In a corner of country Victoria exists a link to an ancient culture, quite unlike anywhere else in Australia. A place of astounding heritage, and natural beauty of rare archaeological and environmental significance. But it is being degraded on an annual basis. As the clock ticks, an unlikely partnership could see it saved for future generations, while providing a moving example of reconciliation between white and black Australians.
The Lake of Scars is as much a portrait of a hidden facet of Australian history and environment as it is a musing on what reconciliation can look like in Australia. While exploring the beautiful, mysterious scarred trees, middens and stone scatters left at the remarkable Lake Boort in Victoria, we meet the people, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, who are working against the clock, and against the odds, to preserve what they can of the site. With organic relics at its heart – hundred-year-old scarred and dying trees – the film is supported by astounding nineteenth century photography and the story of a unique early relationship between Aboriginal people and white settlers in the area. Working closely with the local community and the Yung Balug who call the lake home, with the backdrop of Treaty negotiations and repatriation ceremonies, the film is a musing on the passing of time while asking how, and why, Australians might want to protect and preserve significant sites.
THE STORY SO FAR
In September 2015 director Bill Code spent a week at on Dja Dja Wurrung country at Lake Boort filming with one of the film’s core protagonists, Paul Haw. Key sequences on Paul exploring and documenting scarred trees, middens and stone scatters in the area were produced, while a Victorian government open-house was held in Boort over a looming Lake Boort management plan, whereupon Yung Balug clan members and other interested parties gave their views. A few months later we carried out in depth interviews with Paul and Yung Balug elders Bobby Nicholls, at Boort, and Gary Murray, in Melbourne. Early 2017 and a new character emerged, carrying out cultural tours on the now-filled lake, Jida Gulpilil. We got to know Paul’s wife Cathie, on film, and discovered some secrets at the homestead.
At the time of writing distribution has been secured via Ronin Films. We’ve had interest from several festivals and online outlets, and promising meetings with broadcasters. A good festival splash remains a key goal, however.
Mid 2017, with a small amount of funding in the bag, a new teaser is being produced to properly propel a crowd-funding campaign. We’re on the look out for interested collaborators and most importantly, an outreach/impact producer – a paid role! – to get us into the next stage and shooting the final sequences. Drop us a line if you’re interested in working with us or collaborating, we’d love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
THE LAKE OF SCARS TEAM
Director/Producer: Bill Code
Bill has been working on the Lake of Scars in one form or another since first visiting Lake Boort as a video journalist for SBS in 2013. His first longer documentary Inside Out, a story of Indigenous incarceration in outback NSW, continues to air on NITV and The Guardian after gaining a number of award nominations. He is a producer/shooter at Al Jazeera English in Sydney, a former head of video at Guardian Australia, the ongoing producer of award-winning short films for the BBC, and an accomplished camera operator.
Co-Producer: Christian Pazzaglia
Christian is an experienced producer, creative director and programme curator from Italy via The Netherlands. In 2016 he co-produced Daisuke Miyazaki’s film ‘Yamato (California)’
Story Producer: Belinda Lopez
Belinda Lopez is an award-winning audio documentary-maker and the producer of the ABC’s acclaimed ‘This is About’ Podcast. She also worked on story development for Bill Code’s 2015 Inside Out documentary.