The film was generously supported with development funds from Screen Australia and Screen NSW as well as production funds and finance for an impact campaign at Good Pitch2 Australia 2014. We seek additional funds to support the outreach strategy in 2016.
Walk in the shoes of a Sudanese refugee as she attempts to transform her rural town of Wagga Wagga into a friendlier place. Constance on the Edge tells the story of brave, feisty, charismatic Constance Okot, and her family and friends, attempting to transcend their painful pasts.
Constance on the Edge is an unflinchingly honest portrayal of a group of African Australians from refugee backgrounds, attempting, often against the odds, to create a home in regional Australia. It reveals their courage and resilience, as they strive to reconstruct their own lives and enrich others along the way.
Constance and her family arrived in Australia almost 10 years ago on humanitarian visas. They were sent directly to Wagga Wagga, halfway between Melbourne and Sydney.
Constance on the Edge, observes the family now, capturing their struggles, experiences, and their efforts to feel at home and accepted in their town.
Constance’s children are facing new challenges. Vicky, her eldest daughter is studying for her HSC with an ambition to become a doctor. Meanwhile, her son, Charles struggles with depression and drug addiction.
We will witness Constance and her women friends conspiring to change perceptions about refugees in their town – joining forces with the Country Women’s Association.
Through Constance, we also encounter local women who are supporting her and other refugees living in Wagga including the policewoman and the trauma counsellor. Together these women provide a network of support.
Constance on the Edge is especially poignant at another level: we hear the determined voices of African women from a culture where women are rarely able to speak out. Constance and her community of refugee women have something deeply personal to say about their childhoods in Africa, their perceptions of what family means, and the lasting legacy of their refugee trauma. Their healing journey delivers an intimate portrait of life in a regional setting.
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
Refugee women and girls face different and complex challenges compared to refugee men or other migrant women. Entrenched disadvantage follows them to Australia; leadership and participation opportunities are limited; men are looked to as leaders and spokesmen of communities. Constance on the Edge acknowledges and engages the capacity of women to discuss and identify solutions for issues which affect their lives and to advocate for change. Constance on the Edge is a refugee story with a point of difference - Constance, her family and friends, have been resettled in Australia for almost a decade - so there is illumination and wisdom that can be garnered by looking back at their time here. The filmmakers draw from a wealth of archival footage from the first documentary about Constance to tell the story about the complexity of being an outspoken African female refugee in regional Australia and to explore what can make things work well for refugees who suffer from trauma.
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
We want our film to raise awareness of the experiences of refugees, particularly women refugees who are marginalised. To increase leadership and participation opportunities for refugees particularly for those living in regional areas and bolster support for refugees suffering from trauma.
The outreach strategy aligned with the film will aim to build the capacity of Australian communities, including regional towns like Wagga Wagga, to better understand the experiences of refugee women like Constance and her friends, to welcome and support refugees and build social cohesion and inclusion.
Allison Henry is an Impact Producer assisting the development of the impact campaign that will report on impact campaign targets against baseline data.
What is your education and outreach strategy?
We have achieved a production budget of $420,000 and envisage a multi-platform delivery of the film, with web and interactive media used to build a community around the film, and hosted screenings.
The outreach strategy and plan for development of educational resources is outlined in the Impact Scope paper for which we now seek additional funds to support the outreach strategy.
We have identified a number of target audiences we hope to reach: the general public, to be inspired to step outside of the limits of what they know, particularly about these groups in society marginalised by their race, and traumatic experiences, in search of something better; educational professionals, to better understand refugees and to better serve them; and institutions such as the police, Centrelink, hospitals and schools who deal with refugees suffering from trauma and torture.