Dialog Box

Arts | History | Indigenous | Social Justice
Spirits in the Stone
When hundreds of paintings are found at a sandstone cave in a remote corner of Australia, it sparks world attention.

The monumental discovery sets in motion one women’s journey to learn about her ancient ancestors and connect to her homeland, a place she never knew.

It also captures the attention of a group of rock art specialists and scientists, who respond to her call for help and travel across the globe to uncover the cave’s age-old secrets.

Their findings change world history and trigger a race to protect the paintings and their rocky home from myriad threats, both natural and man-made.

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

The documentary has been made at the request of a group of Jawoyn elders who want to:
1. Advance global understanding of Aboriginal culture.
2. Document and showcase cultural stories, paintings, cultural knowledge and traditions.
3. Raise awareness about protecting and preserving cultural heritage sites and knowledge.
4. Inform and inspire future generations.

On a more personal level, traditional owner Margaret Katherine wants the citizens of the world to see her special, spectacular site and for people to join her journey to learn about her ancestors and reconnect with her homeland. Margaret fears the younger generation aren't listening to their elders and important cultural knowledge is being lost. She sees Spirits in the Stone as an important way to capture stories and showcase the rich cultural heritage and rugged beauty of her untouched corner of Arnhem Land - a place so remote and protected, only a few will ever get to see with their own eyes.

The film should also be supported because it focuses on important work in science and history. Specifically, Spirits in the Stone:
1. Showcases findings that change world history.
2. Illustrates the life and times of early humans, the first forms of human expression, technological and cultural advances.
2. Documents important scientific and historical research in Australia.
3. Highlights archaeology of living culture - where Aboriginal elders work with archaeologists.
4. Examines issues around conservation and protection of important cultural sites.
Aims & Objectives

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

The greatest outcome for the film will be to fulfill the desires of the Jawoyn elders and traditional owner Margaret Katherine, as outlined above. Some of this success can be measured through qualitative and/or anecdotal evidence, and can also be found in increased interest in Indigenous cu lture, a growth in an interest of Arnhem Land, increased funding and work in documenting, researching and preserving Aboriginal cultural and art sites.

From a more commercial perspective, the films impact can be measured through:
- National and international broadcast and distribution on television
- Invitations to screen at film festivals
- Invitations to broadcast film and speak at community events
- Inclusion in school curriculum
- Positive media coverage and fi lm reviews
- Social media presence

What is your education and outreach strategy?

Spirits in the Stone outreach and education strategy involves the following:
- Television: Broadcast and distribution in Australia and internationally.
- On demand / direct sales: Sales to on-demand sites including Netflicks andiTunes.
- DVD/Blue-Ray: Worldwide distribution on hard media.
- Film Festivals: We plan to enter a feature version of the documentary for screening at Cannes (Europe), Sundance Film Festival (US), Sydney Film Festival (Australia) and Toronto (Canada) and other festivals around the world.
- Community: The film will be made available for community screenings in Indigenous communities.
- Study guide: This will be an option if schools would like to feature the documentary in their curriculum.
- Online: An interactive website is key to showcasing the film - www.spiritsinthestone.com - The site can be further developed to showcase the key issues, character profiles and an exploration of the site.
- Social media: Social media is an important platform to promote the film and to connect with networks across the globe. Account have already been established on Twitter and Facebook.
Emma Masters / Adrian Buitenhuis
Emma Masters / Adrian Buitenhuis
Total budget
90 Minutes