Mother Mountain begins filming in Narooma and Tilba
Image: Mother Mountain is a feature film exploring inter-generational trauma through the relationship between a Jewish and an Aboriginal family living in the NSW coast, brought together by the friendship of their children. This film features the homestead where the lion share of the drama takes place and it's backdrop, Gulaga ("mother"- Yuin), the sacred mountain of the Yuin people. Following two years in development, writer / director Celina Stang’s Slinki Productions has commenced production of Mother Mountain with a vision for festival and cinematic release by April 2021.
The slimline budget Celina is working with is feasible due to major in-kind contributions already secured, including the picturesque main farmhouse location at the foot of Gulaga (which translates as “Mother Mountain”, a sacred fertility site for the Yuin people and according to Indigenous lore, the source of all life) and nearby venues in local towns Narooma, Tilba and Bermagui. Celina said of the location "The area, known as the NSW Sapphire Coast, sparkles with stunning beaches, verdant national parks and quaint country towns. The last feature filmed in the region was The Man Who Sued God, a successful 2001 Australian comedy that starred Billy Connolly. "Significant Indigenous know-how and sensitive cultural input has been assured through a production partnership with renowned indigenous producer Fran Dobbie of Earthstar Productions (Miro; Little Town Big Voices; Men Don’t Cry; My Grandmother’s Country).
The Mother Mountain story deconstructs long-held cultural stereotypes of the modern Aboriginal family by contrasting Shani’s dysfunctional Jewish family from Sydney with Ren’s loving, tradition-rich, and Country-connected family. The portrayal of Ren’s Yuin, middle-class family breaks new ground beyond the oft-applied cinematic clichés of the noble Aboriginal savage / tracker (unaffected by colonialism); or the dispossessed junkie victim (ravaged by colonialism). Thematically, the film also addresses the question of what kind of person takes a child away from their mother. It explores the treatment – past and present – of those considered ‘uncivilised’ or ‘valueless’, including through past genocides and Australia’s “Stolen Generation”. This abhorrent human capacity to dehumanise is juxtaposed against a magnificent natural backdrop, with children romping in nature, but with a foreboding that provokes anticipation of imminent danger. Celina Stang is a talented writer and director with a deep passion for highly personal stories that interweave the human condition, nature’s wonder and themes of social justice.
After graduating with a BA Communications from UTS (film major) Celina cut her teeth in Brazil, LA and Sydney assisting production on documentaries for the ABC and SBS with Quest Films. Inspired to deepen her creative output, Celina embarked on a directing career and quickly earned stripes on Alex Proyas’s Mystery Clock Cinema roster, directing Aria nominated music videos for some of Australia’s most popular and indie artists, including Gelbison, Disco Montego and Bec Cartwright.
Mother Mountain is Celina’s debut feature and the next step in Celina’s quest to bring a hopeful message of social change to an otherwise troubled world. Fran Dobbie's love of the environment is sacred to her and is a part of her everyday life. Amongst her many passions, is to help young people reach their potential so she decided to fill a need for teachers and was the founder of Essere (To Be), a living skills and self-esteem programs for all ages.
She is currently the Director of Earthstar Productions, bringing awareness and inner strength through the medium of television and interactive workshops. At Earthstar Productions the vision is that through TV/documentary series, information and knowledge about culture is acquired, personal tools to assist Indigenous/non-Indigenous youth when dealing with confronting issues – such as depression, suicide, addiction and anger.
Earthstar's hope is that this medium will inform and help parents/carers/families to create a positive change for our world.