A group of young Illawarra film-makers have visited the nation’s capital as part of what they hope will eventually be an Australian tour.
On Wednesday, as part of Child Protection Week, five of the children involved in the making of the film Protection set up their ‘cinema cubby’ on the lawn in front of Parliament House.
Combining the film-making skills of 100 young people aged between five and 16 years old from public housing in the Illawarra, Protection is a feature-length animated film about childhood.
Three years in the making, Protection explores themes such as bullying, honesty, compassion, empathy and friendship and is made up of 32 storylines, stemming from the children’s real-life experiences and personalities.
The cubby has been specially designed to be used as part of workshops where students, parents and teachers can watch the film.
Nicole Brown, 12, from Warrawong said, “the storylines in Protection are based on us”.
“We acted for the first time in our lives, and we helped with the camera, sound and directing. We ended up with 32 stories which were then turned into animation.”
Support was provided by a small team of film-makers from Beyond Empathy, a not-for-profit community, arts and cultural development organisation.
“We’re so proud of our film because it’s us on the screen,” Warrawong’s Cooper Mangarelli, 10, said.
“We’re not Hollywood actors - we’re the real thing.”
A crowd-funding campaign has been launched to complete the film’s final cut, and also take it on the road.
Nearly half of the $30,000 goal has been pledged so far.
Keira Brown, 13, from Warrawong said they want to take the film to, “all the capital cities in Australia and as many regional towns as we can, with two or three of us to attend each screening and talk to the audience”.
“The tours are really important for us. Most of us have never been on a plane, or travelled far from where we live. This whole experience gives us an amazing chance to shine.”
Visit https://pozible.com/project/protection-the-movie for more details.
Shadow Minister for Human Services Linda Burney is the project’s patron.
Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones said there had been plenty of interest from parliamentarians on the day.
“We know that there is a significant problem with child abuse in the country… The experts tell us prevention is the most effective strategy, and part of that prevention strategy is empowering young people to know about their rights, and to give them skills and strategies to deal with problems in their home, neighbourhood and school.”