Jenny Fraser has spent her time traveling across a 2000km expanse and documenting the evolving relationship between tribal peoples of the East Coast of Australia and the surrounding land and seascapes they have called home for thousands of generations. The resulting footage over the years is part of her forthcoming film, Jinda, which viewers will experience from the point of view of the namesake characters.

Fraser herself has Yugambeh roots from the Tribal area that is now referred to as the Scenic Rim area of Hinterland near the Gold Coast, which has also provided historical basis and stunning cinematic inspiration for the film. Other locations are spread from Far North Queensland, the Sunshine Coast and other locations in South East Queensland, along with the Northern Rivers in New South Wales.

The film is about womankind. The Jinda film is stitched together through a series of cinematic poems built around the characters travel through country, centuries and generations. The role of Jinda is played by child actor Ivy Marika, and Criminology Student Ruby Wharton, in their first performing roles, along with supporting actor Madeline Hodge. “I like to think of the film as a cross between Orlando and Baraka, which are cinema classics, and we add in our own walkabout influence” says Jenny Fraser.

Gold Coast based Ruby Wharton agreed to take the role of the lead performer and says “I was so eager and incredibly honoured to be apart of the project. It conceptualises the power and essence of Aboriginal women so well and tells the story of so many Aboriginal women around the country. To see this kind of story being told through film is so powerful beyond words as it highlights a part of our (Aboriginal) society that is overlooked. I am so humbled to be apart of such a significant project and hope to see so much more come from this.” 

The Jinda film has been through Principal Photography and is now seeking funds for the next stage of the process, mainly for editing and purchasing music and archival footage which will contribute to the sound design. “Our cast and crew are proud to bring this unique and powerful document of Indigenous womans stories to contribute to screen culture. The story of Jinda is a part of our collective history, and the aim is to inspire more women toward truth telling.”

Jenny Fraser has had other works on the film festival circuit in previous years, and this year a film that she contributed on as a co-director with other women, also won the Mana Wairoa International Indigenous Award in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Jinda film is also told in the spirit of cooperation and a universal visual literacy that translates across borders.

Skye Leong
Author: Skye Leong

Creativity, Community, Culture