Black Talk: Torres Strait Storytelling
Insights into the wonderful world of Torres Strait Islander storytelling with a focus on content and broadcast creativity.
Join us for our final Black Talk of the year, featuring a keynote from our new Elder in Residence, Sonia Smallacombe, and a conversation with two talented Torres Strait Islander storytellers, Aaron Fa’Aoso and Bernard Namok Jnr.
AFTRS is honoured to welcome Sonia Smallacombe as our second Elder in Residence. In her first address for AFTRS, Sonia will talk about her diverse life experiences as she has led and represented Indigenous people across Australia and internationally at the United Nations in New York. Her career has given voice to many matters that impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Following the keynote, sit back and relax as AFTRS Head of Indigenous, Kyas Sherriff joins Aaron Fa’Aoso and Bernard Namok Jnr in conversation to gain their insights into the world of remote Indigenous broadcasting and ground breaking diverse television creations. What role does community radio play in the daily lives of the peoples from the Top End through to the Torres Straits? How does authenticity and representation influence and entertain the broader Australian audiences about Torres Strait Islander culture?
Networking drinks and nibbles will follow the presentation.
Aaron began his career in acting, where he is best known for his appearances in Black Comedy (ABC), nominated for Most Outstanding Comedy Program at the 2015 & 2017 Logies, and East West 101 (SBS).
He first came to prominence in 2004 with his performance as ‘Eddie’ in the critically-acclaimed SBS mini-series, R.A.N., for which he received nominations for an AFI Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Drama and a Logie Award for Most Outstanding New Talent.
In 2012, he was nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor, and the show was awarded Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast in a Television Drama Series at the Equity Awards.
His other television credits include the US series for the Disney network Reef Break the German series Munchen 7, Little J Big Cuz, Hide and Seek, City Homicide, Sea Patrol and Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms on Network Ten.
In 2015-16 Aaron was the Producer attachment with Bunya Productions on Goldstone which won 10 out of 16 nominations at various festivals including Best Film at the Film Critics Circle of Australia awards.
Aaron is an owner of Lonestar – a production company based in Cairns, Queensland. Through Lonestar he is active across a range of projects. He has just completed producing and writing Strait to the Plate a 5 x 30min series for the SBS/NITV network. He is also the Producer and Writer of the landmark series Blue Water Empire – a 3 x 1 hour dramatised documentary for the ABC.
Bernard Namok Jnr
Bernard is a senior Radio Broadcaster and Trainer for the Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (TEABBA) and delivers training to local RIBS (Remote Indigenous Broadcasting Services). Bernard started in radio back on his island home, Thursday Island, back in 2001. Now going on 10 years of service working for TEABBA, he also oversees National broadcast such as the National Indigenous Music Awards.
A recipient of the AFTRS AV Myer Scholarship in 2015, this award saw his dream being fulfilled of co-producing and co-writing the film documentary Carry the Flag – a documentary celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the creation of the Torres Strait Flag, which was designed by his father, Bernard Snr.
Bernard has recently finished producing his first Radio Documentary for the National Features and Documentary Series which will be broadcast on the Community Radio Networks (CBAA) from mid-October.
Sonia is a member of the Maramanindji people from the Daly River region of the Northern Territory. She is the second eldest of 12 children and lived her early years on cattle stations in the Top End of Australia where her father worked as a stockman.
Sonia’s schooling included correspondence lessons taught by her mother, schools on cattle stations and then in a small town of Adelaide River. After primary school, Sonia was sent to boarding school at Loreto Abbey, Mary’s Mount in Ballarat.
As a mature age student, Sonia commenced undergraduate studies at Monash University and post-graduate studies at Melbourne University, where her Masters thesis was on the intellectual and cultural property rights of Indigenous peoples.
Prior to joining the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in November 2005, Sonia was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Charles Darwin University in Darwin, where she taught in a number of subjects including Northern Perspectives (a political, social and environment overview of Northern Australia), Indigenous History and Contemporary Indigenous Studies. Sonia worked at the United Nations in New York as a Social Affairs Officer for eleven years. During this period, Sonia’s focus was on the myriad of issues facing Indigenous peoples around the world.
In 2017, Sonia returned to Australia (after retiring from the United Nations) with her cocker spaniel called Skippy and currently lives in Alexandria. Sonia has some knowledge of films and television because her daughter, Penny Smallacombe is a graduate of AFTRS.
Kyas Sherriff has worked across feature films, documentaries, TV series and shorts. As an integral member of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, Kyas helped bring popular and critically acclaimed content to international screens, including TV series 8MMM, feature film The Darkside and documentary The Redfern Story. She has worked with some of Australia’s most experienced and renowned Indigenous screen practitioners assisting them in getting their projects from development through to production. Kyas is focused on bringing unique and compelling Indigenous stories to the screen through the next wave of Indigenous filmmakers.