Official Selection: 2016 Sydney International Film Festival and 2106 Melbourne International Film Festival
"This film inspires in two important ways - art is at its best when it allows catharsis through storytelling and a nation is at its best when it provides a refuge for humanity to heal and flourish". Dr George Miller – Director of Mad Max: Fury Road
"The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe documentary is an overwhelming emotional experience. The journey of these extraordinary women is heartrending, heartfelt and ultimately uplifting.
What courage they all show. This is a must see, these are our refugees. Thank you Ros Horin for making it." Gillian Armstrong – Director of Oscar and Lucinda
"Harrowing and life-affirming in equal measure, The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe is a remarkable portrait of four women finally being given the power to voice the tremendous violence done to them, and to transform their trauma into something cleansing, forceful and awe-inspiring." Melbourne International Film Festival
THE BAULKHAM HILLS AFRICAN LADIES TROUPE is a celebration of the remarkable spirits of four African women survivors of sexual abuse, and the triumph of their improbable theatre troupe.
Four women fled from different parts of Africa to Australia in order to escape violence and abuse. They find a safe haven in Australia, but still they hold their pain silently within them. Until they decide to join a theatre group... and speak out. Under the nurturing guidance of theatre director Ros Horin, they collaborate to let their life stories be transformed into an extraordinary and joyously uplifting theatrical experience.
This film charts their personal journeys from trauma to healing and public triumphs, as the Troupe’s show moves from a stage in western Sydney out to the world, giving the voices of this improbable theatre troupe a chance to share their message of hope and support to women and children who have suffered, either in the context of war or in a domestic situation, around the world.
We are now in phase 2 of fundraising to help achieve our ambitious social change objectives around the film. We believe this film can be an important tool to help change attitudes, deepen understanding and build empathy amongst front line community services towards women who have experienced violence and trauma, particularly refugee women, and we hope and believe that the film will empower women to break the silence that so often exists around sexual assault.
The incredible response from audiences affirms the importance of the wider Baulkham Hills African Ladies project and the role the film can play in assisting victims of trauma and abuse and in advocating to policy makers about the power of art to both heal trauma and build social cohesion.
THE BAULKHAM HILLS AFRICAN LADIES TROUPE addresses the issue that some 90% of women refugees have been subjected to sexual violence in process of becoming a refugee.
As a result, these women arrive in Australia traumatised, limiting their ability to become fully functioning members of society. This film seeks to empower survivors to ask for help.
The film raises an opportunity for front line community services workers (such as doctors, nurses, police, Centrelink) to develop an understanding about the trauma of rape, so they are better able to assist the specific needs of refugee women.
The film also presents the arts as a powerful tool for healing. It is a story of hope that will give survivors of sexual assault the confidence to seek help, as well as frontline workers the skills and understanding to assist.
Aims & Objectives
Director Ros Horin’s express purpose for making THE BAULKHAM HILLS AFRICAN LADIES TROUPE is to limit re-traumatisation of women refugees who have experienced sexual assault through the education of front line service personnel.
Documentaries are increasingly being recognised as a key medium for communicating social justice issues and inspiring social change. This film is a powerful medium to build empathy and understanding.
THE BAULKHAM HILLS AFRICAN LADIES TROUPE is a call for additional resources to be dedicated by the Government to refugee rehabilitation services and community arts projects that benefit refugee communities.
Training resources around rape and trauma amongst refugees will be developed for police, Centrelink staff and other frontline services.
The film will be screened at high profile film festivals, in selected cinemas, on television and at community screening events.
The project will also develop training resources to be made available at screenings and to institutions such as police academies, hospitals, counselling services, local councils, community centres, government agencies such as Centrelink etc, to be used in tandem with the film.
A schools version of the film will be produced, with teacher resources and classroom materials.
While THE BAULKHAM HILLS AFRICAN LADIES TROUPE outreach program will target groups including:
Local council staffHospital staffCounselling servicesPolice and Centrelink staff African community/leadersRefugee services Refugee communities/leadersHigh School Students