Conversations with leading Indigenous filmmakers and industry peers…
Please join the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) for an in-depth conversation with four members of the team behind the award-winning children’s animated series, Little J & Big Cuz.
Little J & Big Cuz is an Australian animated television series first screened on the NITV network in 2017. The 13-part series is directed by Tony Thorne, produced by Ned Lander and developed with the Australian Council for Educational Research. It was written by Beck Cole, Jon Bell, Erica Glynn, Danielle Maclean, Bruce Pascoe and Dot West with creative input from Margaret Harvey, Leah Purcell and Adrian Wills.
In May 2018, the show was renewed for a second series to air on NITV and ABC Kids in 2019. The series won the 2018 Logie Award for Most Outstanding Children’s Program.
Erica is an AFTRS Drama directing graduate, whose storytelling career spans over 20 years. Erica developed her skills working for the Central Australian Media Association (CAAMA) in Alice Springs before directing the award-winning short film My Bed Your Bed. Along with directing short film and documentary, Erica’s television works include working as an executive producer on the AACTA Award-winning TV series Redfern Now, Gods of Wheat Street and 8MMM Aboriginal Radio. Erica also headed up the Indigenous Department at Screen Australia, in which she developed numerous feature films and Indigenous filmmakers. Her recent credits also include writing for the Logie-winning animated series Little J and Big Cuz, directing the ABC Comedy series Black Comedy and writing and directing the documentaries In My Own Words, Truth Be Told, and She Who Must Be Loved. Erica is currently developing the six-part drama series The Anchor and a feature film.
Ned Lander’s vast experience of cross-cultural filmmaking, coupled with decades of storytelling for both big and small screens, brings richness and authenticity to Little J & Big Cuz. A producer, writer, director and former SBS broadcast executive, Ned was executive producer of acclaimed and adored feature film Last Cab to Darwin.
Ned produced the feature film Radiance (AFI Best Actress Deborah Mailman). Voted Most Popular Film at the Melbourne and Sydney International Film Festivals, Radiance was an official selection at Toronto and London International Film Festivals. As the General Manager of SBS Independent, Ned was responsible for commissioning Australian content. He oversaw around one thousand hours of television including critically acclaimed high-end drama East West 101, ratings winner Who Do You Think You Are (Australia) and factual strand Storyline Australia. Further highlights include Logie winning documentary The President vs David Hicks and the landmark documentary series First Australians.
Since returning to independent production Ned produced the true-life crime thriller telemovie, Dangerous Remedy and co-produced the feature documentaries Monsieur Mayonnaise and Make Hummus Not War. Both were selected for Berlin International Film Festival. Ned directed and produced the powerful documentary 50 Years of Silence about the first European “Comfort Woman” to speak out about her experiences during WWII. Broadcast in thirty countries, it won Logie and AFI Awards for Best Documentary. Ned was producer on the docu-drama series Blood Brothers, writing and directing the first episode starring Lawrence Turner, Hugo Weaving and Noah Taylor. He directed and co-produced the AFI winner Wrong Side of the Road, an innovative rock and reggae road movie with Aboriginal bands No Fixed Address and Us Mob. Ned studied in the inaugural full-time program at Australian Film Television and Radio School.
Director and Designer
Tony’s endearing character design and vivid sense of place for Little J & Big Cuz is the culmination of his rich and diverse experience as an animation director, illustrator, visual artist, author of graphic novels and comic book illustrator. Tony completed a Masters of Arts in Computer Animation at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. His acclaimed graduation animation film led to a decade of senior animation positions in the UK on high profile features including Animation Supervisor on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Senior Animator on Hunger Games, Happy Feet II, District 9 and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; and Lead Animator on Ella Enchanted and Valiant. Tony was shortlisted for the prestigious Tasmanian Book Prize for Last Days of the Mill, a powerful, personal work about the closure of “The Pulp” – the paper mill in his hometown of Burnie that combines Tony’s evocative illustrations with the poetry of Pete Hay. This work built on Tony’s previous book illustrations of Aboriginal poetry and short stories. Tony maintains his practice as a visual artist, and his work is held in the collections of the Burnie Regional Art Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Group shows include Animated at the National Portrait Gallery, The Graphic Art of Contemporary Comix at the National Gallery Canberra, and National Cartoonists Exhibition at Roar Studios, Melbourne. A Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of the Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania, Tony was a soughtafter illustrator of culturally significant Aboriginal community publications including posters for Redback Graphix and images for Streetwize Comix. Other print illustration credits include Adelaide Review and Rolling Stone.
Ngoongar writer based in Broome, Dot West is a passionate and revered advocate for Indigenous media. Her recent projects include writing three short dramas In the Air, High Tide and Maap Mordak – which was her directing debut. She was a script writer and co-producer on The Circuit series 1 and 2, winning an AWGIE award. Dot’s documentary scriptwriting credits include the Songlines on Screen documentary Naji, which screened at ImagineNATIVE International Film Festival in Canada along with High Tide.
Dot was the inaugural chairperson of NIMAA (the National Indigenous Media Association of Australia), inaugural vice chairperson of NITV and a board member of Screenwest and the Australian International Documentary Conference. Dot is currently a board member of SBS. Dot’s many accolades include the Tudawali Award for her contribution to Indigenous Media and the Kullarri NAIDOC award for contribution to Indigenous affairs.