Exploring a community’s memories in TOOMELAH

Toomelah is the third dramatic feature from filmmaker Ivan Sen, part of the new wave of Aboriginal and Islander film makers in Australia.

His first feature, Beneath Clouds, won a Silver Bear at the 2002 Berlin Film festival, his second, Dreamland, was set in the American desert.

Sen studied photography at Griffith University before training as a film maker at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. His career since has embraced short films and documentaries.

As with Beneath Clouds, Sen has drawn on untrained actors from the community of Toomelah, in outback NSW, where Gamilaroi and Bigambal people live on a former Aboriginal mission. This is Sen’s mothers country, a place he grew up, and the film tells the story of young people looking for a path in life in a community where jobs are few, a traditional culture is being slowly erased, and violence, substance abuse are becoming currency.

Toomelah had its world premiere in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film festival in May 2011 and recently played at the Sydney Film Festival

Sydney Morning Herald film journalist Gary Maddox interviewed Ivan and producer David Jowsey, with cast and crew in attendance, following Toomelah‘s Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in June 2011. Listen to the interview by clicking on the image above.

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