MEMORY IDENTITY and NEIGHBOURHOODS

WHAT IS THE MEMORY, IDENTITY & NEIGHBOURHOODS STUDIO?

This studio revolves around the representation and poetics of the neighbourhoods that we live in – cities, suburbs, localities that help us define who we are and who we want to be.  It explores ways to tell strong visual stories.

In this studio we explored the neighbourhoods that are meaningful to us, traversing and mapping them through the mediums of audio, photography & film. Whether it is interviewing local legends, creating poetic works on a neighbourhood after dark, or the faded glory of ghost signs, these all tell a story about the neighbourhood, and in what ways in which its inhabitants identities & memories they have created there influence them.

Our studio observed the way we as people, a community and a society represent, construct, remember and imagine as a mediation of place, identity and historical event. We tested the boundaries of what each idea entails, and how these often function in the public sphere to invite or reject a sense of belonging.

THE FILMS

Click on the poster to reveal film

LIFE OF LLEWWELLYN

When a new opportunity presented itself, young Llewellyn Noronha took it. Taking the leap from India to Australia just after the White Australia Policy had dissolved, the then 23 year old found himself learning a new culture and having to adapt to a new lifestyle. Now at age 75 he reflects on this change in his life. 

SYNOPSIS

Alone in a new country, Llewellyn Noronha learns how to navigate himself in a new world, finding aspects of life to ground him in his identity. Religion, painting, family and his time in theAustralian  Air Force gave him the skills to familiarise himself in his current neighbourhood, Moorabbin. Fifty-two years in the country and counting, Llewellyn has worked hard to justify the pleasures of his new lifestyle. His vibrant and optimistic attitude towards life no matter where it inhabits is inspiring and a testament to his character. It goes to show that with the people and attitude home is where the heart is.

TRANSITION

Across the globe, small groups of passionate people are coming together to tackle the Climate Crisis on a local scale.

SYNOPSIS

In a rapidly changing global climate, ‘Transition’ captures how communities come together to foster a culture of resilience and shape a better world for current and future generations. 

Challenging the thought that the Climate Crisis is too large to tackle individually, the members of Transition Darebin work cooperatively at a local scale, crowdsourcing solutions and creating a caring culture of support for all people facing an unstable future as a result of Climate Catastrophe. 

DISTRICT 3030

Violence. Drugs. Gangs. Two boys share their reality of living in Melbourne’s West.

SYNOPSIS

District 3030, otherwise known as the Werribee and Point Cook area is often painted by the media as a place of violence, drugs and gangs, predominantly present within youth. We sit down with two young boys who face this as their reality to break down and bring clarity to these stereotypes and redefine the meaning of ‘gang’. This short documentary shed’s light on youth culture, identity and the importance of sticking to those you call family. 

THE TIGER’S MOUTH

This film is a meditation on the relationship between movement and place and how a dancer navigates his life through dance.

SYNOPSIS

Jett Ramsay is an 18 year old dancer who is one of 8 people in the country to be offered a contract with the Australian Ballet Company. As filmmakers follow him throughout the day, we gain an insight into his passions, drive and outlook upon the spaces he inhabits and his commitment to self as he commences this remarkable journey. 

MIXING FLAVOURS

In a city populated by multiple culture groups, one woman’s ambition to overcome the cultural barriers in Melbourne sees a business born that brings people together in a celebration of food and diversity.

SYNOPSIS

Mixing Flavours follows Director of Foodie Trails Himanchi Luhul in overcoming the inevitable barriers between cultures, race, language and religion. Viewers are immersed into the world of food, gaining a firsthand insight into its ability to bring different cultures together and promote cultural awareness and integration. Through cooking classes, food festivals and walking tours Foodie trails provides a fun way for Melbournians to embrace diversity, creating a happy and harmonised community.

YIAYIA

The grandmother you see on the street has a story to tell.

SYNOPSIS

During the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, thousands of Greek migrants came to Australia looking for a better life and future. Sofia Petropoulos was only 16 when her family sent her on a 20 day voyage to Melbourne, a city full of opportunity. The catch: this opportunity was strictly reserved for those who could speak the language. Through the good and the bad parts of her journey, Sofia justifies it all with one thing: family. 

PEANUT BUTTER PEOPLE

Missing peanut butter. Neglected gardens. Dirty dishes. A roaming cat. An old lady next door.

SYNOPSIS

Peanut Butter People explores the unique dynamics between 2 young adults and a cat living in a share house in suburban Melbourne. A charming and relatable portrayal of shared living, it gives an insight into adolescence, and their struggles and amicableness, in regards to what each person contributes to the home. Taking a realistic, candid and humorous approach, Peanut Butter People follows Leigh, Orion and Teto’s friendship, as they try to work out what Orion’s strengths are in the house. 

“Glorious”, “charming”, and “has legs” – Paul Ritchard 

REFLECTIONS

Place is a finicky thing. At the beginning of this course I found place and neighbourhoods just to be that, somewhere events take place. However over the course of the semester I’ve found it represents much more than that; the history behind places and the stories as to why they’ve been torn down, lost and rebuilt reflects a changing society, memories that will fade and the making of new ones. Just as Llewellyn says in our documentary, the illness of homesickness fades away as time passes and you become part of the new environment and every time he leaves Australia ‘[he] is longing to come back’. Memories are what we live for, the ones we make, the ones we are currently making and the ones that are to come. To capture moments of memory adds to a person’s selective identity. Memory can also be tampered with, false or recollected differently according to different individuals and their emotional attachment to the memory. Identity is selective in terms of what we portray as our ‘self’ to others through personality. Following that same thought, identity is our own, we as individuals know who we are, where we have come from, our circumstances, lifestyle and influences over our lifetime. It is through time and experiences that we become wiser to who we are and want to be in the community and more broadly, this world. How we define ourselves, defines our contribution within our lifetime. Whether through good or bad memories, our identity grows and becomes more complex.

-Georgia D’Souza

Memory, Identity and Neighbourhood has taught me a considerable amount about how the complexities of place are engrained with identity. Before starting this subject, I had preconceived ideas about what ‘home’ and ‘place’ meant, which I was able to explore considerably throughout the semester. This studio has taught me how powerful documentaries can be, and how they can completely diminish people’s past beliefs and change them. It has taught me that documentaries give us the opportunity to educate people and connect deeply to them. I have immensely enjoyed Memory, Identity and Neighbourhoods and look forward to continuing to grow and learn in this course.

-Jess Hooper

At the commencement of this studio I was looking at the representation of place, the role of memory and the construction of identity as separate entities, which of course they are. However, over the duration of the studio I’ve come to understand how related and interconnected they are to each other. For me, knowing who you are is built upon remembering the travels one has made both physically and mentally. I’ve come to appreciate the centrality of memory to life, how important they are to our identity and in turn our connection to place. Memories shape us and essentially, we are the stories we tell ourselves. Which is why it’s so great to be able to explore these concepts through media in this studio, as there is endless potential and stories to be told through this medium. I had no idea how much of the work would be practical in this studio, believing it to be more about written and conceptual work. It has been such a cool process with this studio letting it all unfold and learning things like making sure there a documentary film has a statement on the human condition, which is in line with my way of thinking and why I’m so interested in film in the first place.

-Byron Butler

‘Memory Identity and Neighbourhoods’ has allowed me to see why it’s important to document place and how the physical places we are surrounded by define us. It’s taught me how to tell strong visual stories about people, place and change. I’ve been given the opportunity to develop my knowledge of the conceptual and technical aspects of storytelling, both individually and with my peers. I enjoyed the creative freedom the studio allowed, with prompts that encouraged deeper thought into subject matter, style and execution. I feel I have grown substantially as a media practitioner over the past twelve weeks, and most importantly I have created pieces that I am extremely proud of.

-Seamus Daniel

In terms of Assignment 4, exploring a town I had preconceived ideas about was really insightful for me. Despite living only 20 mins away, the Werribee in my mind had been constructed by the representations of it in the news and on social media, not necessarily giving it a good name. When we were given the idea to explore Werribee through some of its own, especially those younger then us, I was really interested to see if my perceptions would change. Through the short time I spent interviewing Tyrece and Turi, I have learnt about how impactful the representation of place in the media is on the residents of such town. These prejudices of Werribee as dangerous, and the gangs that are known to roam there, have impacted how these boys interact with their home, and how they have constructed their identity based on their surrounds, and also to protect themselves.

-Georgia Downey

It is fair to say that I have learnt so much through this studio both physically and conceptually. I’ve really enjoyed the practicality of the class as well as the opportunities it has allowed. Being my first studio, it has really elevated my expectations for studios, and I am leaving with a newfound interest in documentary making. Before this class I had never mentally drawn a connection between place, memory and identity. Now, it’s become clear how each of these concepts coexist and play a major role in how we essentially live. I’ve learnt about the many ways in which we can represent a certain place whether through its cultural heritage, or how it makes us feel, or things we personally associate with it. I’ve learnt that 1 minute can both be extremely impactful and incredibly hard time limit depending on our interview process and editing skills.  I’ve also learnt, and something I will not forget, about how place can often define who we are as people in both a beautiful and isolating way.

-Delphi San Roque

This studio has been a fundamental process in developing my skills as a documentary maker. Being able to step out of our comfort zone and explore people that speak plenitudes about the human experience and have a role in communicating stories in amazing places has been incredibly useful. This studio also allowed me to create more meaningful relationships through screen to the places I have been lucky to call home. We were able to have a great deal of time spent collaboratively bettering our work over a number of weeks. We were eager to begin and were able to commence shooting at an early date. Meaning that for over 4 weeks we were able to work with refining our piece in post, this was one of the longest project times I have worked with and this was very much reflective of the methods of refining, re-working and producing multiple edits. This studio has been particularly engaging through collaborative work and has provided a lasting methodological change to my approach to the craft.

-Jordan Magnus-McCarthy

This studio has taught me the basis of documentary film making. From the equipment tutorials we completed in class; learning to use different microphones, cameras and tripods, allowed for a high standard execution of our projects. I particularly loved experimenting with sound in this studio, incorporating effects in my films to emphasise atmosphere and memory. Exploring individuals identities was an obvious theme in my work, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with different peers and subjects to create non-fiction works that capture the truth and reality of unique stories, and the connections that people hold to place. ‘Exploring visual methods, resources and technologies for
researching the city and its neighbourhoods’ was a fantastic article I found during the semester had assisted my own evolution as a media practitioner. The piece talks about how to pick out unique parts of an area to best portray the speciality of that neighbourhood. This was relevant advice as I
often based my work around specific parts of a neighbourhood, and the meaning that has to a person. The group work in this subject was a good opportunity to work in a close proximity with
people with different skills. Choosing a subject no one had a connection with provided us a challenge that brought problems of flexibility and understanding. I feel that due to preparation work we had completed in class before shooting allowed us to still finish our film to a standard we are
proud of, using the sound, filming and lighting skills we had gained along the course of the studio.

-Natalie Campbell

This studio has taught me the importance of memory and the feelings associated with those memories, it’s helped me come to the realisation that you can still make a home out of a city that you’ve only been in for 2 years. Experimenting with different filming techniques throughout the semester really allowed me to broaden my creative process and style. From viewing and reflecting on past students work, experimenting with different microphones and audio capturing techniques to everything and anything regarding cameras and different filming techniques. For my final assessment piece working with Himanchi (Director of Foodie Trails), hearing her words on how she is able to bring people together over a common interest, food, inspired me and helped me attach meaning to various places around my city. I found that choosing an interview subject that we didn’t have any previous connection to was at first, extremely daunting. As the project continued, this daunting feeling changed into a need for experimentation and finding a new style. The documentary style is something that I originally really struggled with but I feel that as the studio progressed my skills have come through in a way that allows me to be proud of the final cut of our project. I really enjoyed this semesters studio, and would absolutely recommend it to others.

-Ellis Kate

Memory, Identity and Neighbourhoods has taught me a variety of experiences. Whilst I found earlier assignments less fun to create, the last assignment really allowed me to go out of my comfort zone, which I found more engaging then daunting. It is in this way that the last assignment really allowed me to understand the true meaning of Memory, Identity and Neighbourhoods as our film subject Himanchi really allowed me to explore the true meaning of a harmonised community, and the role an individuals memory and identity can play. By really taking up an interest in Himanchi’s work, I have definitely put an extensively larger amount of work ethic into this course. This is particularly evident through my editing, as I wanted to improve in order to properly display Himanchis vision to the world. Through such desire, I believe this video showcases a stark comparison to my 1 minute videos, displaying my growing love for the course. Overall I have enjoyed my time during this course, and would definitely recommend to students looking for a studio in the future.

-Ella Gerrad

My experience of this studio was interesting. I really wanted to learn more about the technical aspect of making film as well as incorporating the themes of identity, memory and place, which I did. Specifically, I got a lot out of the class we had on sound with Paul Ritchard. The exercise we did on sound, where we listening to a soundscape from a film, with no video or imagery, encouraged me to consider sound to be a crucial part in making film. What I took away from the class was to think more creatively about sound, more than just music and dialogue, but how the use of sounds create the setting and set the tone of the scene. 

-Jade Coyle

When I first chose the studio Memory, Identity and Neighbourhoods I assumed we would learn how to objectively document a space. What about a location is iconic, recognisable? I now understand that this was only the tip of the iceberg. In my first assignment, I documented Coburg in an observational, then poetic way. In the latter version especially, I began to understand the emotional connection we have to locations. 
As our assignments ventured into studying people, I discovered that ‘place’ and ‘space’ offer two very different meanings. It was through this subject matter that I fully began to understand the way memory, identity and neighbourhood interact. In my second, third and fourth assignments, I decided to spend all my time documenting the life of my grandmother. As she compared her life in Greece to life in Australia, I discovered that she had two separate homes: one in each country. It was clear that her identity revolved around her family. When I now walk through a neighbourhood, I still notice what is iconic and recognisable about it. However, I also understand that every person who walks past me holds their very own perspective of that place; one I’ll never really know. 

-Sophia Petropoulos

In assignment 3, Julia, Bella and I chose to go for a laid-back documentary following young adults and their experiences living out of home. During the pre-production of our short film, we struggled to come up with ideas in terms of ensuring the documentary had legs. It seemed difficult to create a documentary piece on the concept of share houses, as we were unaware of what style or mood we wanted to portray. After our pitch, we knew we really had to focus on a specific style to make the piece look interesting. By choosing certain locations within the house, we managed to effectively convey Leigh and Orion’s home in a stylistic way, by focusing on colours, and having steady shots. As Julia, Bella and I all seemed to understand one another during production, it was an easy process that allowed us to shoot quickly, and get what we need from our interviewees. Before the editing process, we did not think our film would be comedic, however, after we placed certain shots next to one another, we successfully gave our film substance as the audience would be able to gain an insight into Leigh and Orion’s humorous personalities.

-Ella Tamblyn

Throughout this studio, I was encouraged to constantly thinkabout the connections between memories, a person’s self-identity and the neighbourhoods around them. Through the first assignment, where we each documented our own neighbourhoods and the environment around us, I learnt more about my own subrub’s (Ormond) history, and discovered I was more aware of ‘ghost signs’ and geographic idiosyncrasies than I have ever been. Through interviewing a friend, I was also forced to consider other perspectives of the same neighbourhood, and how each individual experience shapes a view of a particular place. I simultaneously got to think about the ways in which documentary can be represented, through creating realistic and more poetic filmic snapshots of the same place. In the second assignment, where I interviewed a friend living in a completely different area to me, I found myself researching and focusing more on gentrification and neighbourhood planning, and urban development. Although an organic process where I learnt more about each as I edited and created the film, I felt more inclined to take this approach with this film, as I noticed that not only in the interview, but also in class, I was discussing and looking at gentrification more and more. The third group assignment really allowed me to not only hone in on my learnings thus far of neighbourhoods, and connective identities, but also hugely sharpened and refined my documentary-making skills. As my group shot on location on two separate days, with four different pieces of film equipment, and spent over two weeks editing, my ability to produce a film (specifically a documentary), has now hugely improved, as has my confidence in going on to create more documentary films. 

-Bella Millikin

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