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Wednesday, 24 April 2019

A Nation, Found: Art Bringing People Together

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A Nation, Foundis an art film combining poetry, dance, costume, music, and filmmaking. The film deals with the foundation of Australia and imagines what a ‘Treaty’ between Indigenous Australians and the wider community might mean, in abstract, poetic terms.

Written and directed by Arman S. Haghi, ‘A Nation, Foundis a collaboration between a diverse group of people of Indigenous, non-indigenous, and recent migrant backgrounds. The cast and crew developed new friendships, which resulted in other collaborations including two short films which also have indigenous identity at their core, and have been screened at TEDx and at Australias premier National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (NCIE).

The film was beautifully shot by Chris Ras and Aya Ishi of the expert cinematography and color grading company, Lightfundi. The soundtrack features a composition that is a collaboration between Brenden Moore, an indigenous man performing the didgeridoo, and Alex J. Steed, a non-indigenous Australian man who is passionate about Treaty and indigenous issues. The narrator, Be Suren is a Turkish-Australian singer-songwriter, who herself is also passionate about indigenous issues. The costumes were expertly designed and created by Cathy Sparkes.

At the heart of the film, A Nation Foundis the political story of indigenous rights and cultural awareness. Arman S. Haghi brings to the film his own journey, as a recent immigrant from Iran, which has informed his understanding of the importance of belonging and a connection to a homeland, a sacred place. “The film, like every Treaty, and anything human, is imperfect, I know, but its a good starting point … in a way, I guess one way of making sure we remember the history, present, and future, of the lands where we stand, live, and thrive.

The soul of the film is the three accomplished artists who perform in the lead roles. Eve White, an indigenous Wiradjuri woman who teaches aboriginal art and in schools, is also a well-known professional dancer/choreographer, performing internationally for the past two decades. Jessica Steed studied at Ecole Ballet and Dance Theatre and earned her BA Honors in Ballet and Contemporary Dance at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. A professional dancer, Jessica has choreographed and danced in Australia and the UK. Emma Potts performs the role of The Heart. She is an Australian-born actor living in Los Angeles, known for various film and television roles including: ‘Sketches from a Dancers Album’, Torment, and Pimped. Emma is celebrated for her complex and dark performances while also portraying strong female characters on screen.

‘A Nation, Found’ was recognized by being a shortlisted at Tropfest Film Festival in 2018.

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