After seeing the destruction of the fragile alpine ecology of Australia’s Snowy Mountains first hand, Richard Swain with the support of his wife, Alison decides to speak out. Hard hoofed animals are trampling and endangering the viability of the headwaters of three iconic rivers.
Where The Water Starts reveals how the fragile alpine region, particularly Kosciuszko National Park, the largest in the Australian Alps is seen by a number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who were born or live, or who care deeply about it.
The direct impacts of global warming become a visceral and frightening reality for Richard and Alison. The massive bushfires of 2019-2020 surround their community and burn vast swathes of Kosciuszko National Park, highlighting the broader context of the climate crisis.
Where The Water Starts brings together respected Aboriginal community leaders as well as business people, a local farmer, a scientist, a former parks officer and a social historian.
The film explores our shared Indigenous and colonial histories and identities. It focuses on the themes of Caring for Country as a shared responsibility of all Australians; that the best of Aboriginal connection and the best of regenerative science can work together for a better future for the alpine environment and the planet.
While the connection between Indigenous people and the land is at the heart of the film, the message is also one of a partnership between Indigenous people, other community groups and scientists working together in order to conserve the Park and rehabilitate degraded areas.
Wendy Bacon, journalist, activist October 2021
After the film, there will be a special Q&A featuring the below speakers, hosted by John Sutton.
John Sutton – Social and Environment Justice Activist
John Sutton is a Newcastle-based social and environmental justice activist and – more recently – songwriter. He played a key role in the successful community campaign to rehabilitate Newcastle’s Throsby Creek and has more than forty years experience as an active participant in many other community-based campaigns for a more socially equitable and ecologically sustainable future.
Richard Swain – Indigenous Ambassador, Invasive Species Council
Richard has worked for 25 years as an Indigenous guide within Kosciuszko National Park. Having spent his life in the Snowy Mountains he has seen first-hand the huge impact feral animals are having on the park and the threatened species that rely on Kosciuszko for survival. He is passionate about educating the public on the true history of landscape changes and degradation over the past 230 years.
Mandy King & Fabio Cavadini – Director & Producer
Mandy King is an Australian filmmaker who has been producing documentaries since the late 1980’s. She works closely with her partner, Co-Producer and Cinematographer Fabio Cavadini as the partnership Frontyard Films. Their interests include the environment, Indigenous rights and independence struggles, through to the arts and labour history. They have produced a number of documentaries around stories based in the Pacific – in Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and Bougainville. Titles include Time To Draw The Line about the dispute over the shared maritime boundary with Timor Leste, Colour Change about the campaign by local landowners for justice from BHP’s polluting Ok Tedi mine, and An Evergreen Island, about the incredible story of ingenuity by the people of Bougainville who closed down the Panguna mine and overcame a 10 year blockade. WHERE THE WATER STARTS is their most recent documentary and Fabio is currently in post production on Maxism.
This event will include a special screening of the short film, The Ambassador, directed by David Gallan and starring Wynn Roberts.
When wildlife can’t vote or lobby, who’ll stand up for nature?
David Gallan In his youth David learnt to use a camera from his uncle, who worked as a newspaper photographer and editor, and would join the press team on assignments during the holidays. Now retired from teaching in schools and university, David enjoys recording wildlife around his property in the forest and uses his images for environmental campaigning and education. In 2015 he produced Understorey, a documentary on the south east forest campaigns. His film, The Ambassador, won the environment prize in the inaugural Far South Film Festival in 2020. His nature photography has been part of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature Photographer of the Year exhibitions.
FanForce acknowledges that we are on traditional lands, and recognises the global indigenous peoples. We honour all traditional custodians, and pay our respects to spiritual Elders both past and present.