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First Nations Masterclasses

Still from ‘Black Comedy’ | Dir. Beck Cole, Craig Anderson, Erica Glynn

AFTRS’ Indigenous Masterclasses is a series of one-hour talks for emerging and current Indigenous students and practitioners to join online.

Each edition will feature special guests sharing industry tips and tricks and will include a Q&A session for participants.

Past Events

21 April w/ Lorena Allam

This edition featured journalist, presenter and producer Lorena Allam in conversation with AFTRS Indigenous’ Joseph Cardona.

Lorena is a proud descendant of the Yuwalaraay and Gamilaraay first nations of far-west NSW, whose country is the Dhariwaa or Narran Lakes area.

Lorena is the Indigenous affairs editor at Guardian Australia, and the 2018 Walkley Award winner for Innovation in Journalism. In 2019 and 2020, Lorena also won the Walkley Award for Coverage of Indigenous affairs.

For more than 30 years she has worked as a journalist, broadcaster, presenter, producer and manager at the ABC, the BBC and in a range of public policy roles, including the groundbreaking Bringing Them Home inquiry.

7 October w/ Mitch Torres

This edition featured Mitch Torres, who shared insights into the media industry and participated in a Q&A.

Mitch is a Djugun, Jabirr Jabbir, Yawuru, Gooniyandi, and Walmajarri woman from Broome and has been in the media industry for over 30 years. She has extensive experience in acting, directing, producing and writing.

She was SBS’s first Indigenous presenter in 1988 and went on to do her cadetship with ABC TV based out of Perth TV news. Mitch was the first presenter and field journalist for GWN’s long-running magazine program Millbindi. Mitch then turned to a successful period as a broadcaster for both Indigenous radio stations: Goolarri in Broome and WAAMA 6NR in Perth before settling back with ABC Kimberley as the morning show’s presenter and producer.

In the mid-1990s, Mitch focussed her talents on visual storytelling and made her first short drama for the Shifting Sands Short Drama Initiative (SBS TV). She began making documentaries – including award-winning Jandamarra’s War, and the heartbreaking Whispering in our Hearts – a historical documentary about the Mowla Bluff Massacre in the West Kimberley.

A highly successful award-winning writer and director, Mitch has directed or written a range of dramas and documentaries.

Zoom URL: https://aftrs.zoom.us/j/99010600612

28 May w/ Daniel Browning

This edition featured special guest, writer, journalist, radio producer and presenter, Daniel Browning, who shared his insights into his 26 years’ experience in the broadcast industry and participated in a Q&A.

Daniel Browning is an Aboriginal journalist, radio broadcaster, sound artist and writer. Currently, he produces and presents Awaye!, the Indigenous art and culture program on the ABC’s specialist journalism and arts network Radio National. Awaye! surveys contemporary Indigenous cultural practice across the arts spectrum.

A visual arts graduate, Daniel is also a widely published freelance writer on the arts and culture. He is a former guest editor of Artlink Indigenous, an occasional series of the quarterly Australian contemporary arts journal. He is the inaugural curator of Blak Box, an award-winning, architect-designed sound pavilion commissioned by Urban Theatre Projects, the performing arts company based in western Sydney. Daniel is a descendant of the Bundjalung and Kullilli peoples of far northern New South Wales and south-western Queensland.

15 May w/ Shari Sebbens

This session featured actress, Shari Sebbens, who discussed tips and tricks for working with actors, and participated in a Q&A.

Shari is a proud Bardi, Jabirr-Jabirr woman born and raised in Darwin and a graduate of Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and NIDA. She has starred in numerous productions for theatre, television and film.

In 2011, Shari was cast in her first film role for the international hit, The Sapphires. Her other feature film credits include The DarksideTeenage Kicks and more recently, Thor: Ragnarok and Foxtel’s Australia Day.

She starred in the world premiere of La Boite and Griffin Theatre’s production of Rick Viede’s A Hoax, and has since performed in theatre productions for Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre and Queensland Theatre Company.

Shari has also played significant roles for ABC series’ Redfern Now , The Gods of Wheat Street8MMM Aboriginal Radio, and The Heights.

Shari is the recipient of the Graham Kennedy Logie Award for Outstanding New Talent (2012) and in 2020, she won the Sydney Theatre Awards for best female actor in a supporting role for City of Gold.

Moderated by Joseph Cardona.

30 April w/ Adrian Russell Wills

This edition featured writer, director and AFTRS alumni, Adrian Russell Wills, who discussed tips and tricks of the industry and participated in a Q&A.

Adrian recently directed exclusive Jessica Mauboy content for Sony to sit beside the launch of her new album, Hilda. In 2018, Adrian directed the documentary Black Divaz, produced by Adrian’s company Kalori Productions with Pursekey Productions. The film debuted at Queer Screen as part of the Sydney Mardi Gras 2018 Film Festival and went on to screen at NITV and SBS on Demand in Australia.

Adrian is currently writing and directing a new drama show for the Seven Network and Endemol Shine titled RFDS (Royal Flying Doctors).

16 April w/ Beck Cole

The first edition of AFTRS Indigenous’ Masterclasses features screenwriter, director and alumnus Beck Cole (Here I am, Black Comedy, Grace Beside Me, Little J Big Cuz, The Warriors, Redfern Now and the multi-award-winning TV drama Wentworth). Beck gave industry tips and the session will include a Q&A for participants.