Menzies Screening series (Spring 2021)

After the disappointing delays – and eventual postponement – of the 2019/20 Menzies Screening series, I am delighted to announce that the Menzies Australia Institute will present a new screening + Q&A series, held completely online, over the coming months.

Following on from previous screenings, which focused on explorations of Australia within a transnational context, and cinema’s role in perpetuating and solidifying settler colonial regimes in Australia and beyond, the Spring 2021 Menzies Screening series draws upon the Menzies Australia Institute’s current theme of ‘Bearing Witness’.

The Spring 2021 series comprises three recent Australian documentaries, each of which focuses on an issue of vital importance to twenty-first-century Australia, from the treatment of asylum seekers under the controversial practice of ‘offshore processing’, to increased calls for the repatriation of cultural artefacts and Indigenous remains, and the ongoing fight for gender equality. In ‘Bearing Witness’ to the contemporary moment, this year’s screenings offer a chance to re-evaluate our approaches to these narratives of historical and contemporary importance to Australia and its place in the world.

Each screening will take place live and online via the Eventive platform, and will be followed by a live Q&A, with an opportunity to catch the film and recorded Q&A for a limited period after each event. These screenings are free and open to all (except Brazen Hussies where access is limited to UK/Irish audiences only).

Further info on the three screenings can be found below,
but virtual bookings are now open: https://watch.eventive.org/menzies/


MS #1: 8pm, 20 May 2021 [online]
CHAUKA, PLEASE TELL US THE TIME (d. Behrouz Boochani & Arash Kamali Sarvestani, 2017)
+ LIVE Q&A

The Spring 2021 Menzies Screening series launches with a vital documentary co-directed by Kurdish-Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani and Netherlands-based Iranian filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani, who will join us after the film for a live Q&A.

Chauka, Please Tell Us The Time offers a first-person perspective on Australia’s controversial immigration detention facility on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. An imprisoned Boochani strives to gather information for an Australian journalist, as part of an investigation into a solitary confinement cell called Chauka, a prison inside the prison. Shooting in secret on a smartphone over a period of six months, Boochani captures life inside Manus and interviews fellow detainees about their experiences.

This online screening is free and open to all (including audiences outside the UK), and will take place live and online via Eventive. It will be followed by a live Q&A with the filmmakers, Behrouz Boochani and Arash Kamali Sarvestani, chaired by Menzies Screenings curator Dr Stephen Morgan. If you miss the live session, there will also be an opportunity to watch the film and recorded Q&A for a limited period after the event.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:

Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate and filmmaker. A political prisoner incarcerated by the Australian government in Papua New Guinea for almost seven years, he is the co-director (with Arash Kamali Sarvestani) of Chauka, Please Tell Us The Time (2017), and the author of the multi-award winning No Friend but the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison (Picador 2018).

Arash Kamali Sarvestani is an Iranian Dutch Filmmaker and Video Artist. He studied cinema at the Art University of Tehran, and Video Art at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. In 2015, he participated in Abbas Kiarostami’s film-making workshop in Barcelona in 2015, where he came up with the idea of making a film from inside a refugee camp. His resulting collaboration with Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani, Chauka, Please Tell Us The Time (2017), was his first feature-length film.

Stephen Morgan is a film programmer and academic whose research focuses on the cultural history of British and Australian cinema and the broader intersections of Empire and nation within settler and Indigenous cinemas. As well as serving as the Screenings Coordinator for the Menzies Australia Institute, he is also the Co-Programmer of the London Australian Film Society & Festival.

Béatrice Bijon is a scholar of English literature and women’s history, based in Canberra at the Australian National University as a Senior Lecturer. She is presently Co-Director of the Menzies Australia Institute. In her native France she taught at the University of Saint-Etienne, Lyon. Her present projects include work on the memorialisation of women’s activism, the life-work partnership of the photographer Axel Poignant and visual anthropologist Roslyn Poignant and the fiction of Alexis Wright.


MS #2: 8pm, 17 June 2021 [online]
ETCHED IN BONE (d. Martin Thomas & Béatrice Bijon, 2019) + LIVE Q&A

The Spring 2021 Menzies Screening series continues with an important documentary by current Menzies Australia Institute co-directors Martin Thomas and Béatrice Bijon, who will join us after the film for a live Q&A, along with former Curator of Living Cultures at the Manchester Museum, Stephen Welsh, who was instrumental in the recent, unconditional repatriation of Indigenous objects.

Etched in Bone tells an extraordinary story of theft and repatriation. When the Smithsonian Institution agrees to repatriate stolen human bones from northern Australia, the Aboriginal elder Jacob Nayinggul creates a ceremony that restores his ancestors’ spirits to their homeland. Linking into contemporary debates about decolonizing museum collections and repatriating cultural artefacts and human remains, the post-screening discussion will consider recent efforts in the US and the UK.

This online screening is free and open to all (including audiences outside the UK), and will take place live and online via Eventive. It will be followed by a live Q&A with the filmmakers, Martin Thomas and Béatrice Bijon, alongside museum curator Stephen Welsh, and will be chaired by Menzies Screenings curator, Stephen Morgan. If you miss the live session, there will also be an opportunity to watch the film and recorded Q&A for a limited period after the event.

This screening is presented in partnership with
Border Crossings Origins Festival of First Nations.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:

Béatrice Bijon is a scholar of English literature and women’s history, based in Canberra at the Australian National University as a Senior Lecturer. She is presently Co-Director of the Menzies Australia Institute. In her native France she taught at the University of Saint-Etienne, Lyon. Her present projects include work on the memorialisation of women’s activism, the life-work partnership of the photographer Axel Poignant and visual anthropologist Roslyn Poignant and the fiction of Alexis Wright.

Martin Thomas is multi-award-winning cultural historian and documentary maker, usually based at the Australian National University in Canberra where he is Professor of History. He is presently working at the Menzies Australia Institute as Co-Director. His work spans landscape and environmental history, exploration and expeditions, history of anthropology, and narratives of cross-cultural encounter. He arrived at King’s after a year in Ireland where he was the visiting Keith Cameron Professor of Australian History at University College Dublin.

Stephen Welsh is an independent curator, consultant and creative producer, with extensive curatorial and project management experience. Until 2020, he was the Curator of Living Cultures at Manchester Museum, where he led the unconditional repatriation of 43 secret, sacred and ceremonial objects to several Indigenous groups in partnership with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

Stephen Morgan is a film programmer and academic whose research focuses on the cultural history of British and Australian cinema and the broader intersections of Empire and nation within settler and Indigenous cinemas. As well as serving as the Screenings Coordinator for the Menzies Australia Institute, he is also the Co-Programmer of the London Australian Film Society & Festival.


MS #3: 8pm, 15 July 2021 [online]
BRAZEN HUSSIES (d. Catherine Dwyer, 2020)+ LIVE Q&A

The Spring 2021 Menzies Screening series concludes with a very timely documentary from filmmaker Catherine Dwyer, who will join us after the film for a live Q&A.

Brazen Hussies celebrates the legacy of the bold women who re-ignited the feminist revolution in Australia, tracing how the Australian Women’s Liberation Movement was born amidst the tumultuous politics of the 1960s, and influenced by the anti-war, anti-imperialist, and civil rights movements worldwide. The film combines a treasure trove of startling archive footage with personal photographs, memorabilia and lively accounts from activists, and shows us how a daring and diverse group of women joined forces to defy the status quo, demand equality and create profound social change – whilst contributing to one of the greatest social movements of the 20th Century.

This Menzies Screening is free (UK viewers only), and will take place live and online via Eventive. It will be followed by a live Q&A with the film’s director, Catherine Dwyer, chaired by Menzies Screenings curator, Stephen Morgan. If you miss the live session, there will also be an opportunity to watch the film and recorded Q&A for a limited period after the event.

This screening is presented in partnership with
London Australian Film Society & Festival.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:

Catherine Dwyer was inspired to make a film about the history of the Women’s Movement in Australia through her experience working on Mary Dore’s critically acclaimed and award winning documentary She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014) – the story of the US Women’s Liberation Movement. She was also the Impact Producer on Freedom Stories (2016), a documentary that explores the achievements and stories of former ‘boat people’ who arrived in Australian waters seeking asylum, and has directed and edited music videos and shorts.

Stephen Morgan is a film programmer and academic whose research focuses on the cultural history of British and Australian cinema and the broader intersections of Empire and nation within settler and Indigenous cinemas. As well as serving as the Screenings Coordinator for the Menzies Australia Institute, he is also the Co-Programmer of the London Australian Film Society & Festival.


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