Humans of Kangaroo Island Film and Literature Festival showcases talent, celebrates resilience

The Humans of Kangaroo Island Film and Literature Festival showcased local talent, while celebrating our Island's journey and resilience since the Black Summer fires in 2019/20.

The community event brought together residents and visitors alike in the heartland of the Island, at Parndana Town Hall over three sessions last weekend.

More than 250 people attended, many Islanders coming back and attending all three sessions in the end, supporting this fundraising initiative for the planned children's centre.

On Friday night, fairy lights welcomed guests from 6pm to the hall in Parndana, with cameras making everyone in our community a star on the red carpet.

With the car park overflowing, hundreds arrived in anticipation for the films and books presented and were not disappointed.

With popcorn and drinks in their hand, attendees could read some of the Humans of Kangaroo Island stories on their way into the hall and learn more about the wonderful community project celebrating diversity, identity, history and culture.

The evening began with an introduction to Humans of KI with host Sabrina Davis handing over to Steph Wurst, representing the Parndana Community Children's Centre Governing Council, who explained where the proceeds of the event would go.

Afterwards, short films 'Soldier on' by Isaac Doman and 'Wild Fire' by Daniel Clarke were shown and followed by a Q&A with the film makers.

Both films, full of strong messages and beautiful photography, captured the audience's attention straight away and were a wonderful start to a great night.

Short film on short film festival

Fire-affected resident and author Margi Prideaux gave the audience a first glimpse into her new book 'FIRE - a message from the Edge of Climate Catastrophe' to be released in 2022.

The emotional and profound reading resonated deeply with the crowd and showcased Margi's incredible talent with words.

The short film 'Rising from the Ashes - Saving Kangaroo Island's unique flora from the blue gum plague' was produced by Harry Kellaway, Jessica Rowe and the Nature Conservation Society of SA.

It gave the audience an insight into the environmental catastrophe following the bushfires out at the western end of the island.

Attendees were then treated to a supper break, with tea and coffee available for a gold coin donation but beautiful supper boxes free to guests as they were provided by the Australian Red Cross and created by Michelle Peacock.

The evening's last film was the world premiere screening and highly-anticipated documentary film 'January 3rd' written by Sabrina Davis and produced by her in collaboration with local film making trio en plein air films.

The film captures the timeline of the tragic events of January 3, 2020, when bushfires devastated the western end of the Island, as seen through the eyes of Islanders experiencing it first-hand on the day.

An emotional journey followed by a grateful recollection of support and donations by strangers, mainlanders and locals.

The night concluded with a Q&A between Sabrina Davis and film makers David Foreman and Gethin Creagh.

An emotional evening for our community but a wonderful way to recollect, share and acknowledge the immense achievements of islanders over the last 22 months.

Humans of Kangaroo Island Film and Literature Festival founder and organiser Sabrina Davis. Photo: Amy Pysden

Humans of Kangaroo Island Film and Literature Festival founder and organiser Sabrina Davis. Photo: Amy Pysden

Saturday night

On Saturday night, an intimate crowd enjoyed a mixture of short films, guest speakers and poetry.

Starting off with short film 'I'm still me' by young and upcoming film maker Isaac Doman, the audience learned about Islander Jen Steven's life living with Parkinson disease, dementia and cancer.

A heartbreaking story mixed with humour passing on the message of 'enjoy every day' which was warmly celebrated by the crowd.

Locals Priscilla Thomas and Daniel Clarke presented their poetry, about fires, fire recovery and the blue gum plague.

Guest speakers Maren and Yale Norris took to the stage and shared their personal and business story with the audience, speaking of giving up, finding reasons to keep going and successes for their Islander Estate cellar door through COVID among all the challenges.

Exceptional Kangaroo Island's Craig Wickham followed with a powerful presentation of resilience detailing his business' journey over the last 22 months, on a global scale and as Kangaroo Island from the outside view.

Attendees were again treated to a supper break, with tea and coffee available for a gold coin donation but beautiful supper boxes free to guests as they were provided by the Australian Red Cross and created by Michelle Peacock.

Many guests shared with us how supper had been one of the many highlights.

Local film making trio en plein air then showcased their crowd-pleaser 'Island to Outback.'

This was a short documentary film capturing the creative talents of 12 Kangaroo Island artists and their journey to the centre of Australia. The film has been selected for short film festivals around the world.

Sabrina Davis gave the stage to a film created by one of her 'Little Humans.'

Parndana resident Shakira Tremaine's short film told the story of her mum Maribel who left the Philippines 10 years ago for a better life in Australia. An authentic and relatable tale of two cultures.

The night concluded with Stokes Bay resident and writer Gaynor Bowden and her wonderful poetry.

A splash of humour to finish of another fantastic festival evening, delighting the crowd.

The Parndana Community Children's Centre Governing Council sold drinks over the two evenings as part of their fundraising efforts for the new centre.

Kids getting creative at the Humans of Kangaroo Island Film and Literature Festival. Photo: Amy Psyden

Kids getting creative at the Humans of Kangaroo Island Film and Literature Festival. Photo: Amy Psyden

Sunday kid's session

On another beautiful sunny day, young and old arrived at the Parndana Town Hall on Sunday, October 10 for the last session of the festival.

Free entry and plenty of popcorn delighted the attendees and the morning began with seven beautiful short films presented by the Fleurieu Film Festival.

Festival director Carolyn Corkindale thanked Sabrina Davis for the chance to showcase South Australian talent over here and was delighted with the collaboration and invite, explaining how special she has felt all weekend seeing first-hand what our community is like and has experienced.

Children's author Becky Westbrook gave an emotional read of 'Evie and the Bushfire' about hope after a natural disaster followed by six more short films presented by the Fleurieu Film Festival.

A real treat for the audience was multi-talent and author Alice Teasdale giving a first glimpse into her new illustrated children's book 'Letting go of summer' to be released by Stormbird Press in early 2022.

KI local and art therapist Catherine Murray invited the children to join an arts and crafts session out the back of the hall, creating masks and hands full of glue, paint and stickers in the process.

Big smiles and beautiful creations were the result at the end of the festival.

Short films 'Girt by sea' and 'Mum friends' by KI born and bred Jessica Rowe were screened at the same time.

The 20-year-old film maker now lives in Adelaide but was delighted to be a part of the festival and came over to support it in person.

Local film maker Isaac Doman presented his third short film for the festival weekend to the young crowd which turned out to be a crowd pleaser.

The film 'Art of Autism' is already nominated for the Focus on Ability Awards 2021.

The morning finished with an inspiring panel of local talent, sharing their life journey into the creative arts, their insight into achieving your goals and dreams and into future projects.

Film maker Daniel Clarke, children's author Becky Westbrook, film maker Jessica Rowe, author and previous theatre production director Alice Teasdale and bestselling author Darry Fraser sat for a Q&A with Sabrina Davis and answered audience questions.

They session gave hope to children and young adults on the Island inspiration to follow their creative dreams.

Many thanks to team

Event coordinator Sabrina Davis thanked all the participants, helpers and attendees.

"I would like to thank everyone who attended and supporting the community and fundraising event," she said.

She estimated the fundraising tally to be around $5000 and hopes this will help the Parndana Community Children's Centre in the future.

She also thanked local graphic designer Sarah Strong-Law for the donation of her entire honorarium towards the fundraising efforts.

Her thanks also go out to her sponsors and supporters. Joe Tippett from the Australian Red Cross who organised screen, projector and suppers plus ran the technical side of the festival all weekend.

Maree Baldwin and Kate Brooksby from Junction and Country phn for their sponsorship and support over the last few months and the festival weekend.

A big thank-you went to Sarah Kemp from Smart Future Creative, who pioneered a film festival a few years back and helped Sabrina in receiving the grant funding for her festival through Austrade and the Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance.

Thank you to Tim and Fern Nicholson for the sound equipment and support.

Thank you to the Kangaroo Island Council that sponsored the festival and provided the use of the Parndana hall for free.

Thank you to SeaLink for their sponsorship and the Children's University for their support in making the festival a learning destination.

Thank you to the Fleurieu Film Festival for bringing their films over and to all presenters, film makers and guest speakers without whom the festival wouldn't have been possible.

Thanks to Western KI Lions for selling sausages and drinks outside of the hall to festival attendees.

"There is no 'i' in team and I could not have done it without the help of many in the background," Sabrina said.

"Thanks go to Tessa Shalay for her ongoing volunteer efforts and big smile all weekend, Cathy Tydeman for her support and encouragement, Sarah Strong-Law for her graphic design and mental support and Amy Pysden for being the event photographer."

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