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2021 Program


Welcome to the inaugural IAG Film Shorts, part of the 2021 Institute of Australian Geographers & New Zealand Geographical Society Combined Conference.

Building on longer traditions of geographical film, geographers today are increasingly embracing filmmaking as an integral part of their research practice. Geographers are finding recognition in and out of the discipline for their creative outputs, and reaching new and diverse audiences for their research endeavours. Indeed, the rapid development of consumer videographic technology means that it has never been easier for geographers to make a film.

Our two sessions for this year’s program are curated around the geographic themes of Place, Labour and Belonging, with all of the films speaking to these themes in diverse and cross cutting ways. Across the sessions there are a total of twelve short films, including from Australian, English, French, Iranian, Portuguese and Swedish filmmakers. These films reflect on these geographic issues in places such as Australia, China, Europe, India, Mozambique, the former Soviet Union, Timor-Leste and Zambia.

We hope you enjoy the curation and online format of this year’s program. We recommend watching the films in two sessions following the order suggested here, but the online format means you are of course able to skip back and ahead; to pause, rewind and rewatch. We imagine this conference session a time to be moved and inspired, to reflect on the potentials and opportunities of this expressive medium, and to celebrate the spirited, ground-breaking and beautiful creations of our filmmaking-geographer colleagues around the world.

Healing Fire

Yanama budayri gumada research collective

Healing Fire documents a cultural burn of Yellomundee Regional Park in Western Sydney in July 2019, led by Darug custodians along with NSW NPWS, Koori Country Firesticks, NSW RFS, and NSW Local Land Services, and supported by Yanama budyari gumada research collective. The ‘Healing Fire’ film is a collaboration between the Yanama budyari gumada research collective, led by Darug custodians Uncle Lex Dad and Aunty Corina Norman-Dadd, and professional film-maker Klas Eriksson.

Yanama budayri gumada research collective is led by Darug custodians Uncle Lex Dadd and Aunty Corina Norman-Dadd, and includes members of the Blue Mountains Aboriginal Culture and Resource Centre, and researchers and PhD students from Macquarie and Newcastle universities (including A/Prof. Sandie Suchet-Pearson, Dr. Marnie Graham, Dr. Paul Hodge, PhD students Harriet Narwal, Rebecca Scott, and Jessica Lemire; and Blue Mountains ACRC Community Development Officer, Paul Glass).

Klas Eriksson is a professional film-maker originally from Sweden and now based in Australia. Klas is an integral member of the Yanama budyari gumada research collective, and has made collaborative films with Indigenous groups in both Scandinavia and Australia.

A Millennia of Seepage

Amelia Hine

A Millennia of Seepage is a three-part film exploring a speculative more-than-human underground. The series expands current work in subterranean geopolitics that pays attention to volumetric geographies and accumulation and dispossession below the earth’s surface. It takes up the challenge of building a visual vocabulary of the underground while sidestepping visioning technologies commonly used by extractive industries to ‘see’ below the surface. Such technologies apply a ‘geologizing’ intelligibility over the subterranean to make it useful to the state project. In testing an alternative method for seeing below ground this series uses collage to construct a lively and richly populated subsurface.

Amelia Hine is a postdoctoral researcher in the QUT Business School. Her current research focuses on understanding the drivers and networks behind stakeholder engagement in mining projects to better understand how differing stakeholder perspectives emerge. She has a particular interest in the making and un-making of extractive landscapes, and in understanding nonhuman contributions to landscape alterations. Amelia’s background is in design and museum studies, and she has an ongoing professional practice as an artist and visual communicator.


Jay Gearing & Ben Rogaly

In Workers, ten individuals give personal and sometimes moving accounts of warehouse and food factory work, and reflect on their creative lives within and beyond the workplace. Their stories reveal some of the harsh employment conditions in contemporary capitalist workplaces in these sectors, and confirm the power inequalities inherent in them. Taken together, the films evoke a story of how workplace experiences have changed over a forty-year period with intensified pressure on agency workers in warehouses through higher productivity targets, longer distances to cover each day, and computerised policing of breaks. Using multiple and varied narratives, the ten chapters of the film disrupt taken-for-granted and common sense categories often used to stereotype people such as ‘factory workers’, ‘warehouse workers’ or ‘migrants’. It is hoped that the solidarity to be found in this can contribute to challenging oppressive workplace conditions.

Jay Gearing is an independent film-maker based in Peterborough under the guise of Red 7 Productions. He directed and co-produced Workers.

Ben Rogaly teaches in the Department of Geography at the University of Sussex, UK. He researched and co-produced Workers.


Jane Dyson & Ross Harrison

When Saraswati arrives as the first educated daughter-in-law in a Himalayan village, she wonders how she will ever feel at home. But faced with the scepticism of an older generation of women, she grows determined to succeed. As the village’s vibrant Pandav Lila festival approaches, Spirit offers a window onto the daily work and spiritual practices that bind people to each other and the land. Spirit is an intimate story of longing and belonging from a remote community in the thralls of change.

To learn more about Spirit visit www.spiritdocumentary.com.

Jane Dyson is an Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Melbourne. Her long-term research in the Indian Himalayas on childhood and youth, work, politics and gender has been presented in her book (Working Childhoods, CUP 2014), journals in Geography and Anthropology, and her two award-winning films, Lifelines (2014) and Spirit (2019).

Ross Harrison is a filmmaker based in Bristol, UK, working internationally. He combines original storytelling, immersive audiovisuals and smart distribution to create videos with impact.

Nadirah: Coal Woman

Negar Elodie Behzadi & Kate Jessop

In Kante, a small village perched at 2000 metres in the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan, the work of the 19 female miners who go mining everyday in the illegal coal mines is considered as ‘ayb’ (shameful). Based on a collaborative feminist art-research project between the animation artist, Kate Jessop, and the geographer and ethnographer, Negar Elodie Behzadi, Nadirah: Coal Woman makes visible otherwise invisibilised stories of shame. The animated ethnographic portrait raises awareness of issues around gender, work and exclusion, women’s restricted access to natural resources, and their stigmatisation in a desolate extractive landscape.

Negar Elodie Behzadi is a French/Iranian lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Bristol, UK (DPhil University of Oxford/ MA King’s College London). In her research, Negar brings the insights of a feminist geographer, the sensibilities of an ethnographer and her passion for visual and art-based methodologies to explore questions of resource struggles, exclusion, migration and labour with marginalized communities in Central Asia. Negar is also co-directing an ethnographic video-documentary on resource extractive violence, Komor (Coal), and is the co-creator of the VEM (Visual, Embodied methodologies network launched at King’s College London). Nadirah: Coal woman draws on Negar’s ethnographic research in the village of Kante, Tajikistan.

Kate Jessop
is a multi award-winning animation filmmaker whose work spans across narrative shorts, artists’ film and comedy. She represented the UK in the Best of Women in Film&TV, was a Virgin Media Shorts Finalist & a Berlinale Talents 2019 participant both as director & with her comedy series Tales From Pussy Willow in the Project Lab, which has subsequently been picked up for production by Hipster Films. She has exhibited extensively internationally, undertaking artist residencies in Berlin, Istanbul and Reykjavik. She is a Senior Lecturer in Animation & has taught in China. Her paper on Animation as Activism has been presented at Goldsmiths College & Queering Animation the first ever conference on Queer Animation.

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