Monthly Archives: January 2019

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Cinema culture richer after rise of indigenous voices

Bringing indigenous issues to the fore: Season two of Redfern Now is in production. Photo: SuppliedAs Ivan Sen’s new feature film, Mystery Road, takes centre stage on Wednesday as the opening night film at the 60th Sydney Film Festival, it’s timely to reflect on the rise of indigenous filmmaking in this country.
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When I began my career in film and television in the 1970s, a white (English) man played the central Aboriginal character in the TV series Boney. Films such as The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Walkabout and The Last Wave, ostensibly Aboriginal stories, had white directors (Fred Schepisi, Nicolas Roeg and Peter Weir).

This year, Aboriginal director Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires continues to roll out to record crowds around the world. Here in Australia, we will see series two of Redfern Now and another prime-time Aboriginal drama series, The Gods of Wheat Street on ABC TV. Feature length films such as Catriona McKenzie’s Satellite Boy and Warwick Thornton’s The Dark Side, along with Sen’s Mystery Road, mean we can confidently say, within a generation, Australian indigenous filmmakers have become a force to be reckoned with worldwide.

More profoundly, Aboriginal writers, directors, producers and actors are now firmly at the heart of contemporary screen practice. They are using film and television to document their cultures, promote social change and entertain and these productions are now mainstream.

Filmmakers such as Blair, Thornton, Sen, Rachel Perkins, Darren Dale and their creative collaborators have repositioned the on-screen presence of indigenous characters, taking them from peripheral to central roles.

Why is it that Australian indigenous stories are being so well received in Australia and on the world stage? What is it that makes their work distinctive and rich? What sets it apart?

The Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) journal Lumina took an in-depth look at these questions in a series of essays by Australian writers and filmmakers.

It noted the rise in appreciation we are witnessing began to bubble up in 2005 – a watershed year for Australian indigenous filmmaking that began with Beck Cole’s Plains Empty, Thornton’s Green Bush and Tom Murray and Allan Collins’ Dhakiyarr vs the King screening at the Sundance Film Festival.

This was followed by Green Bush and Wayne Blair’s The Djarn Djarns winning the Panorama Short Film Award and the Kinderfest Crystal Bear, respectively, at the Berlin International Film Festival. Then Sen’s Yellow Fella was accepted into Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival, thus completing a string of international achievements that well and truly heralded the arrival of Australian indigenous film on the world stage.

In 2007, Sally Riley, then head of the indigenous branch of the Australian Film Commission, wrote: ”We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. I was asked recently when indigenous filmmakers would become mainstream. ”Mainstream” implied feature films. Of course, there have been several features made over the years: Tracey Moffatt’s Bedevil (1993), Rachel Perkins’ Radiance (1998) and Ivan Sen’s Beneath Clouds (2002). To develop a sustained series of features is a long- term process involving substantial script development, finance and production.

”I’m confident we will see the films rolling out in the next couple of years. Warwick Thornton, Beck Cole, Wayne Blair and Romaine Moreton … have been funded for feature film script development.”

Since then, we have seen feature films thrive in the ”mainstream”, from Thornton’s Samson and Delilah to Perkins’ Bran Nue Dae and Blair’s The Sapphires.

At the same time, ”mainstream” indigenous television content is on the rise with documentaries and dramas such as First Australians, Mabo and Redfern Now lighting up living rooms across the nation and rating in big numbers.

The development of Australian indigenous screen practice has not been an overnight success. It is the culmination of decades of groundwork by countless individuals and a range of organisations, with various state funding bodies, government film agencies, indigenous media associations, the ABC and SBS and training institutions such as AFTRS all playing a role.

The creation of programs specifically to develop indigenous filmmaking talent – including the establishment of the then Australian Film Commission’s indigenous branch and SBS and ABC indigenous units in the late 1980s and a significant funding boost to indigenous training programs at AFTRS – have been supported by governments at both state and federal levels.

This support is unprecedented anywhere else in the world and we, the audience, are all the better for it.

Sandra Levy is chief executive of the Australian Film Television and Radio School and editor of Lumina.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Heads in the sand is no way to face cancer risks

What if medical science offered you and your closest family members the opportunity to virtually eliminate your risk of developing certain cancers? In this case, there would be no invasive surgery involved, just a regular screening program and, perhaps, simple treatment. The only thing you’d have to do is take a blood test to identify whether you, and therefore your blood relatives, had the genetic characteristics which put you at risk.
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As an oncologist dealing every day with the burden of cancer, I had always imagined this kind of offer would be too good to refuse. The recent decision of Angelina Jolie to resort to surgery to minimise her hereditary risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer only reinforced this assumption.

But I was wrong. And now I have many complicated questions as to why some patients ignore risk factors, even if this means denying close family members the knowledge they need to access screening services that may save their lives. Consequently, this raises the more difficult question of whether an individual patient’s rights should override those of family members.

I work with bowel cancer, nowadays a mostly treatable condition. One particular genetic risk factor, known as Lynch syndrome, makes some people especially vulnerable to a range of cancers, particularly bowel cancer, but also cancer of the stomach, ovaries and uterus.

Advances in medical science means we can and do test for Lynch syndrome and have very effective screening and treatment programs which dramatically reduce a Lynch-positive person’s risk of dying from bowel cancer.

Yet when we carried out a study of patients at risk of hereditary bowel cancer, we found that one in three people did not or could not act to reduce their own cancer risk, and so did not pass on a similar opportunity to family members.

We had spent three years screening patients with colorectal cancer at major NSW hospitals for features suggesting Lynch syndrome. Patients identified were then offered blood tests to confirm it. As bowel cancer is treatable, every patient stood to gain by following up with regular colonoscopies to identify and remove any abnormalities before they developed into further cancers. A positive identification also gave them the opportunity to inform family members, some of whom have a one in two risk of having Lynch syndrome.

Does this mean medical science has raced ahead of society and its structures? I think so. I am frustrated that patients don’t or aren’t able to act on results that show they are at high risk of Lynch syndrome. Even if they aren’t in a position to act on the results, it’s a shame that their family members aren’t given an opportunity to know about their own risk.

Health budgets are increasingly strained as the population ages, so what might poor compliance rates like these suggest when future funding is handed out? Might funding for cancer prevention strategies be questioned if the number of people ignoring medical advice undermines the effectiveness of the strategy itself?

In the case of the Lynch syndrome research, there were some explanations for individual failures to act. Some patients were elderly and had other medical conditions including dementia.

Perhaps reasons like fear and fatalism mean the good news about bowel cancer has not been sufficiently publicised. Unlike a lot of cancers, bowel cancer is cured by surgery when detected early. The key to improving survival from bowel cancer is identifying people at risk and detecting the polyps that lead to bowel cancer. We need to do more to ensure patients understand their risks and the options they now have to reduce those risks.

University of NSW Professor Robyn Ward is head of the Adult Cancer Program at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Commercial property: Market wrap

Brighton property sells for $3.2 million. Photo: Jessica ShapiroSales
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BRIGHTON

A retail freehold in a blue-ribbon Brighton shopping strip has sold at auction for $3.2 million on an extremely sharp yield of 2.6 per cent. The fiercely contested auction by Fitzroys associate Mark Talbot of 46A Church Street attracted seven bidders. The sale may set a record for the highest amount paid for a single-fronted property in the street and may be the lowest yield so far this year for a shop in one of Melbourne’s major retail strips. The property is leased to established multistore tenant Browns Bakery on a three-year deal returning $86,357 plus outgoings and GST. Mr Talbot said several shops of a comparable size within the immediate vicinity were currently returning rents of about $120,000 per annum plus outgoings and GST, which helped underpin the value of the offering.

FAIRFIELD

A private investor paid $925,000 for shops 1 and 2 at 83 Station Street. Part of the retail/commercial strip on the north-eastern corner of Station Street and Railway Place, the shops sold for a yield of 6.8 per cent, according to ICR Property Group agents Guy Naselli and Raff De Luise. Both buildings, covering about 150 sq m, were together but with two separate titles. They return a combined rental income of $63,000 per annum net from long-established tenants and leases.

HAWTHORN

A three-level, free-standing brick Victorian building at 64 Burwood Road sold after auction for $1.8 million. Gross Waddell sold the property on a yield of 5.62 per cent. Part of the building is used as accommodation but the ground floor is leased to Japanese Restaurant Ocha 2 Go. Rental for the 363 sq m building is about $101, 236 per annum.

BRIGHTON EAST

A former bank premises at 765D Hawthorn Road has sold for $850,000. The property was sold with vacant possession by Gross Waddell. The ground floor has a contemporary office with reception, boardroom, three separate offices and a strongroom. The first floor has two offices and a kitchen.Leases

PRAHRAN

Hip hamburger venue Huxtaburger is set to open a new store at 201 High Street. CBRE retail services team Zelman Ainsworth and Max Cookes negotiated an eight-year lease for a third instalment of the popular eatery in a 90 sq m shop at the foot of Caydon’s latest residential development Trilogi. Earlier this year Huxtaburger II opened at Fulham Place in the CBD following the success of its original store in Collingwood.

SPRINGVALE

A timber flooring wholesaler has agreed to terms on a new lease at 863 Princes Highway, 500 metres from a new IKEA/Harvey Norman megacentre. The property includes a showroom, warehouse and office in a modern 600 sq m building with significant exposure to a main road frontage. Savills Australia’s Daniel Kelly said the tenant took a five-year lease at a rental of $65,000 per annum net. The lessor was a private investor.Movers

The Australian Property Institute has appointed Tony Gorman as its new national president. Mr Gorman replaces Phil Western, who held the position for two years. Mr Gorman, from the API’s WA Division, has held positions on several API boards and committees.

Submissions to [email protected]南京夜网.au [email protected]南京夜网.au

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Fresh take a class above for campus

The revamped Morris Hall was designed to create multiple spaces for learning.Morris Hall, at Melbourne Girls Grammar, in Caroline Street, South Yarra, appears to be new. But within the brown brick shell is part of the former school, designed by architect John Scarborough in the 1970s.
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“It was solid and well built. But it didn’t provide the required facilities for the school’s youngest (prep to year 4 students). The previous arrangement centred on traditional classrooms, many quite small,” says architect Sally Draper, who worked in association with DP Toscano Architects on this project.

Given the constraints, in terms of space and budget, Draper used as much of the original structure as possible, including some of the timber windows. While the concrete frame was retained, a new brown brick facade was added, with steel and timber louvres to diffuse western sunlight. To add texture, as well as reflect the school’s history, the external walls feature cast concrete “crossletts”, a crucifix form that also features on the school’s crest.

“We wanted to use this crosslett to create a visual link to the school’s main campus (Anderson Street), but it also adds a tactile layer to the building,” says architect Shahab Kasmai, associate director for Sally Draper Architects.

Designing a school for young children requires great skill and understanding, from a teacher’s perspective, as well as the girls.

“The idea of creating a ‘home’ environment was at the forefront of our minds. The environment had to be comfortable, nurturing, as well as fun,” Draper says.

The brief documents given to Draper are testimony to the objectives met: “A home for the mind and the heart”, as well as “an environment that speaks to our senses”.

While the Morris Hall campus is obviously not a home, the spaces have been arranged to evoke familiarity. Public spaces, such as the art, music, library and gathering spaces, are towards the centre of the three-level building, bedrooms or “learning spaces” towards the periphery.

“We wanted to create a sense of transparency throughout each space, but allowing for flexibility,” says Draper, who designed the four main learning spaces to accommodate up to four teaching staff each. A typical corner of a space is given over to broad step like seats, ideal for informal reading. Another area is dedicated to block building or computers.

And unlike some school environments, where youngsters quickly thrash their surrounds, at Morris Hall shelves are beautifully arranged, even different-coloured scissors have their own container. “The children are extremely proud of the school. They felt very included in the process, with windows created to allow them to see the building progress,” Kasmai says.

Rather than simply create brightly coloured spaces for the young children, Draper has taken a more sophisticated approach.

There are bolts of colour in places, but the emphasis has been on creating light-filled spaces. Terraces lead from each learning space and a trellis breezeway creates a link between levels. Sustainability is also high on the agenda, with vegetable gardens and cross ventilation at all levels. Exterior spaces are as considered, with a wave-like wall, designed by landscape architects Taylor Cullity Lethlean, providing seating nooks. A quirky tree house by Fitzgerald Frisby, adds to the sense of exploration.

“For a school campus, it’s relatively modest in size. Outdoor areas had to be designed for all weather conditions,” says Draper, pointing out the polycarbonate roof over one of the terraces.

Broad steps leading from this terrace also allow teaching outdoors.

“The design had to embrace the entire site, with the outdoors as enjoyable as a child’s own backyard,” Draper says.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

MasterChef recap: when Tim Tams go wrong

Dan serves salted caramel and chocolate tart with Tim Tam ice cream. Nicky serves savoury Japanese egg custard with salmon and shiitake mushrooms.
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Samira served koshary rice with chickpeas and nuts with fried onions.

It’s already 7.06pm and there are only 24 minutes until we enter the MasterChef house. I’m entering my house, late on a Tuesday after drama club for one child and maths tutoring for the other; there’s still homework to be done and permission notes to be signed; dad’s at touch footy and I’m starting to regret volunteering to write a MasterChef recap. What? I’ll need to file by midnight, that’s when I’m usually watching it after everyone’s in bed, the washing’s done and I finally get a little me time.

“Come on,” I shout, in a George-like fashion, madly clapping my hands. “The clock’s ticking and there’s only 20 minutes to go, let’s cook!”

I open the fridge. All I can see is a tray of defrosted mince (but there’s no way I’m cooking cottage pie tonight, thanks Michael), a carton of eggs, three nights worth of leftovers and half a bottle of red wine on the bench top.

The kids get a special Tuesday night leftover buffet, I drink the wine, and we’re ready for the recap.

Tonight they’re doing what every Australian does at the end of the day, says Matt. What? Polishing off half bottles of wine and eating leftovers? No, looking in the fridge, says Matt, and thinking what the f**k’s for dinner? Or is that just me?

Michael, Kelty, Dan, Nicky, Samira and Neha are up for elimination. It’s the first dark day of MasterChef, says Gary. (What, the first two weren’t bleak?)

There are only two things that will get you through tonight, says Matt, the dream you hold and the joy you get from cooking for friends and family. It appears that actually being able to cook isn’t important this year, it’s all about the joy.

The contestants enter the MasterChef pantry to find their own actual fridges and contents of their own pantries on display. We’re given a little tour of their lives. Dan’s university roommates like pug dogs, Nicky has a sumo fetish, Kelty misses his kids. (No he doesn’t. What stay-at-home parent wouldn’t kill for a few months away on their own?) Only Samira and Neha have fridges clean of clutter. While I promised myself I wouldn’t buy into the boy versus girl thing, any woman worth her salt knows that fridges covered in useless s**t make your house look messy.

But it’s what’s inside that counts. Dan has Tim Tams, Neha has eggs, Michael has a human head. (Is it just me who thinks he has serial killer tendencies and is glad that he didn’t get the liver in last night’s challenge, worried that he might have served it with fava beans and a nice chianti?)

Back to the kitchen. Nicky is ready to do something that makes his fiancée happy. It’s a family show remember Nicky. The gallery upstairs screams orgasmically when Dan reveals he’s going to cook salted caramel and chocolate tart with Tim Tam ice cream. Everyone falls asleep when Kelty says he’s going to cook Irish stew. Neha talks herself up when she says she’s cooking an egg curry but she hates eggs because her mother used to shove them down her throat when she was a child. No wonder her gag reflex is so good.

Most people seem to have forgotten the boys versus girls thing. Noelene’s maternal instincts kick in and she’s offering Kelty, who she caned in the Awful Offal Challenge of 2013 the previous night, plenty of advice; Vern’s turned on Michael, saying his steak is rubbish, and that’s almost as bad as telling another man his penis is small; Jules has given up destroying the joint and is barking instructions at Michael at every chance, and you know he just wants to tell her to shut the f**k up you two-faced bitch.

And the judges chime in. If Dan dare disrespect the Tim Tam he’ll be heading back to the University of Canberra quicker than the Gonski Review will be implemented.

Thank God for a quick ad break. I scrape the leftover leftovers into the bin, get the kids into bed, open another bottle of wine, all in time to watch Lynton riding a mechanical engine in a Castrol Magnatec commercial; a stay-at-home dad, one with more confidence in the kitchen than Kelty, serve his daughters Latina fresh pasta (note to self: that’s a good idea for tomorrow’s dinner); and an ad for the Cyclery in Fyshwick, a bike shop cum café across from the office, where just at lunch time I noted they had barramundi on the menu, do you want that recipe Samira?

Back to the action. Michael’s gone AWOL. At first I worry that he’s off somewhere making a suit out of the excess skin that George has shed this season, but he’s only out in the herb garden, frolicking. One minute to go. Dishes are being plated. (Really, who plates at home?)

Time for the elimination.

Now if we were on Channel Nine, we’d cut to Tom Waterhouse, who would offer us odds on who might get eliminated tonight. Think about that Ten.

Nicky Serves: Savoury Japanese egg custard with salmon and shiitake mushrooms. Finally he’s cooked something, says Gary, adding they’re the best version of Chawan Mushihe’s tasted on the show. Has someone cooked Chawan Mushi before? Mythical Tom says 50-1 Nicky will go home.

Kelty Serves: Traditional Irish stew and no soda bread. Who doesn’t have bicarb soda in their pantry? Haven’t you ever done that volcano experiment with your kids, what sort of stay-at-home dad are you? George says fine but aint amazing. While we rankle at his grammar we have to agree. Mind you Kelty’s cooked tea in 15 minutes, not counting the extinguishing of the first pressure cooker, so as a parent you have to admire that. Gary says it will depend on what the other contestants do and mythical Tom says a wary 3-1 Kelty will go.

Michael Serves: Eye fillet and roasted body parts, sorry vegetables, and a hollandaise sauce. His arrogance makes us want to poke him in the eye  fillet but his steak slices cleanly and is pinker than a baby’s bottom and we writhe in pain when the judges says his meal is close to perfect. Mythical Tom says put your money on this favourite at evens to stay.

Samira Serves: Koshary rice with chickpeas and nuts with fried onions. We don’t want to like her but when she tells us about her battles with post natal depression, anxiety and only being able to leave her house once she rekindled her love of cooking we soften a little. Tonight’s sob story is brought to you by Huggies. An outside chance of going at 10-1.

Neha Serves: Spicy egg curry and rice. Talks herself up again by saying it’s a mutated version of what her mother used to serve. Matt loves it. Safe at 20-1

Dan Serves: Salted caramel and chocolate tart with Tim Tam icecream. The women in the gallery are still orgasming at the recipe’s name. Gary says it looks pretty good but it’s rock hard. He’s talking about the dish, not Dan. The women are still orgasming.  Mythical Tom says 2-1 Dan will go. You can paint a horse with hair colouring but you can’t make him run.

The six contestants line up to face the firing squad. Dish of the day goes to Michael who lives to kill, I mean cook, another day. Nicky and Neha are safe too.

The judges reveal the bottom three. They say Samira’s onions were burnt; they tell us something we don’t know, that Kelty is boring; and that Dan looked good but was rock hard. (And really what is wrong with that, as we cut to the women in the gallery who look shattered, realising that they’re going to have to grate all their cheese on the other Daniel’s abs now.)

And drumroll … it’s Dan, the 19-year-old student from Canberra who’s the first to leave the kitchen for 2013. Cut to Daniel, Lynton and Xavier who realise their chances of being the first crossover contestant to appear on both The Bachelor and MasterChef have just increased.

Matt tries to soften the blow by telling Dan that it’s hard to go so early in the competition but he should be able to tell from the reactions of the other contestants that he made a big impact.

“If there’s something to hold on to, it’s you’ve got the skills, you’re young, if you really want to follow your dream you can do so.”

In typical Gen Y fashion Dan says “Yep”, and that’s the end of it.

Tomorrow night, the promo goes, the gang’s off to the Barossa Valley … tomorrow night? Tomorrow night? Bugger, what will I serve for tea tomorrow night? That Latina pasta is looking pretty good.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.