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20th Remote Indigenous Media Festival begins on Waiben (Thursday Island)

23 Sep 2019

Media Release - First Nations Media Australia

Over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media workers have gathered on Waiben (Thursday Island) for the 20th Remote Indigenous Media Festival.

Representing 34 organisations from the desert to the sea, delegates are participating in a week of skills workshops, forums and cultural celebration. The 20th Remote Indigenous Media Festival opened last night at the Gab Titui Cultural Centre with a welcome to country from Kaurareg Traditional Owner, Milton Savage followed by traditional dance and a cinema screening for both delegates and the Waiben community to enjoy. The event is co-hosted by the Torres Strait Islander Media Association (TSIMA) who broadcast from Waiben across Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait), the Northern Peninsula Area and as far north as the Western Province of Papua New Guinea, including six remote broadcast sites at Poruma, Warraber, Iama, Erub, Mabuiag and Badu.

"It's great to see media friends arriving from all over here on TI. With 150 people coming we're proud to be hosting the biggest Remote Indigenous Media Festival yet." - Sylvia Tabua, TSIMA

The festival cinema is open to the community throughout the week, showcasing some of the best screen work from remote communities produced since the last Remote Indigenous Media Festival in Irrunytju (Wingellina) in 2017. The 20th Remote Indigenous Media Festival coincides with the Torres Strait Performing Arts Festival, creating a double celebration for the remote media industry and the Torres Strait Islander community. While delegates are spending their days learning cinematography, podcasting, digital archiving, music production, digital storytelling and new production, the evenings are shared with Waiben residents and visitors to the island with cinema screenings and dance performances.

The first plenary sessions begin today, offering remote media workers opportunity for input on how media can be utilised to meet the needs of remote communities. Representatives from the National Indigenous Australians Agency, the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (Coalition of Peaks), Bureau of Meteorology, AIATSIS, training organisations, screen agencies, funding bodies and community media supporters are engaging directly with delegates from some of the most remote communities in the country in conversations to help shape the policy agenda for the future of the First Nations media industry.

"We have a full schedule for delegates this week," says First Nations Media Australia General Manager, Daniel Featherstone, "It's fantastic to bring everybody together in this amazing island location and great to see old friends catching up and new connections being formed already. The welcome event last night was a real credit to the team at TSIMA and an incredible way to open the festival. It has set the tone for the week ahead!"

The 20th Remote Indigenous Media Festival brings Remote Indigenous Media Organisations together to share and network. It alternates between desert and coastal locations, giving delegates an opportunity to visit different media organisations and take home new skills and ideas.

"This is my second time here and it's good to come back and see all the people from different islands and different media organisations coming together for the First Nations media sector." - Elizabeth Katakarinja, PAW Media

"This is the 20th Remote Indigenous Media Festival and the second one here at the Torres Strait. I'm from Beagle Bay, WA and I went to the very first Remote Indigenous Media Festival in Ernabella. I got hooked after that and never returned to my old job welding in the mines. I got hooked to the people, places, the empowerment of people in the bush and wanting to make a change somehow by being a voice through media. It's good to see the faces of old and young friends here at the 20th Remote Indigenous Media Festival."
- Henry Augustine, PAKAM

"I've been in media a long time. I studied at Batchelor Institute, got all my certificates, then I went back home to teach the young kids how to take over the media. It's nice to see young ones and other people who want to join it too. This mob do a great job of looking after everyone and I'm happy they do it. It's great to see old friends here and meet new friends from everywhere here on this beautiful island." - Bernadette Angus, PAKAM

First Nations Media Australia will be sharing news from the festival on social media, along with Koori Mail, NITV, Ngaarda Media and other First Nations media organisations. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for daily photo and video updates. Plus we'll be streaming live highlights on indigiTUBE.

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