Local Film-Maker has Yarn to Tell

Local Film-Maker has Yarn to Tell

January 28th will play host to a free screening to launch the WA made community film Barragup Yarns by Simon Lyons. Access Reel’s Sian Dhu picks Lyon’s brains about not only his film, but tips for aspiring WA film-makers.

Everyone is invited to celebrate the launch of the WA made film Barragup Yarns with a free screening to take place in Mandurah on Saturday January 28th.

Barragup Yarns is an indigenous history film project that looks at what life was like for Aboriginals growing up in the South West region of Peel in the 70’s, which (Director Simon Lyons points out) can be interpreted as a story reflective of all Aboriginals Australia-wide.

“Having made this film” Lyons says, “I am struck by how extraordinarily Europeans displaced Aboriginals for 200 years.

“First by colonization, and then again by the Assimilation Project that disjointed them from their ancient customs and lifestyles – not to mention their families.”

Lyons was the obvious choice to make the film. Having built himself a reputation as a creative and talented local film-maker, it was a given that any film he produced would be of quality. But there was also his extensive experience working among remote Aboriginal Communities.

The project also sought to engage local youths in the film-making process and Lyons, as a respected School Teacher, ticked all the boxes.

So what is his creative method? How do we get an idea off the ground and onto film?

For Lyons, it’s a two-tiered process:

“There’s two parts to it: me and the subject” Lyons explains.

 “I make a draft, then ask the subjects of the story for feedback on it; without their feedback, the film is only a half done draft” he says.

Lyons worked closely with The Noongar People featured in his film. As he clearly states:

“Most importantly, there’s the subjects of the story and asking them what they’d like”.

With this in mind he worked hand in hand with the Aboriginal Community, following a ‘work on it, bring it back, get feedback, work on it more’ ethos:

“We repeat this process until it’s done” Lyons says, “Working together with the people in the story produces the best results”.

Lyons was one of the lucky ones; approached to make the film by organisers of a local initiative The Oral Digital Storytelling Project, the steering committee and community organisation Community Solutions facilitated sponsorship and support.

“[The film] offered the promise of wonderful things,” Lyons reflects.

“Firstly offering local youth an opportunity to learn new filmmaking skills, expand their knowledge of local indigenous history, and interact with the local Aboriginal People in a positive way.

“And for The Noongar People there was the hope of having an important part of their history aired.

“There was alot to be gained by making this film,” Lyons says, “[the sponsors] may not have seen all it’s potential initially, but it was brilliant their funding enabled this story to be told.”

But not everyone is so fortunate in their funding. Particularly those with film ideas that are artistically driven rather than community orientated.

Access Reel asked Lyons for some insiders tips for aspiring WA film-makers to make their hopes to produce a film a reality.

“First use YouTube to search all the fantastic ideas to help keep your equipment costs down yet maintain quality of production, dirt cheap,” Lyons advises.

“Secondly, fall in love with the process of filmmaking, not your film idea. Making a film is a long tedious process…and the end result may not always be well received.

“But if you love the process,  regardless of what people think of your film,  then you’ll always get up again and make another one” Lyons reassures us.

Lyons refers to the potential of expanding technology and the avenues it opens:

“It’s an exciting time for film-makers” Lyons remarks, “we can just make a film now, at home, and  upload it to the net for an international audience to view it. Big Budget film-makers know these things and are also acting on it.

“Exciting times all round I reckon!”

Barragup Yarns is screening at the Fishtrap Theatre in the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre at 10am January 28th.

Tickets are free. RSVP to Karen Lyons 9581 4606

Sian's love for movies spawned from having a tight mother whose generosity stretched only to hiring movies once a week for entertainment. As a pre-teen Sian spent more pocket money then she earned on cinema tickets and thus sought a job at the cinema. Over the next decade she rose to be one of the greats in her backwater, six-screen cinema complex, zooming through the ranks from candy bar wench with upselling superpowers, to pasty projectionist, to a manager rocking a pencil skirt. Sian went on to study Journalism at university though feels her popcorn shovelling days were far more educational