself. So it would be really great to get an airline company to come on board and say hey,  we’re gonna give you ex amount of cargo for free. Or we’re going to be able to support you ex amount per month or per trip or whatever. Or we can give you some additional luggage or something of some nature. Or when you collect ex amount, you know maybe a transport company will come on board and say hay we’ll ship this across for you and put a small bit of cubic meter container over for you. Something of that nature.  That would be invaluable to us, because things weigh a lot, everything’s by weight and at the moment I just simply pay for extra luggage on a plane and it all adds up. Also it’s not a great way of taking things across. If I had that need met I could now take over 60, 80, 100 kilos of equipment.

Once I’m over there the other thing I need is to set up a place to house it all and create the actual library itself because at the moment it’s all just at my house. I want to set up a photo library where people come and borrow the equipment. I also want to have a travelling library. Even just to build a small little trailer on a small vehicle, something of that nature where we can roll around and go from township to township on a weekly or fortnightly basis and do that. So that’s needed as well.

Since its all non profit, I’m not earning an income from it. I’m just basically working it off my own personal savings at the moment. And in the process I’m being touched and moved by the support. In fact there’s a host of equipment donated from government organisations, from the general public, and people are detaching or departing with their own personal equipment, stuff that has some sort of personal sentiment to them. Like the first camera they ever learnt on or a camera that belonged to a dear family member and so forth. And this is really touching and with this it creates a real sense of responsibility, not only to the prospective students but also to the sponsors, to everyone who supports the project.

Angie: What is it that brings a smile to your face about this project?

I just get a good sense when I’m teaching the kids. When I’m actually in amongst it all I get a really good sense for it. A really good feeling and that makes me smile. And it’s not, you know, it’s not something that I crave, it’s not something that I need, or I planned for, it’s something that I became aware of, while I was there teaching. I don’t know just being in amongst it, watching the project, participating in the actual activity of the educational side , it’s physically demanding , its mentally demanding but it’s extremely rewarding as well. And all these other aspects of it, you know, speaking about the project, creating a website, creating everything else that surrounds it is nice. But really the bigger smile comes from smiling alongside with the kids. And watching their faces light up. Energy creates energy. So when you’ve got 100 kids smiling and really happy about things it just doesn’t do anything but make you smile as well.

Also it’s very moving when we get notes attached to the cameras that are donated and like I said before it may be their first camera. They’ll leave a note saying “this camera was the first camera I ever learnt on, I hope it’s brings a lot of happiness to someone else as well, coz it’s certainly brought me a lot of happiness.” So there are little attachments like that and that really make me smile too.

TO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT PLEASE BRING ALONG YOUR OLD UNUSED CAMERAS TO THE SCREENING OF MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES. If you can’t attend the screening but have equipment you wish to donate please contact Angie angiemuccillo@gmail.com or on 0417391055 to arrange a pick up.

“Aspiring to be the catalyst for positive change in young people’s lives, ten passionate volunteers are pedaling and performing their way from Melbourne to Canberra to engage with youth, through theatre and workshops, about the critical role that responsible consumer choices have on creating a more equal and sustainable planet. …”

What an impressive and inspiring example of arts in action! Otesha uses art and media to teach teenagers about sustainability.  By being the “change they want to see in the world” the project volunteers are  individuals whose own personal actions and choices are an example of sustainable living that young people and the community at large can learn from.  Co-Director of the Otesha project  Vanessa Hewson shares the goals and vision of the Otesha Project:

 “Over the last eleven years, The Otesha Project has endeavored to: further develop awareness about the environmental and social impacts of the products and resources we consume; increase the number of responsible consumer choices made by young Australians; and increase the number of young role models and sustainability advocates in Australia. We believe that significant change can be achieved through individual action and we aim to encourage young people to ‘be the change they wish to see in the world’.

As ten individuals we realise that we can’t change the world, instead we’ve committed changing ourselves and, it is to be hoped, be the catalyst for change in others. We believe that the problem is not that people don’t want to change, but that they don’t understand why change is needed or that they feel overwhelmed by the size of the problems and can’t easily see ways to be part of the solutions. Therefore, we see an urgent need for educational programs that shift attitudes about the impacts of our daily consumer choices, build positive social norms, and reduce the perceived barriers around taking action on sustainability issues. We believe that young people can be powerful and influential change makers but need to feel empowered to do so. ”

Bike Performing Tours

The Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for Sustainability hosts annual Bicycle Performing Tours visiting schools throughout parts of Australia to inspire, educate, and engage youth about sustainable consumption.

Teams of 15 – 20 amazing, motivated people travel by bike to present a theatre performance and workshops while living in a collective bike community for eight weeks. Using theatre, multimedia and interactive workshops, the school presentation provides a unique approach to understanding environmental and social justice issues.

Using a consensus model for decision-making, tour members work together to design workshops, coordinate presentations, source accomodation, cook food, solicit media opportunities and connect with local community members.

School Performances

The Otesha Project (Aus) visits schools along the routes of their Bicycle Performing Tours to present their sustainability-themed performance.

Using theatre, multimedia and interactive workshops, Otesha provides a unique approach to understanding environmental and social justice issues. All performances are followed by workshops on various topics around environmental and social justice issues.

How to Support Otesha..

Arts in Action is proud to support the Otesha Project through donation and as a Collaborator at the screening event Manufactured Landscapes, where the short documentary about the 2009 Victorian Loop Bike Performing Tour will be screened during the “Difference Makers” segment of the evening.

Join the launch of Arts in Action with a screening of Manufactured Landscapes an award winning documentary film about the work of photographer and 2005 TED Prize winner Edward Burtynsky. A camera drive in support of the 1 camera 1000smiles project will also be held on the night, so please bring along any old unused cameras and photographic equipment which will be donated to the kids camera project. The Good Brew Company will be supplying beer, cider and/or wine brewed with a minimun carbon footprint. All inclusive, so come along bring your old cameras and toast the opening of Arts in Action with a good brew! Or if a Good Brew is not your cup of tea, then enjoy a STREAT coffee instead! Get your tickets at Greentix

I have chosen to purchase certified fair trade and organic STREAT Coffee, which is locally roasted at the gorgeous Abbotsford Convent Bakery  for the Arts in Action launch on the 12th May at Donkey Wheel House.

A Community Cup

STREAT is a Social Enterprise located at the Donkey Wheel House which provides social support and hospitality programs to homeless youth. STREAT partners with the Convent Bakery to roast their coffee because of a shared passion for making the world a more sustainable place with great food and beverages.  Click here to view the STREAT coffee videos where Convent Bakery owner Arnie offers a behind the scenes take on how the coffee is roasted, and why he chose to support STREAT.

 So if you’re coming along to the screening launch and a Good Brew is not your cup of tea, then enjoy a STREAT coffee instead!!

Photo by Richard Piscioneri

COLLABORATOR PROFILE: 1 Camera 1000 Smiles 

Event: Film Screening Manufactured Landscapes

On Friday 4th March 2011 I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard at his Urban Artistry photography studio in Collingwood. Due to fly out to Bali early in the next week, Richard generously made time to answer questions and share his vision and goals for the 1 camera 1000 smiles project. He speaks with warmth, passion and spirit about how it all started and where the project is at right now. I was specifically interested in finding out what type of support the project needs to move forward and how people can contribute. He also shares his thoughts about the power of photography to create change and talks about his passion for teaching/education and his interest in environmental issues, particularly recycling and redistribution of resources. Finally he tells us what it is about this project that makes him smile!

Below is PART 1 of a written transcript of the voice recorded conversation.

Angie: Richard can you tell us about your vision for the 1 camera 1000 smiles project?

Richard: I guess the 1 camera 1000 smiles project is about sharing, education, it’s about development; it’s about waste, the environment, progression, the change of the world and the world changing. It’s about western development, underdeveloped countries, overdeveloped countries and trying to create some sort of harmony and balance in between. It comes about you know, photography is a powerful medium and pretty much it produces change and alters the course in the world. It makes people accountable in so many ways as well, it’s been used to put ideas forward, to put expressions forward, to publicize, advertise, to create, capture and so forth. So it’s a very very very powerful medium.

Ah and the project itself, it’s about giving people a little bit of autonomy and power for themselves and that’s through the means of education, which I think is by far the ultimate in knowhow and power, it’s about creating autonomy and giving people confidence and so forth coz it puts things on par and it opens up new ways of sharing ideas and information. So in a nutshell …. is that a nutshell ? or no… it’s a big walnut perhaps, coz it’s got a few twists in there but there’s a lot involved, it’s not simply about collecting a bunch of cameras and taking them into developing countries and giving them out, it not about handouts that’s for sure. It’s about getting in there amongst it with people who are in need and trying to give them a bit of hope and a bit of knowhow.

Angie: So how did the project come about and where is at right now?

Richard: Well the process is in its infancy, it was instigated about 10 months ago. It’s a slow process, you know, working in the tropics, working from halfway between Australia and Bali and travelling in between and so forth. But it just started with a bit of an idea because I used to work as an educator and a photographer. And it started off with a bit of a passion of mine to just take those skills sets and utilize it because I wanted to share that. I haven’t always been a  teacher , it’s been only 3 or four years but there’s something about teaching that’s really self indulgent, self rewarding and you know, not only do I teach, I learn, I experience and have the opportunity to speak, and as you can see I love speaking! So it kind of gives me a platform for that.

Angie:  You take cameras into remote villages and run workshops with the kids. What do they do with the cameras? Tell us about your experiences with that and what the response is like?

Richard: The idea is to collect a whole host of disused cameras from Australia, so we’ve been doing that along the way. The first workshop I held though, I used my own professional equipment. I had professional expensive photographic equipment,  which I’m handing out to these kids and they’re walking around with these expensive cameras around their necks. Which is quite a sight, it’s a bit of a buzz for me too.

With workshops, ok so what’s been happening with the kids so far, we’ve been going up there, just giving them some small educational introductions to cameras. We’ve done some demonstrations we’ve shown them samples of photography, showing them what a camera can do, how the camera works, just showing them how to use it, through demonstration. Taking photos of them, with them, giving them the opportunity to use the camera.

We go up to a town in Bali, in the region of Kintamani which is in a mountain area. We go to a village called Blandingan which is one of Bali’s most historic villages, pretty much untouched, very untouched. Apparently and I don’t know if this is true or not, but I like telling this story, it makes me feel a little bit special, they say I’m the first westerner to spend a night overnight in the town.  It’s a very basic sort of village but it is beautiful…absolutely beautiful.  Most of the houses are 12 post houses, some of them with dirt floors. Ah just the fields, the village lifestyle, the community the whole sense of it, it’s pretty amazing and it just fills you full of joy and your senses sort of get sparked up when you’re in that environment. When you watch the kids and the families in the villages and how they make do and how they operate on a daily basis, that alone is a workshop. It’s a workshop for myself via them.

My Bahasa, my Indonesian is not all that great so I try and do things by gesture and I have an interpreter as well. So there’s definitely a language barrier but the kids are so clever. They tend to have a complete grasp of it, learning things quickly. In teaching them about concepts such as aperture and shutter speed even through gesture, you can see by the expressions on their faces that they’re getting it and if they don’t get it all they get at least 70% of it and that alone is rewarding.  So I know I’ve got a captive highly astute audience that given some time and some nurturing, some energy are going to excel at whatever they do.

Now these kids may not necessarily want to be photographers per se, and they don’t necessarily have to be. But it just gives them a little bit of hope, you know a little bit of knowledge and knowhow and it brings them up to speed with things and I think there are a lot of benefits to learning how to use a camera. And just for the expressions on their faces I think that’s enough. The kids receive it well and the village adults receive it warmly.

Click here for PART 2 of this interview where Richard talks about what’s happening in the next phase of the project and how people can contribute.

Serving a delicious sustainable brew, Deano of The Good Brew Company will be supplying the drinks at the Arts in Action launch on the 12th May at Donkey Wheel House. Come along and toast the opening of Arts in Action with a good brew! Not only is his brew good, Deano is also a man with  a mission, which is why I decided to hire him for the launch. The Good Brew Company is also a HUB tenant at the Donkey Wheel House. Don’t miss Deano’s wonderful little doco, posted at the bottom of this page.

Beer brewed with a minimun carbon footprint

The beer is brewed locally by breweries with solar preheat or other innovative environmental measures in place. It is delivered by bicycle and served from reusable kegs into reusable glasses/bamboo which can be washed, rinsed and chilled at venue. ZERO WASTE created.  

What is a good brew? by Deano  http://www.goodbrew.com.au/

A good brew is a sustainable brew.

A sustainable brew is brewed with traditional methods.
– Slow fermentation
– No chemicals

A sustainable brew also considers the environment in all phases of its production
– Has a the smallest possible carbon footprint
(in grain sourcing, grain & beer distribution and all aspects of the brewing process)
– Uses rainwater as much as possible
– Tastes fantastic and makes you feel good

Most microbrewers already endeavour to minimalise there ecological impact. These brewers must do all of the following for Sustainable Brews to market their product for them:
– Be local (within 50km) to Brunswick (home of Sustainable Brews)
– Use solar technology to preheat all water required for the brewing process.
– Use green power to power the rest of the brewery.
– Encourage workers to ride to work (xmas bonuses)
– Catch rain water (if uncontaminated by possum poo) from the roof to use for rinsing, washing & bathroom facilities…brewing if possible.
– Use only natural ingredients, no GMO’s and no preservatives
– Use only recycled paper based boxes and stationary

Check out Deano’s doco created by the Documentary Shop It’s sure to make you smile 🙂

Deano from Coburg from Documentary Shop on Vimeo.