We follow Melbourne based musician Allara Briggs Pattison, a young Yorta Yorta woman, on her journey to reconnect with her family and culture. Allara feels disconnected from her family and wants to reconnect and dedicate time to learning her culture and responsibilities as an Aboriginal woman. It becomes clear to Allara that a trickle down effect has consequently left Allara physically and emotionally disconnected with her Aboriginal identity.
Along her journey, Allara learns of her family’s ongoing fight for recognition as the Traditional Owners of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria. After reconnecting with her family and spending time on Country, Allara returns to Melbourne to unravel the events of the Native Title case. She meets with solicitor, Peter Seidel, the representative for the Yorta Yorta Native Title Claim, who reveals the unjust result that hinged on a ‘Frozen in time view of Aboriginality’. She challenges this perception and decides to meet with other family members to challenge the hypothesis that someone cannot be Yorta Yorta if they do not live a traditional way of life.
Ignited by her passion, Allara begins working at the State Library Victoria as the Koori Research Officer. Through her position, she teaches others how to take initiative to connect with their own family and cultural archives using library research tools. However, she also reflects on government initiatives such as the Bunjilaka Centre at the Melbourne Museum, where her grandfather features in a looped video and evaluates how additional government resources could be used to urgently enhance the preservation of Aboriginal culture and heritage. Meanwhile, her family encourages her to reopen the Native Title Claim again, to which she feels compelled.
Allara finds herself immersed in protests to stop changes to the Native Title Act that would weaken the Act and the voices of Traditional Owners. She consults Peter Seidel again, who believes that the Native Title Act has the potential to be an effective Act if it were designed in a way to favour Traditional Owners. Realising that her time may be wasted until a system is put in place to protect Indigenous peoples, the activist decides her life will not be defined by the negative Native Title ruling, she will not reopen the Native Title Claim and will instead continue to focus her energy on establishing her career as a powerful musician and fundamentally, a Yorta Yorta woman who wants to continue strengthening the bonds between her family, culture and Country as that’s all there is in the end.
Allara Briggs Pattison
Uncle Don Briggs
Aunty Sue Briggs
Uncle John Briggs
Uncle Alf Turner (Uncle Boydie)
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
As independent film makers we are always looking for support and guidance, particularly when we can find assistance from a foundation whose values align with ours. We are focussed on setting an example encourage positive social change. The philosophy behind our work is to develop a groundbreaking and thought provoking film that purposefully touches on topics that are often uncomfortable to digest, but are equally as important. Through this work, we intend to expand social comfort barriers and provide avenues for greater and more meaningful reconciliation.
Allara has bravely revealed her personal journey to share how important it is to feel proud of one’s identity and always continue to build on family and community relationships. Her story is relatable to other Indigenous people, who are a small number of the Australian population but disproportionately affected by Government Policy. The journey of connection, family history and cultural heritage is an important one that also affects non Indigenous people who may have questions about their heritage in Australia, or may be looking for their ancestral history. The film recommends achievable changes to Government policy that support reconciliation as a nation wide movement. This is relevant on a global scale.
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
We have a thorough promotions plan and aim to have our film prepared to a standard that meets the requirements to premiere at the Yirramboi Festival in May 2019. The curators have personally invited us to submit our film for this event. This is a First Nation’s arts festival and is the shared language of the Boon wurrung Wurrunjeri peoples of the Koolin Nations, Melbourne, Australia. The festival shifts paradigms and perceptions in how we engage with and talk about Indigenous arts. We will place a survey leaflet on the chairs of those attending the premiere of Beautiful Sunshine to gain an idea of the impact.
We will be holding a specific aim to hold a community based event to celebrate the broadcast of ‘Beautiful Sunshine’. This will be accompanied by Allara’s EP launch, where she will play several tracks that feature on the score of the documentary. The event will include musicians Allara has previously collaborated with, including Archie Roach, Scott Darlow, Robert Champion, Up Up Away and Zeon.
We aim to join forces with Songlines (Aboriginal Music Corporation), Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, Fitzroy (providing a variety of medical services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA). This is a tentative list of contributors, which we anticipate to expand as we network throughout the post-production stage. We intend to undertake workshops and performances to elaborate on themes that are discussed in the film. The impact of this will be difficult to measure, but with our experience, will provide a platform for people to question our experience. We hope to provide answers to encourage others to take a similar journey to Allara.
Throughout the filming of the production, we will build our audience through publicising the production on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This will take place on accounts set up specifically for ‘Beautiful Sunshine’ as well as our personal accounts. We are currently in the process of contacting newspapers, explaining the key points of the documentary and promoting the scheduled broadcast/premiere. We will hold radio interviews with community broadcasting networks such as 3KND, RRR, PBS, 3CR, JJJ, Radio Adelaide 101.5, 105.7, The River from New South Wales and 88.3 Southern FM to expand the reach of our audience from Victoria to South Australia and New South Wales. We intend to encourage viewers of our film, primarily, and secondly to engage with other like-minded folk who need encouragement to reconnect with their families.
What is your education and outreach strategy?
Allara will launch an EP which will contain music from her compositions from the score of the documentary. A national tour of this EP alongside screenings a will showcase the documentary to a wide variety of people from many backgrounds. A short list of organisations interested in these dual screenings and live EP performances who are keen for this unique experience are key a key to the flow on effect as each event will be experienced by new potential clients. Some of these organisations include, Yirramboi, ACMI, Arnold Bloch and Leibler, Melbourne University/Victorian College of the Arts and the Wilin Centre, the State Library of Victoria, Bendigo Senior Secondary College, The Grain Store in Nathalia, Shepparton Art Museum, Footscray Community Arts Centre and many more.
Dhungala Baarka, a duo of Allara and Nancy Bates who met during their time touring Archie Roach will be able to tour the film in Women's Justice Facilities where majority of the women are on remand. Nancy is an integral part of this aspect of sharing the film as she has many connections with different correctional facilities and women who would gain a lot of confidence and even self esteem knowing they are not alone in their journeys as Indigenous people.
Sue Briggs, Allara’s mother is an experienced primary school teacher who has many connections with schools in Bendigo Victoria but due to her 20+ years working in that professions, with Aboriginal students she has many connections who are keen to screen our films and incorporate Q&A’s for students.
Independent screenings will also give countless people the opportunity to see this important film. However we can aim to get as many of these views as possible to interact without Facebook and Instagram accounts, developing a movement of followers for sharing of short clips, memes, and music which backup themes in the film.