Lady Lash is a 30 minute documentary telling a strong, positive, fresh story about a talented and humorous Kokatha woman’s reconnection to country, and her city life as a mother and Hip Hop/Jazz MC.
The story begins with Lady Lash (Crystal Clyne) in her inner city domestic studio recording with her husband and producer. We are invited into her world as a creative, award winning performer and mother. Her resilience, warm character and love for her family shine, with initial interviews set in the domestic home environment, among kids, dishes and her studio housed in the stairwell of her commission house. This is a woman’s story, brought to you by women.
Lady Lash takes to the stage, performing her Hip Hop, Jazz - fusion at a festival, her sheer talent and stage presence brings you in closer. The cutaways of city life set her place, Lady Lash adorning headphones walking through Melbourne's graffiti alleyways, ingesting the city fixing and matching her creative outpour to her rich life experience.
Whilst slowly moving into the bay, on a ferry with Melbourne’s iconic cityscape illuminated in the background, Lady Lash opens up and tells her story, rising up from self-sabotage, igniting a path for herself, as a successful performer. We are drawn in by her tenacity, strength, and humor. Building up to Lady Lash’s return to Kokatha country, we hear about her thoughts of what to expect going out on country and learning traditional Kokatha women’s business. The story raises curiosity of what might happen on country, and how this will impact her outlook and music making.
This is Lady Lash’s return to her homeland, guided by her nana’s sister, Senior Elder Aunty Sue Coleman-Haseldine, she learns traditional women’s knowledge. Lady Lash is overwhelmed by the red sand, and gruff beauty and dreaming of her country, she has an inner calm. The calm throws when she learns her country is under potential threat, thousands of years of untouched earth house valuable minerals. Mining companies want to know what sits under Paint Lake, the ancient ocean, and sacred ground where ceremonial ochre has been collected since the beginning of time; by Crystal's Ancestors. Memories start to seep through Crystals mind. She remembers sitting on Paint Lake as a girl, pulling up the crusted red platelets and playing with the red sand. Aunty Sue, determined to protect country, teaches Crystal how to track miners, and the threats that their country faces.
Lady Lash returns to Melbourne, dives deep into her music. Her music is nominated to be archived in the National Sound and Film Archive and Crystal is appointed as an APRA ambassador. The documentary ends with reflections of her experience returning back to Kokatha country and the profound creative influence of this experience on her outlook, inspiration and self strength.
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
Lady Lash has all the right indicators to be suitable for a wide variety of philanthropic foundations. The documentary Lady Lash doesn’t hit you with a ‘how to think’ and what ‘you must you do’ agenda. It works on the beauty of subtlety, which is arguably the real art of documentary film making. The story of Lady Lash invites us into the perceptions and world of a female indigenous artist living in the city who returns to her ancestral lands to learn about country with sheer honesty - cultured and raw - together with infectious humor.
This incredible, positive film fills the gaping hole in our media landscape that is polluted with negativity, molding attitudes that perpetuate how we, as a society view Aboriginal Australia. This story is contemporary and fiercely motivated by an Aboriginal woman’s perspective. Crystal Clyne (aka Lady Lash) is the Co-Producer for the film. Senior Kokatha Elder, Aunty Sue Haseldine-Coleman is the Cultural Consultant, responsible for overseeing filming on country and influence on editorial decisions. What was the last documentary you saw that claimed a strong Aboriginal women’s perspective? Why is this so, why is this perspective important? It is important for the organisations whose remit is to educate and inform us of powerful and unheard stories in our midst. Stories from another perspective and agency change our way of thinking, better inform our attitudes, challenge our preconceived biases, and provide resonance in a deeply personal way that helps us better connect with other people. This story is dynamic and fulfils so many criteria, especially around gender, female empowerment, female and Indigenous under-representation in the music industry, and Indigenous connection to land and land rights. It is presented in a way that is easy viewing - it can’t be overlooked. The depth and uniqueness of this film will assist corporations and foundations to show the world what matters.
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
This story is about changing perceptions and fuelling motivations for the long, slow game - our social and political shift towards a much deeper understanding of and respect for Indigenous culture and connection to place. The personal is political, and we are given very personal access to Crystal’s story. She owns the screen and gives an insight into important elements within her world. This story is not only for Australians who do not identify as Aboriginal, but also for the young Aboriginal girls, and Aunties living across the country in both urban and rural settings, eager to see, connect and have positive representations of their people.
Lady Lash opens dialogue about connection to ‘country’, why is this important, and what is at stake if connection to ‘country’ is unattainable. It is about what connection to country means - not connection to Australia, the concept of country that we are all taught. It’s about connection, or in this case re-connection to the ancestral land an Aboriginal person is born on, or family is from. The strength, determination and brilliant beauty of Crystal Clyne resets assumptions of what an Aboriginal mother represents in our media. This story is Human Rights, Indigenous rights, social political rights, women’s rights and community in Action.
We want our audience to gain a greater understanding of contemporary Aboriginal Australia and to build insight into issues, ideas and inspiration of an Aboriginal woman's life in an urban context.
We will measure our impact by the documentary's reach via distribution numbers into Australian High schools, local and international festival screenings and viewership in rural Aboriginal communities via broadcast on NITV to 1.8 million viewers, we'd track social media reach via Crystals wide online presence across a broad community.
A note about access:
We feel the impact of this film is heightened by the generous access Crystal and her family wish to provide. Crystal and her great aunt share with us their connection to country, and learning ‘women’s business’ that is traditional knowledge and responsibilities passed down to the women and in this case the Kokatha women. This sharing on Kokatha country is not Elders sitting in a desert, painting dots of their country, its not filming of a sacred ceremony that is not permitted to be on camera. This documentary is different and reaches beyond common media representations of Aboriginal women. Have we got attention yet? The Kokatha Elder eager to share with us the story of her country is Aunty Sue, and wow what a woman she is - an activist and recently received the noble peace prize on behalf of ICAN, the peace organization. She is staunch and strong at 68 yrs and shares with us her country, wearing a protest t-shirt ‘Stop uranium mining’ we learn with Crystal about medical plants, the dreaming of the land (traditional story of the land passed on for generations) and other important places of Kokatha country
What is your education and outreach strategy?
Our education and outreach strategy is closely linked to our broadcast and distribution roll out. We are proposing to secure an NITV broadcast and online home for the documentary, ahead of additional online and education sector distribution. Along with a comprehensive Study Guide, the documentary will also be available online via the educational distributor ATOM (Australian Teachers of Media), who have access, work with and promote to 20,000 high school teachers, nation wide.
The educational package will assist young people to challenge stereotypical views of Aboriginal women as victims.
Lady Lash has a strong youth following - she is often played on radio stations such as JJJ, and has a wide network of social media followers, with 16,000 views within a couple of days of her latest song with group Oetha and was aired on ABC's program Rage. We will use these platforms to raise awareness of and momentum around the project and it’s launches, release dates and festival screenings. This youth access can be a conduit for dialogue with youth that have little to no access to Aboriginal culture.
The Australia University market will also be covered by distribution deal, together with international distribution garnered from exposure on the international documentary film festival circuit. We see a long tail for this film, and plan to leverage the positive ripple effect that such a resonant and personal story can have across the marketplace.