Shaun Micallef’s Stairway To Heaven: Gods, Gurus and Ganges
In his youth Shaun Micallef almost joined the priesthood. Now he wonders if he may have missed his one shot at the answers to life’s big questions. Heading to India, a country where spirituality and the search for meaning is very much a national past time, he immerses himself in the Hindu world of Gods, Gurus and the Ganges.
In a bid to get to the heart of the faith, Shaun pushes well beyond his comfort zone on a physical, mental and spiritual adventure. He journeys to the source of the Ganges high in the Himalayas – all the while offering his own unique observations on his quest to find the meaning of life.
Each series explores the works of Australia’s contemporary photographers. It also includes ‘After Two Hundred Years’ which documents the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life in the late 1980’s.The series features talented photographers Fiona Hall, Emmanuel Angelicas, Jon Lewis, Max Pam and Grant Mudford.
To The Island
The beautiful island of Kastellorizo marks both the beginning and the end of Europe. It’s history is turbulent – waves of conquest: Turkish, Italian, French and British. This documentary traces the fascinating story of this tiny island – the invasions, the migration, and the resilience of a culture under attack.
It discovers the intrinsic beauty, the people, the quayside restaurants and the quiet and tranquillity of a truly unspoiled island of Greece.
Presented by Thaao Penghlis.
Belinda Wardlaw-Jones is one of the few women in Australia to be born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, an incurable muscle-wasting disease which can drastically reduce life expectancy. Despite her condition and against the advice of many, she and her husband Andrew decide to have a child.
In this confronting documentary, Belinda and Andrew share their hopes and fears as they prepare for and experience parenthood in the face of sever disability. Belinda defends her decision to proceed with this pregnancy, believing it to be her right to become a mother, whatever the medical risks and ultimate social costs may be.
Belinda’s pregnancy compounds her disability and she is forced to have up work. As personal finances wither away, government funding is sought. After nerve-wracking delays, some funding is granted. However it brings a host of new complications: a constant stream of managers, bureaucrats and carers resulting in an acute lack of privacy and loss of control over their lives. When Belinda gives birth she makes Australian medical history. Not only has she outlived her life expectancy by her 17 years, she has created new life. This powerful documentary looks at fundamental issues of medical ethics, welfare priorities and human rights from a frontline perspective. It is ultimately a story of struggle, courage and survival.
The film was shot over 18 months and presents a “warts and all” account of two battlers. At the start of filming, no-one could predict the emotional rollercoaster ride that Belinda and Andrew would experience.
One Sky documents the combination of the best contemporary Western dance performance and music with the traditional culture of Indonesia. It explores a successful example of artistic fusion where Eastern culture meets Western movement.
It explores a successful example of artistic fusion where Eastern culture meets Western movement. As we follow the Chrissie Parrott Dance Company’s performances in Surabaya we discover some of the inspiration for their movement – the magical trance dance and the symbolic mask dance as well as the landscape and religion. And it examines the link between culture and commerce and explores directions for the future.
The Nature Of Healing
Dr. Serene focuses on six different forms of healing, from her position as a general practitioner as well as a ‘natural healer’. A new perspective on Touch, Meditation, Acupuncture, Movement, Homeopathy and Biomagnetism is under the microscope as Dr. Serene explores familiar traditional treatments with new, complimentary techniques.
A dolphin pod living in the waters of a busy port on the South West Coast of Australia is intimately observed. Their rare willingness to interact with humans reveals a daily routine as complex as our own.
The Bottle Nosed Dolphins of Koombana Bay have been studied by Steve Honnor for the last seven years. Such is his familiarity with these remarkable mammals that they allow him to witness events rarely seen before. As a result we are treated to a fascinating day in the life of a dolphin pod. A young male, “Finky”, is making his first tentative steps towards the opposite sex but with limited success. No doubt his technique will improve with age. The contrast between Finky’s cute attempts and that of the fully grown male is made stark when we witness the violence of a charged up mating session.
Sadly the morality rate of dolphin calves is quite high. The female goes through an intense mourning period, often carrying around her dead calf until it disintegrates. In this weakened state she is extremely vulnerable to predators despite the circle of protection formed by the pod. Steve will occasionally intervene, removing the dead calf so that its mother can regain her strength more rapidly and concentrate on survival.
Despite the dramas of life, dolphins remain one of the most social wild animal species on earth. The image of their lives being one of carefree existence is only part of the picture. Dolphin days are actually highly structured revolving around a routine of work, rest and play just like our own. When the conditions are right though they like nothing better than a good surf and the film captures a group performance of spectacular energy.
What is unusual about the dolphins of Koombana Bay is that they are, for now, happy to live in an area that is highly settled, sharing the waters with commercial shipping and pleasure craft. The ever encroaching presence of human activity will nevertheless take its toll on these animals unless some action is taken. Thanks to the research untaken by Steve Honnor and the Dolphin Discovery Centre, the dolphins habits are now well understand and strategies are being untaken by the people of Koombana Bay to ensure the relationship between humans and animals continues to be one of harmony.
Harry Carmody recently found out how old he is. For most of his life he never knew where he came from, his mother’s name, his father’s face, or the land that his family identify with. As a toddler he was taken from his mother’s arms to live a white life at the Church of Christ’s Norseman Mission. A brown skinned child fighting for emotional survival in a world of two cultures.
Silent Legacy is Harry’s tale of searching for his identity. It’s a journey that takes us along the Nullarbor and up into the Great Victorian Desert – the land of a great Australian tragedy – the atomic testing at Maralinga.
Silent Legacy is one story of a whole generation of people who lived in an era of social upheaval. A generation who today no longer possess an identity.
Kinship is the basis for all Indigenous relationships and is put in place when Harry finally meets family for the first time.
Old Country, New Country
An Aboriginal history of Western Australia from the Dreaming to reconciliation – Old Country, New Country touches on the forces that have shaped the lives of Aboriginal people, and promotes an understanding of Aboriginal traditional and contemporary culture.
Charlene (Charles Colbung), Anna Mae (John Collard), and Ella (John Fitzgerald) are three black queens who glam up the nightlife in Perth. Charlene and Ella are well known socialites in the gay scene while Anna Mae struts regularly on the stage.
Sissy takes you behind the scenes to give a rare insight into a sub culture that has created its own space within the gay culture, and it explores the bond that sets the black ‘sisterhood’ apart from the white gays. Sissy is an expression of gay black identity: “We are glamorous, we are here and we are queer”.