Friday Night Trilogy : In Conversation & Eco Documentaries

An inspiring series exploring our beautiful natural world, the way we care for and cultivate it and how that informs our relationship to the land and each other.

Caring for Culture  |  The Saltwater Story (Short Film + Q&A)

70 kilometres, 3 days, 2 canoes and 1 incredible adventure.

Upon becoming a father, award-winning author Benjamin Allmon realised he knew nothing of the indigenous history of his home, the land of the Saltwater People, to teach his son. So he embarked on a voyage of discovery that led him further than he ever expected.

Guided by Indigenous canoemaker Kyle Slabb from the Bundjalung people, a group of young men (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) build traditional canoes and embark on a 3-day sea voyage re-tracing an ancient trade route from the heart of the Queensland Gold Coast to North Stradbroke Island, a journey not made for over 100 years.

It is a story of connection – not just between the Saltwater People, but between generations, between black and white, between land, sky and sea.

It is a story of collaboration – whether it is made from bark or dugout, no one makes a canoe alone.

It is a story of co-operation – the paddlers must work together if they are to get anywhere in these shark- infested waters.

And it is a story of continuance – of ancient knowledge now held by just a few, of ensuring that tomorrow’s elders are brought along for the journey today.

5.30pm Fri 4 Oct

The Saltwater Story tickets only $10 – book now 

First Nation artist Kev Starkey

Live in the Gold Bar

Fri 4 Oct | 6.15pm – 7.15pm

In Conversation  |  Renewed Agriculture: First Nations Futures

Facilitated by the festival’s Artistic Director Lydia Fairhall, a panel of eco- documentary makers, community members and First Nations land management specialists, will gather to create dialogue and engage in critical discussion around an issue close to the heart.

World renowned Indigenous Firestick Practitioner, filmmaker, artist and traditional knowledge land management consultant Victor Steffensen (Tagalaka) will share his insights into how traditional land management practices can regenerate landscape and bring life back to areas that have become depleted. Victor has traveled extensively throughout Australia, and the world helping people manage bush fires, working with Rural Fire Bridgades, pastoralists and local communities to repair and protect their land.

Panelists include Leanne Sommer, Project Manager for Sustainable Agriculture, World Wide Fund for Nature Australia, and Sean Ryan from Private Forestry Service Queensland.


“What we’re simply doing is showing people the land is the boss and the land is the one that leads us”

Victor Steffensen.


7.15pm Fri 4 Oct  |  Register for In Conversation 

Caring for Country  | Short Form Eco Documentaries

Friday night’s special programming will finish with the screening of two short form eco – documentaries the compelling Warburdur Bununu – Water Shield and Saving Seagrass.

Warburdur Bununu – Water Shield

In the late ’70s, Borroloola elders co-produced a landmark film to expose the threat to their homelands from mining development. In 2019, the eco-battle re-ignites. A young leader is devastated when Borroloola Town Camps receive water contamination notices only to rediscover hope in the healing power of culture.

Director Jason De Santolo follows the trail of the heavy metal pollution in the Gulf Country, which has made the community’s water unfit to drink, fish or swim in.  It’s the story of Scott Wurjuki McDinny, who Inspired by his forefathers and using ancient song and dance, is determined to shield his homelands from mining.

Saving Seagrass

Wrapping up the evening, eco documentary Saving Seagrass is an exploration of the priceless environment of Roebuck Bay, Western Australia – the traditional lands of the Yawuru people – now under threat on many fronts. The immense bay is home to dugong and turtles, myriads of migrating birds and countless shellfish. It’s also been the food bowl for generations and generations of the Yawuru people. From the intertidal zone to the sweeping sands, it’s a complex chain of survival for the saltwater animals and plants. The seagrass on which much of this diverse ecosystem relies is a bio indicator of the state of the environment.

Today, the seagrass is disappearing at an astonishing rate and the local community is doing all it can to monitor the worrying trend and raise awareness. The necessity for science and cultural knowledge to unite and save this special place is at the forefront of Gary Hamaguchi’s visually sumptuous documentary.

8.30pm Fri 4 Oct | Get Caring for Country tickets 

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