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25 OCTOBER 2017
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A New Beginning - The Life of David Nyuol Vincent
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Arts, Community, Disability, Education, Health & Wellbeing, History, Human Rights, Indigenous, Refugees, Social Justice, Welfare, Youth
<p>“If you don't accept people can change...no one has an incentive to change” ~ Myuran Sukumaran (2015) </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Myuran Sukumaran (17 April 1981 – 29 April 2015) was an Australian who was convicted in Indonesia of drug trafficking as a member of the Bali Nine. In 2005, Sukumaran was arrested in a room at the Melasti Hotel in Kuta with three others. Police found 334 g (11.8 oz) of heroin in a suitcase in the room. According to court testimonies of convicted drug mules, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were the co-ringleaders of the heroin-smuggling operation from Indonesia to Australia. After a criminal trial, Sukumaran was sentenced on 14 February 2006 by the Denpasar District Court to execution by firing squad. </p><p>Australian death-row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran made a personal appeal for mercy to Joko Widodo, painting a portrait of the Indonesian president and signing it with the words 'People Can Change'. After lodging an appeal against his sentence, this was initially dismissed by the Bali High Court. A judicial review conducted by the Indonesian Supreme Court on 6 July 2011 affirmed the death sentence. Sukumaran’s plea for clemency was rejected by the President of Indonesia on 30 December 2014, and Sukumaran was expected to face execution, together with Chan. The execution was carried out on 29 April 2015. </p><p>Myuran Sukumaran led an art studio for his fellow prisoners during his time in Kerobokan prison, where he was mentored. Myuran taught English, computer, graphic design and philosophy classes to prisoners. The portrait of Mr Joko Widodo signed 'People Can Change' is his most recent work. He painted the oil on canvas artwork in Kerobokan prison in late January 2015, in his final weeks there before being transferred to Nusakambangan Island. Myu painted multiple self-portraits while on Nusakambangan. His final painting resembles a bleeding Indonesian flag. He was recently awarded an associate degree in fine arts by Curtin University. Myuran Sukumaran had his first major Australian exhibition at the Campbelltown Arts Centre in January 2017, curated by noted Australian artist, Ben Quilty. </p><p>‘Alone from night to night you'll find me </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Too weak to break these chains that bind me </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>I need no shackles to remind me </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>From one command I stand and wait now </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>From one who's master of my fate now </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>I can't escape for it's too late now </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner.’</p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p>
No Turning Back
Community, Human Rights, Refugees, Social Justice
NO TURNING BACK is an empowerment story about Australian women enriching their own lives and the lives of refugees and asylum seekers through connection, support, and leadership. This is a perspective that is under represented – until now. <p></p><p>This feature length documentary takes us on an inspirational journey across Australia to portray the everyday reality of Jennie, Leonie & Abiola. We see the complex challenges they face in caring for displaced people in their communities. Coping with extraordinary obstacles with creativity and emotional aptitude, we see a unified determination and a demonstration of the true power of humanity. </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Jennie from Brisbane is in her sixties and childless. She cares for Asad, a young Hazara asylum seeker as if he is her own son. Jennie struggles to protect Asad from ongoing fear of deportation while he attempts to rebuild his life away from his mother and siblings stranded in Iran. After nearly drowning at sea, Asad’s new life purpose is to be an international human rights lawyer.</p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Leonie from Western Sydney is a wife, mother of two, and a volunteer for the support group Mums4Refugees. While she spends her days helping people deal with unspeakable traumas, chronic health and mental problems, in her downtime she battles with the feelings of guilt and pressure from her husband - who would prefer she have a paid job and contribute to the mortgage. </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Ten years ago, Abiola was forced to leave Nigeria as a refugee and start her life from scratch in Melbourne. From just surviving to becoming a thriving member of the community, Abiola is now giving back by helping hundreds of refugees find gainful employment. Today she is supporting newly arrived Syrians resettle in the outer suburb of Eltham. But with the rise of anti-refugee and Islamophobic sentiment, Abiola and the Welcome To Eltham community group are faced with fending off protestors in what is dubbed the ‘battle for Eltham’.</p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>As their stories unfold, the film poses critical questions to leading practitioners in the humanitarian, legal, and media fields to probe deeper into the Australian psyche and the values our nation is so desperately defending in light of the global refugee crisis. </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Told through the voice of many, this film is a tribute to the power of women’s persistence and creativity in the face of seemingly impossible barriers. What we see is an incipient revolution in the definition of womanhood and a recognition of women’s strengths in making their communities healthier, inclusive and more vibrant through simple acts of kindness and leadership. </p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>These women prove that even though borders may put certain limits on our identity, they cannot define the limits of our humanity.</p><p></p><p></p><p></p>
Requiem for Cambodia
Arts, Community, History, Human Rights, Refugees, Rural, Social Justice
In October 2017 a world tour of a new stage production will premiere in Australia, Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia, a unique fusion of music, voice, movement and projected images commemorating the 2 million Cambodians who died at the hands of the Communist driven Khmer Rouge regime while celebrating the renaissance of an artistic life that has all but disappeared. The Requiem has been commissioned by Cambodian Living Arts a not-for-profit organization. CLA’s vision is to revive their lost arts & bring international attention to a world still besieged by conflict that the arts can be a powerful tool for healing and play a role in rebuilding war torn societies.Over one year, this documentary charts the staging of the Requiem interweaving heart-wrenching accounts of survival of those involved.The Requiem’s principal creators are childhood survivors, world renowned filmmaker Rithy Panh, and Cambodia’s premier composer, Him Sophy. They are collaborating for the first time to bring their traumatic shared history to a world audience.Most Cambodians are Buddhists who believe that the dead will not rest in peace or be reborn without proper religious rituals. The Requiem’s libretto is based on Bangsokol the Khmer Buddhist ritual for the dead. The music is a combination of traditional Khmer instruments and vocalists and Western chamber music and chorus. Projected on a screen is a triptych of images from Rithy Panh’s earlier films, archival footage and new footage presenting a visual history of Cambodia’s recent past illuminating the meaning of the musical work.This stage production is huge for impoverished Cambodia. The loss of most of Cambodia’s artists and intellectuals left a cultural wasteland taking generations to reverse. Realising they couldn’t do it alone CLA called on international performing arts professionals to help. New York based theatre & events specialist, Rachel Chanoff, is producer. Australian Gideon Obarzanek, a world-renowned director & choreographer, is Director of Staging and Trent Walker an American scholar with years of experience studying Asian Buddhist texts, ritual and music has written the libretto.Phloeun Prim, the charismatic Executive Director of CLA, himself a child survivor, is responsible for finding the funds. Over 3 years he travelled the world appealing to arts organisations, philanthropists and governments to become partners.With no suitable theatre or experienced western-style musicians in Cambodia, the production needed somewhere to rehearse and the Government of Taiwan helped by providing a theatre and Philharmonic Orchestra in Taipei for their first full rehearsal …and we were there to shoot it. The film will follow their stories through preproduction leading up to the Melbourne premiere performance before it tours to New York, Boston, Abu Dhabi, Paris and eventually Cambodia.