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Stories of Gutharraguada Country (Shark Bay)
This is the story about Jimmy Poland, senior Malgana man of the Gascoyne region in Gutharraguada Shark Bay country, who has been carving pearl shell, emu eggs and more recently boab nuts for many years- a skill that was passed down from his father. His life stories told though his art is one of inspiration and dedication, not only to the preservation of the Malgana culture, but that it is possible to follow your desires and dreams at any age. \nThe documentary will follow on from a recent mentorship program with Perth based contemporary jewellery designer Helena Bogucki; culminating in a touring exhibition. The documentary will focus on Jimmy’s extraordinary stories of growing up in Shark Bay and his life as a fisherman and the surrounding country. These stories are pertinent to his artwork as his unique environment is to his inspiration.\nTwo WA film makers will coordinate the production through oral histories, community interviews and flash back re enactments; capturing the journey of Jimmy through his relationship with his family, the land, and the people of Shark Bay. Given Jimmy’s age (86 years), his family and the Aboriginal community of Shark Bay are very committed to the urgent documentation of his stories which are representative of the Indigenous history of Shark Bay, making Monkey Mia the popular tourist destination it is today. To date these stories remain unacknowledged.\nTo bring his stories of his youth to life, re enactment techniques will include Jimmy’s younger family members, friends and community members. It will also include mentoring 4 young people and community workshops in photography and film. Professional film makers, Bewley Shaylor and Michael Fletcher will create the narrative structure to the film and will undertake the final stage of editing and post-production. \nAs another way of developing a unified creative vision for the people of Shark Bay, the music score will incorporate the talents of local Indigenous musicians and friends such as Howard Cox with Jimmy Poland himself on the mouth organ. \nThe project has complete endorsement of his family and Yadgalah Aboriginal Corporation. To quote Jimmy’s nephew and local Indigenous Tourism Operator, Darren Capewell: “His art making and stories are a part of our Indigenous cultural history and traditions which in turn promote education, understanding and respect....they are a unique piece of the spirit country representing the landscape he grew up in- Gutharraguada (Shark Bay).”

How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

This is an acknowledgement of the Malgana culture of Gutharraguada country; celebrating the Aboriginal history of this significant World Heritage Area. It will support the preservation of this important cultural heritage and open viewers eyes to a critical story that remains untold. \n\nAs a tool for public education it will encourage audience development in a film genre not accessible in regional areas of WA. It will promote an understanding of the past and displays community ownership through their involvement. The skills development left in the region will leave a lasting legacy, encouraging further developmental opportunities.\n\nExposure on Indigenous programs such as Message Sticks and ABC encourages support and awareness of the supporting philanthropic foundation. This will also be achieved through exposure via national and international film festival circuits.\n\nProduction of the final documentary piece invites cross community participation of the young and old, indigenous and non-indigenous and directly responds to Bridging the Gap strategies- particularly highlighting the achievements of an elderly Malgana man with a significant hearing impairment. \n\nRecognition that such arts projects are integral to health, education and social well being has, to date, resulted in strong support financially or in kind from local organisations and government agencies.
Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

This will be the first time Jimmy’s stories will be documented visually as a part of the Indigenous cultural history Gutharraguada country. Jimmys stories are of particular importance as they helped to shape the identity of Denham and the Shark Bay area- in particular, his association to the world famous tourist experience with the dolphins at Monkey Mia. \nCommunity members and mentorees will develop film making skills not accessible in the region whilst working with industry professionals. \nGreater artistic recognition of Jimmy as a leading Mulgana artist and story teller; inspiring other regional mature age artists and those suffering a physical impairment. Being one of a few senior Mulgana people still residing in Denham this is a timely and critical project.\nExposure will contribute to the recognition of Shark Bay for domestic and international tourists encouraging Australian Indigenous education and respect.\nMeasurements\n\n• For acquittal purposes- written project reports from the professional film makers and the project manager.\n\n• Community workshop feedback via a short survey form.\n\n• Ongoing mentoree feedback via documentary blog site and future developments.\n\n• Peer artistic feedback and media critique via various film national and international film festival audiences.\n\n• Audience numbers locally and internationally.

What is your education and outreach strategy?

This will include a mentoring program where the filmmakers will work closely with a selected group of local Indigenous filmmaking students and a website will be set up to view the progress of the documentary and films made by the students. This will contain resources for educators and audience discussion forums.\n\nCommunity workshops will run each time the filmmakers are based in the region (x 4). Local participants will be taken out on location shoots working with different back drops, subject matter and natural lighting for filming and photography purposes. The filmmakers will be available on line and via phone in between trips to answer follow up questions.\nThere are future opportunities for the mentorees to continue development with the film makers film makers through formal training and may include working with the filmmakers in Perth at their studios on other related projects.\nThe documentary will be released locally first before being submitted for release in all media forms and film festivals, both nationally and internationally in the 2013-2014 season. The documentary will remain in the region as an educational resource and will become part of the permanent features in 2 cultural and heritage tourism facilities in the region.
Bewley Shaylor
Bewley Shaylor, Michael Fletcher
Total budget
44 Minutes