Thursday, April 18, 2024

Landmark Torres Strait Docudrama to Screen on ABC

Blue Water Empire is a 3-part dramatised-documentary series, giving a unique insight into the history of the Torres Strait Islands.

The series is a co-production by Lone Star Production’s Aaron Fa’Aoso and David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin from the award-winning Bunya Productions (Mystery Road), in association with ABC TV, with production investment from Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department and the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland. Blue Water Empire is anchored by popular actor, producer and proud Torres Strait Islander Aaron Fa’Aoso, who introduces and narrates each episode.

Aaron Fa’Aoso said: “We made the series to inspire new generations of storytellers to keep the fire burning, to think of the stories that aren’t in the series. What is still untold, what is a new perspective in our history? Blue Water Empire is an introduction to the Torres Strait Islands, the tip of a massive ‘iceberg’ – it’s only the start of a whole new set of stories Australia is yet to know.”

Traversing the pre-colonial era through to contemporary times, this compelling history is centred on the key stories told by the men and women of the region, brought to life by dramatic re-enactments from an all-star cast including Aaron Fa’Aoso, Jimi Bani, Ryan Corr, Damian Walshe-Howling, Roy Billing, Geoff Morrell, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Peter Phelps, Merwez Whaleboat, Robert Mammone and Damian de Montemas.

With additional stories woven together through artwork, animation and archive material, and set to a soundtrack composed by Torres Strait Islander Will Kepa, the series explores how Torres Strait Islanders have sustained their cultural heritage throughout the impact of more than 200 years of European settlement. The breathtaking beauty of the land and sea country of the Torres Straits features in the series. Stunning aerial cinematography, and magnificent CGI maps, navigate the audience through this vast and remote corner of northern Australia.

Across the series, we document and reveal the impact of past and present government policies and give insight to the social and economic paternalism that has affected the lives of Torres Strait Islanders – leading them to fight back or unite in strike action. We reveal contemporary Torres Strait Islander life, along with great Torres Strait Island characters such as the legendary George Mye and Eddie Mabo.

The series conclusion celebrates the resilience and resistance of the Torres Strait Islander people, despite their profound struggle to regain their land and sea country, their Blue Water Empire.

Blue Water Empire was produced by Bunya Productions and Lone Star Productions for ABC TV. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland. Financed with support from Bunya Productions.

Producers: David Jowsey, Aaron Fa’Aoso, Greer Simpkin, Director: Steven McGregor, Narration Writers: David Jowsey and Aaron Fa’Aoso, Writers: Steven McGregor, John Singe, Aaron Fa’Aoso, Anna Shnukal and David Jowsey, Associate Producers: Jimi Bani and Lauren Mather, ABC Commissioning Editor: Kelrick Martin.


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