January 27, 2017
Merata Mita Sundance fellowship to Solomons’ filmmaker
An award for an indigenous filmmaker named after a pioneering Maori filmmaker has gone to an Australian Solomon Islander with a record for getting grassroots communities involved in film.
Melbourne-based writer, director and producer Amie Batalibasi is the second recipient of the Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellowship, announced today at the Sundance Film Festival in Colorado.
The fellowship includes a cash grant and year-long support with activities including a trip to the Sundance Film Festival, access to strategic and creative services offered by Sundance Institute artist programs, and mentorship opportunities.
Working as a mentor and media trainer, over the past nine years Batalibasi has produced dozens of short films by first-time filmmakers through collaborative community projects with children and young people, new migrant groups, remote Indigenous communities, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities in and around Melbourne, interstate Australia and in the Solomon Islands.
Batalibasi’s current project is a feature adaptation of her award-winning short film, Blackbird, about the dark history of “blackbirding” where in the half century up to 1904 up to 60,000 Pacific Islanders were taken by force or coercion to work on Australia’s sugar cane and cotton farms.
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