Dialog Box

Community | Education | Health & Wellbeing | Human Rights | Refugees | Social Justice | Sport/Adventure | Youth
Same Wave
Over summer 2018/19, Same Wave will follow the adventures, ambitions and challenges of a diverse group of refugees with various backgrounds, experiences and dreams, as they are welcomed in to one of Australia’s most iconic institutions - the Surf Life Saving Club.

All our participants are from various stages of the On The Same Wave development program. The program, first created by Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) as a response to the Cronulla riots, is designed to provide support for migrants and refugees to engage with surf life saving and to create a culture across the board that the beach is for everyone. The program is also focussed on beach/water safety, not just as a core responsibility of SLSA but also in response to migrants, refugees, and foreign tourists, being overrepresented in state and national drowning statistics.

Many of our Same Wave heroes couldn’t swim before attending the program and through their determination, ambition and drive to give back, many are continuing on to not just learn to swim but to become valuable members at the frontline of safety on our beaches – training in First Aid, Advanced Resuscitation, Radio Skills and for some, even the ultimate Bronze Medallion. From countries such as Iran, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, they each have their own stories about their journeys to Australia, but they do not wear them on their sleeves. Instead they are positive, grateful and optimistic and keen to give back to their new home wherever and whenever they can.

Like all members of Surf Life Saving Clubs they are volunteers, often spending more time at the clubs and their beaches than just their rostered patrols. The clubs themselves becoming more than just a club … a community, a second home … a family. The participants also serve as positive examples and role models for their respective communities. Showing what can be achieved, encouraging others to follow in their footsteps with at least the basics of water safety for themselves and for their children. Not to mention, offering a new face under the iconic red and yellow caps for beachgoers to feel comfortable approaching and trusting.

Positive, full of humour and heart, sun and sand, filmed along Adelaide's stunning stretch of beaches, Same Wave offers a fresh, aspirational and inspirational view of multicultural Australia – the best we all can be.

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

Same Wave is a timely story, taking a positive approach to the hotly contended and contentious issues of refugees and immigration. Through real people and their genuine actions it highlights the idea that when we truly put into practice the Aussie values of a fair go for all and opportunity from hard work, we lose nothing and in fact gain far more than has been given. We believe this approach meets the aims of any individual or organisation that seeks a better Australia for all.
Aims & Objectives

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


Push boundaries by examining the refugee issue with humour, sun and speedos! Create a film that will appeal to a broad demographic, not just those specifically interested in the ‘refugee issue’. A film that engages with the audience on many levels as they get to know our new Australian heroes as we should get to know anyone - in person, through their own words and actions.

Break down stereotypes related to refugees – terrorists, no; lazy, no way; a threat to our way of life, quite the opposite actually. Inspire further action and change in individuals and other organisations – if a once blue-eyed, blonde haired Aussie icon can achieve such results, why can't this example become the norm?

Promote the work of the Surf Life Saving Clubs in this area of education and inclusion, together with their traditional role of beach and water safety. By raising awareness of the importance of water safety and learning to swim, help to reduce the disproportionate numbers of migrants and refugees involved in drownings every year.

Providing a positive contribution to the debate on refugees and immigration. An example of what can be achieved when ideologies and shouting are replaced by real people and a laugh.

Our impact will be measured by tracking the film’s influence on the following:

Increase in awareness of the On The Same Wave program throughout the wider community and in particular within the refugee communities and the services that assist them.

Increased numbers of refugee participants in the On The Same Wave program and those that continue on beyond learning to swim to volunteering and participating at a local surf life saving club.

Increase in the number of surf life saving clubs that elect to run their own On The Same Wave program and/or some kind of awareness/training programs and opportunities for migrants and refugees.

Decrease in the number of overall drownings, in particular those involving migrants and refugees.

Positive public discussions and debates (TV, radio, online, town halls) on refugees, immigration and how Australia can be successfully inclusive for all.

What is your education and outreach strategy?

On commencement of preproduction we will set up a dedicated website and social media links for this project, promoting not just the film but the On The Same Wave program and the work of the surf life saving clubs as early as possible. These platforms and their content will grow as the film progresses through production and post production towards release. Once the film has been completed, we aim to expand the website with additional content as well as continual updated information on the film’s journey and impact as well as the progress of our refugee participants.

Our film will be made available to all surf life saving clubs across Australia to screen for educational and/or club fundraising purposes.

We will also look to organise public screenings, liaising with refugee service providers and individual refugee community leaders, to ensure that as many people from these communities can have exposure to the film.

Creation of a Same Wave pamphlet that can be distributed to local community organisations, libraries, councils, etc. that promotes the film but also provides information and contact links to local surf life saving clubs and Same Wave programs.

We will have a film festival entry plan and schedule, targeting festivals throughout Australia and Internationally. We will also pursue broadcast and streaming opportunities to reach a wider audience in Australia and worldwide - a universal issue presented with Aussie sun and sand is going to be appealing around the world!

Creation of a study guide via ATOM to accompany the film. Producers to pursue a program of screenings/presentations in as many schools as possible throughout Australia.

Creation of a media strategy to maximise awareness of the film on its release in Australia.
Christine Williams and Lara Damiani
Christine Williams and Lara Damiani
Total budget
80 Minutes